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5th Latinoware launches free software Brlix
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The 5th Latin American Conference on Free Software (Latinoware) is also a venue for launching products. At the exhibition grounds there was the release of Brlix, free software 100% made in Brazil by professors and students of the Metropolitan College of Guaramirim (Fameg), Santa Catarina. Latinoware is an initiative by Itaipu Binacional in collaboration with the PTI Foundation, the Paraná IT Company (Celepar), and the Brazilian Data Processing Service (Serpro).


Five years ago when David Emmerich Jourdain, a German national living in Brazil, took over Fameg's Computer Network Technology program, he came across a problem: no one knew what free software was. An enthusiast of these operating systems whose source codes are open (that is, they can be copied and changed by users), David had to create his own software to teach teh students.

And so there came Famelix, free software that has become a download hit. According to website Código, it has been downloaded over 12.5 million times, or twice that of all other software combined. Five years later, Brlix now shares this heritage and responsibility.


“We created Brlix because Famelix was too connected to the university and we were unable to meet the market's demands”, explained David. In 2008, he and other three students in the program created the company Epidemus (“epidemic” in Latin) to satisfy the ever increasing demand for this type of software – as suggested by the name of the company. Epidemus is open to the market but research goes on at the university, guarantees David.


Blue bar and green button   


David said Casas Bahia stores in Ceará started installing the free software in the computers they sold. “They called us asking for information, we had no idea it had reached so far”. Other companies, like Nokia, have contacted the team to develop systems for cell phones, and Grupo Positivo has asked them to install the software in their computers and laptops.


Brlix' success is explained by a rationale David learned when he joined Fameg: users will take to free software as they are sold on the idea, not forced into it. According to him, 90% of users worldwide are used to the Windows standard. “We can't compete, we have to adapt”. Famelix was created with the same interface of the Microsoft operating system.    


“If people want the blue bar, the green button, the land of the Teletubies, we'll give them all that”. By looking like Windows, Famelix broke down the resistance against free software. In the current Brlix versions, the system “duplicates” the interface and resources of Windows XP and Windows Vista. Just like them, only for free.