---------- Forwarded message ----------
SOLIS, Free Software Co-operative
Lajeado, RS, Brazil
May, 7th 2003
What is a Co-operative?
"Co-ops are based on helping each other and caring for others.
A co-operative is a a type of business or organization. It is a group of
people who are working together to solve their own problems and meet
their needs. Co-ops are different from other types of organisations
since they abide by three main rules:
* Co-ops treat people fairly and respectfully;
* Co-ops encourage people to work together towards solving their
* Co-ops provide products and services to meet people's needs rather
than solely for the purpose of making money."
(Extracted from http://www.ica.coop/kids
What is Free Software?
"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy,
distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it
refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your
needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements
to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).
Access to the source code is a precondition for this."
(Extracted from http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
Reading the definitions above, you will see Co-operative and Free
Software share a common set of principles, based on community building
and freedom. It seems natural to use a co-operative organization to
produce Free Software. This is what SOLIS does.
Started at the UNIVATES IT department (www.univates.br/freesoftware
SOLIS is formed now by almost 30 people who make their living producing
free software (half of them working directly with free software
development in projects such as SAGU, GNUTECA and others) and selling
training, customization and services to customers who are able to
understand and share the Free Software phylosophy. All software produced
by SOLIS is licensed under the GPL.
UNIVATES, an University Center in the South of Brazil, actually helped
the startup of SOLIS by allowing the University's IT department to
provide services and training on the software produced originally for
the University. Amazingly enough, if you search Google (www.google.com
with the keywords: Free Software Brazil -- you will see UNIVATES pages
as the first ones being displayed. Instead of capitalizing on top of
free software services itself, UNIVATES decided to outsource its own IT
services to the group already providing these services to the
University, allowing the inauguration of SOLIS. By doing this, UNIVATES
expects SOLIS will grow and provide a workplace for its computer science
and other students, fostering regional development, once money spent on
free software solutions stay in the region and won't go to proprietary
software companies outside Brazil.
SOLIS starts with a full set of products for academic administration,
library automation and others, and it is setting up local partnerships
in order to "free" (GPL) a comprehensive set of solutions for small and
"We understand by offering free software for our local industries and
commerce, we will allow them to better automate their business and
become more competitive, at the same time we create job positions for
people who will be supporting this software and further developing it.
Right now, the existing proprietary software solutions don't allow the
automation of several businesses in our region.", says João Alex
Fritsch, President of SOLIS.
Because SOLIS is a cooperative, not a corporation, there is no danger
that SOLIS will accept outside investment from people who have no
ethical attachment to the principles of free software. Such investment
has been the downfall of many free software companies, since the outside
investors often decide to develop non-free software.
For more information, please contact Cesar Brod, Executive
Vice-President, at cesar at brod.com.br, or visit www.solis.coop.br
cesar at brod dot com dot br
SOLIS, Cooperativa de Soluções Livres
55 51 3714-7040