Freedom and parades

This is a slightly different blog entry. I live in São Paulo, Brazil, so quite used to large crowds. The metropolitan area houses around 11 million people. Yesterday the city hosted the largest parade in the world for celebration of sexual diversity. Amazingly, it gathered anywhere from 3 to 3.5 million people.
English articles about it can be found at this and this links, and photos  are available as well.
What does this have to do with free software? It is interesting to notice the absolute majority of people on the parade were not really part of the gay community. Most were families with children. The focus of the event was to celebrate the rights of people to exercise their freedom, to run their lives in the way that suits them most. And to most people here the right to exercise their freedom sexually is very important. Carnival anyone?
Contrast this with the recent visit of the Pope to Brazil, where crowds of millions were expected, but attendance was very low, and only about 30% of the expected audience was seen in most public events. This Pope’s message is basically about control and restriction, and it has not resonated at all here, even with the overwhelming catholic majority of the country, and massive media attention to the visit.
As I look at these events and others in the recent history of the country, I begin to see a pattern. Brazilians are apparently very found of freedom of expression. Yet in this country this usually manifests in a pattern of relative tolerance to others, which helps explain why the country has not been involved in any significant military conflict  in the continent since 1880.
I am sure the above can also be observed in the pattern of adoption of free software in Brazil Some people seem to believe that adoption of free software in developing countries is mostly dictated by monetary conditions (the “free” as in beer aspect.) But I disagree with this, at least in essence. Every free software advocate you run into in Brazil is always touting the freedom aspect first, and the monetary reward as a by product. People here are also very confortable with mixed solutions, where free software and proprietary components are used in the same solution (the tolerance aspect I mentioned before, perhaps?) Another interesting parallel between the recent parade and free software adoption is the gradual involvement of the government as partial sponsor of both movements. Some people seem to believe that adoption of free software (or celebration of diversity!) is dictated by government policies, but I can tell you that this is not how it works down here. Both movements started with smaller portions of the population at first, and then gained momentum. The government only joined the party at a much later stage, when it became apparent that freedom of expression is a desire of the population.
Just some random rambling while I wait for kdelibs to build, and prepare to re-tackle some work on KMines and KMahjongg 🙂