We have a great deal of interest in Brazil around these parts, in part because of the approach the current leadership has taken to issues around economic development (c.f., "the Brasilia Consensus"), and in part because of the innovative approach the nation has adopted regarding FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software). While President Luiz Inacio da Silva, or "Lula", is rightly given credit for the former, his Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, has been a profound influence on the latter. Gil is prone to showing up at Linux conferences, and has been vocal in his appreciation of the political value of the open source model, especially as it applies to more than just software.
The UK's Guardian has a profile of and interview with Gil today, and it's sufficiently interesting to warrant being highlighted here. A sample:
"This [the adoption of open source software] isn't just my idea, or Brazil's idea," Gil says. "It's the idea of our time. The complexity of our times demands it." He is politician enough to hold back from endorsing the breaking of laws, for example on music downloading, but only just. "The Brazilian government is definitely pro-law," he grins. "But if law doesn't fit reality anymore, law has to be changed. That's not a new thing. That's civilisation as usual."