Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/07/16/peru_mulls_free_software_gates/

Peru mulls Free Software, Gates gives $550k to Peru Prez

Funny old life...

By John Lettice

Posted in Software, 16th July 2002 09:39 GMT

The Register's department of strange coincidences can't help noticing that yesterday Bill Gates met Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, and graciously donated around $550,000 worth of money, software, and consulting to be used by Peru for education and e-government.

You may recall a while back somebody impersonating the Prime Minister of Canada had a great deal of trouble even getting Bill on the phone, Bill being a bit sniffy about the level of head of state he's prepared to give airtime to these days. But heads of state who want a summit with Bill, and even a nice jpeg of the ceremony put up on the Microsoft site, just have to set the correct alerts flashing.

Peru, you see, has been threatening to outlaw Windows by mandating Free Software in government departments. And seriously folks, it is not widely known (or at least, not widely enough) that when major Microsoft contracts or customers are in peril, Bill is frequently deployed as the Ultimate Weapon. You may think he's supposed to be piloting Longhorn to completion these days, but he still has plenty of time for being a supersalesman.

Where President Toledo's education and e-government deal leaves the Free Software initiative is not clear. But as we must surely now have a contract with Microsoft, it likely complicates it a tad. Oh, and The Reg itself feels moved to threaten to pull the NT 4.0 machine that's been sitting in the corner of the office not doing anything for four and half years now, and replace it with a drop-in Linux box we're working on. We're free next week, Bill. You? ®