Okay, we promise to stop recommending Brazilian programs - just as soon as they stop being so damn cutting-edge. This one sure is: free broadband Linux computer time in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Sao Paulo.
"The Telecenter project was started two and a half years ago in Sao Paulo by a left-wing local government as part of a digital inclusion plan that aimed to improve access to information. ...[T]here were about three million people in Sao Paulo without any access to computers. Now, about 250,000 people are using the nearly 100 net cafes."
In fact, this whole open source meets public access angle seems to be huge down there. IBM just announced the opening of two technology training centers in Sao Paulo aiming to spread open source coding skills. Then there's the Brazilian government's commitment to open source and technology diffusion.
Sergio Amadeu head of Brazil's National Information Technology Institute - says that access to technology is the first, not the last, step in development. If projects like these continue to spread, we'll soon find out if he's right.
GNU/Linux at work.
In _Computer Lib/Dream Machines_, Ted Nelson imagined neighborhood computing centers where people could access multimedia information services.
The astonishing affordability kind of put the kibosh on that . . . in this country.
It's interesting and heartening seeing the idea taking root elsewhere, and kudos to Brazil for helping things along.