Ecuador: A Weekend of Free Software Throughout the Country

Picture by Lens Geek, and reproduced under CCommons license.

Throughout Latin America the “Latin American Festival of Installation of Free Software” (FLISOL 2008) recently concluded. This event, which has been held since 2005, has as its main objective to promote the use of free software, presenting its philosophy, its scopes and development. During the event, the diverse local communities of free software (in each country, in each city/locality), simultaneously organized events in which they set up, in a free and legal way; free software on the computers that the public brought to the event. In addition and simultaneously, lectures, presentations and workshops on local, national and Latin-American subject matters concerning the Free Software, in all its range of expressions were also provided.

In Ecuador, this event gathered a lot of attention, especially since the President of the Republic, Rafael Correa, by means of decree No. 1014 of April 10, 2008, ruled that the computers in the public administration should utilize free software. This decree fulfills a promise made in a speech in 2007 that would migrate all of the country's computers to these free systems.

In the case of Ecuador, 14 cities participated this year. Coordination was done through mailing lists and IRC chats, where promotional materials were distributed to the smaller cities.

Rafael Bonifaz [es] is one of the pioneers in the country and writes a post in which he explains with details about and how the FLISOL works in Ecuador:

El FLISOL lo organiza las comunidades de Software Libre de América latina. En el caso de Ecuador los organizadores son gente de las comunidades de: ASLE, Ecualug, Equinux, OpenEcuador, Ubuntu-ec, entre otras. Básicamente estas comunidades de software libre son listas de correo o foros donde la gente que comparte el interés del software libre comparte sus conocimientos a través del Internet.

FLISOL organizes the communities of Free Software in Latin America. In the case of Ecuador the organizers are people of the communities of: ASLE, Ecualug, Equinux, OpenEcuador, Ubuntu-ec, among others. Basically these communities of free software are mailing lists or forums, where the people who share this interest of free software shares his or her knowledge through Internet.

Jhon Calderon [es] tells us what cities participated in the country and relates what occurred in the city of Loja where he was personally involved with the organization of the event:

En el marco del evento Flisol Loja se distribuyeron variantes del sistema operativo GNU/Linux de manera gratuita y también a un dólar por cd para cubrir gastos que conlleva el mismo. La instalación se realizo en cerca de 20 maquinas, la distribución de los cd’s al publico alrededor de 80 cd´s y la concurrencia del publico fue masiva quedando muy satisfechos por lo expuesto en el evento.

Within the framework of FLISOL-Loja, several variants of the GNU/Linux operating system were distributed for free and for a dollar by CD to cover expenses. The installation was made on approximately 20 machines, the distribution to the public was about 80 CDs and the attendance of the event was massive, and the public came away very satisfied.


One of the participants in Ecuador Southern City, Loja. Picture taken by jhcladeron and used under CCommons license.

Eduardo Palacios [es] writes in his blog of about what took place in the city of Guayaquil, and he includes photographs of the event at the ESPOL. He adds that their expectations, in respect to the attendance in comparison to 2007, were not met:

Esperaba que por realizarse en el Campus Peñas -que está dentro de la ciudad a diferencia del Campus Prosperina-, la cantidad de asistentes a este evento superara a la del FLISOL 2007, pero creo que no fué así, al menos no durante el tiempo que permanecí en el campus (hasta cerca de las 14h00).

I hoped that since the event would be held on the Campus Peñas – which is within the city, unlike Campus Prosperina- the number of attendees at this event might surpass the number who attended FLISOL 2007, but I believe it wasn't the case, at least not during the time I remained in the campus (until near 14h00).

People Ecubuntu [es] talks about the way that people can follow the activities for FLISOL through the creatio of FLISOL TV, which is a grouping of video streams. Not all the sites had streaming videos, but it was a way to follow the events from other countries.

Esteban Mendieta [es] linked to some of the events around Ecuador, but one of his commenters found open software to be not what it is cut out to be, specifically in regards to the installation:

Me quedo con el sabor amargo de esta ingrata experiencia, pense que istalar WIN yUBUNTU seria mas facil que instalar WIN y LEOPARD, (los he instalado un sinnumero de veces en PCs y en MACS particionadas) pero WINDOWS con UBUNTU definitivamente no se llevan, un enigma para mi… Bueno esperare otra FLISOL o que el sistema sea MAS AMIGABLE, o esperar pacientemente la lenta marcha del software libre.

This poor experience leaves a bitter taste, as I thought that installing WIN and UBUNTU would have been easier than to install WIN and LEOPARD (I have installed them both a number of times in partitioned MAC and PCs), but Windows and Ubuntu definitely do not get a long, it is an enigma for me. I hope that in another FLISOL event that I can do it, or that the system becomes more friendly or wait for the slow advancement of free software.


  • Great to hear about people across the world using open-source software!

  • I think the right term to use in this case is “free software”. The term “free” refers to freedom and the purpose of FLISOL was to educate and advocate freedom. “Open source” is technically not incorrect but the point of Open Source is not to advocate freedom but to advocate a way of making technically better computer programs.

    Choosing proprietary software is not choosing freedom because proprietary software is defined as causing the user to become helpless and divided from cooperating with their community. There is no way a user can be free while they accept proprietary softaware. With free software, the user has full rights to help themself and cooperate with their community and this is the message of FLISOL

  • […] Fourteen cities in Ecuador participated in the recent Latin American Festival of Free Software Installation. A detailed report about the events in Ecuador, given the recent decree by President Rafael Correa, was published on Global Voices Online. […]

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