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Ask About the Iraqi LUG 375

Posted by Roblimo
from the Linux-everywhere-for-everyone dept.
Yes, there is a Linux Users Group in Iraq. When it was first mentioned on Slashdot it only had two members. It's grown a little since then, as has The Iraqi Linux Group Portal. Adam Davidson, an American reporter in Baghdad who helped start the group, has agreed to answer your questions about Linux in Iraq. Please post only one question per comment. We'll email Adam 10 of the highest-moderated questions, and post his answers verbatim (except for HTML formatting) when he gets them back to us.
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Ask About the Iraqi LUG

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  • Which distro? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@bc9002[ ]et ['1.n' in gap]> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:17PM (#8089198) Homepage
    Which distribution of Linux do most Iraqis use? RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, or other?
    • Yes, I can see that...

      Original version:

      Question: Which distribution of Linux do most Iraqis use?

      Answer: oh, they all use Windows. I think I saw one with Slackware once though.


      Slashdot version, with HTML added:

      Question: Which distribution of Linux do most Iraqis use?

      Answer: oh, they all use Slackware.


      What? We edited the question? Of course not! We just added some strategically placed comment tags...
    • Re:Which distro? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hasanen (745497)
      i am iraqi linux member ,currently i am prefer using mandrake.
  • Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:17PM (#8089206) Homepage Journal
    One has to ask, would this have been allowed under Saddam Hussain?

    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Frymaster (171343) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:43PM (#8089629) Homepage Journal
      One has to ask, would this have been allowed under Saddam Hussain?

      well, according to the linux users journal, it sounds like it was. the article is here [linuxjournal.com] - you could have found it easily by reading the article.

      additionally, it should be noticed that saudi arabia - a country that has consistently been in the top three worst regimes as far as human rights violations are concerned - has a lug as well [linux.org.sa].

    • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by newiraq (745444)
      Dispite the fact that everything was forbidden under Saddam's regime, this wasn't the case. The problem is people did not know about it because they were forbidden from connecting to the outside world and learn about technology or whatever! For sure you couldn't start a group without pasting the Baath party flyers all over the place firt, or at least you should be a member at the Baath party! even if there is no relation at all!
    • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by esaloch (733370)
      Well, considering that Saddam's reasoning for kicking out the oil companies in Iraq was more of an anti-capitalist thing I think he would have been more likely to ban MS Windows.
    • by aled (228417)
      Why do you think otherwise?
  • Age group? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Leffe (686621) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:18PM (#8089222)
    What is the age group(s) of Linux users in Iraq?

    OK, I don't even know what it's in Sweden, but it would be interesting, right?
  • by MajorDick (735308) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:18PM (#8089223)
    What is the density per capita of PC type computers in Iraq ? I mean how many people even own computers ? What is the average computer available for use in Iraq ?
  • by bluGill (862) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:19PM (#8089227)

    We all know that the news only plays the parts that sell (normally the worst parts) of reality, which leaves everyone with a twisted idea of what it is like. So if I was born and raised in Iraq, what would my life really be like?

  • Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:19PM (#8089238)
    For years strict encryption rules were an issue for Iraq. Has the US now stopped it's encryption restrictions for Iraq or do you simply get your crypto from elsewhere?
    • Re:Encryption (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kenja (541830)
      I once talked to an army Colonel who had built a suitecase sized computer for Sadam in the mid 80's. Just remember, before things went all crazy Sadam was our puppet.
      • before things went all crazy Sadam was our puppet.

        what do you mean "before"? when hussein was gassing kurds, he was our pal. when he was committing war crimes against the iraqis he was on our side.

        • Re:Encryption (Score:2, Insightful)

          "All crazy" in U.S. terms means "he screwed with our personal convenience" e.g., he invaded Kuwait which messed with our power-slurping habits. Nobody in any administration in recent memory gave or gives a crap about human rights. We're still "buddies" with China, after all, even though the country's run by nasty little brutes. Ditto India and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and....

          Execute a few thousand of your countrymen? No problem. Fuck with my SUV? You're dead.

        • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cheezedawg (413482) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:08PM (#8091753) Journal
          In retrospect, our alliance with Saddam in the 80's was bad- hindsight is always 20-20. But if you look at the situation we were in, it is understandable why we looked to work with Saddam. The Iranian revolution changed the dynamic of the region. Suddenly we had a radical Islamic theocracy that was openly anti-American and had taken hundreds of US citizens hostage. Iran quickly became enemy #1.

          So we look next door. Instead of a radical Islamic government, we see a secular leader, and we falsly assume that this means Iraq will not be subject to the same volitility as Iran. We also see a leader that is against the new Islamic government in Iran (our new enemy). We obviously underestimated Saddam.

          Its not like we sat back and did nothing about his war crimes. We sent Rumsfeld to Iraq in the early 80's to urge Saddam not to use chemical weapons. We voted for almost a half a dozen UN resolutions condemning Iraq for it's chemical weapons use. And the chemical weapons he was using were not American [sipri.se] anyway. Finally it became painfully obvious that we could not trust Saddam, so we started working to disarm him.

          Hopefully we can learn from mistakes like this.
    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by I8TheWorm (645702) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8089658) Journal
      Not trying to be a troll at all, but with Linux, does it matter? It's not produced (in many cases anyway) by a US company which is bound to US law. Are there any other reasons, i.e. international law, that would restrict the use of stronger encryption than the US allows in Iraq?

      One of the finer points to be made regading use of Linux is none of it (again, unless you use a distro from a US company) is bound by US law, and least that's how I percieve it.
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@bc9002[ ]et ['1.n' in gap]> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:19PM (#8089241) Homepage
    How can we in the global community help the Iraqi LUG? Are there resources available for computer donation, etc.?
  • by tcopeland (32225) * <tom&thomasleecopeland,com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:19PM (#8089250) Homepage
    ...right here [iraqilinux.org]. Netscape == Mozilla, and such, I bet.

    Have to remember to check that page a day or two from now... there'll be a new "busiest hour", probably.
  • In the long run... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:20PM (#8089258) Journal
    how do you think Iraq will merge very old and very new cultures in a beneficial way?
    • Will Iraq will merge very old and very new cultures in a beneficial way? Being Johnny-on-the-spot, what's your take on Iraq's chances of having a real democracy, and not just a vehicle for some religious nutjob *cough*Sistani*cough* to take over?
  • by rueger (210566) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:20PM (#8089260) Homepage
    I'm presuming that any government computer infrastructure has been destroyed, and that they will be more or less starting from scratch.

    Am I correct in assuming that Microsoft is in there big time locking down contracts to rebuild government computing sytems?
    • I was going to ask the Microsoft question - I know that they have been reported as sponsoring meetings at which the rebuilding of Iraq is being discussed.

      I also fear that given the past history of Chalabi and his ilk it is likely that under the table payments will be crucial in getting any contracts from the appointed provisional authority - Chalabi faces a twenty stretch if the Jordanians ever get their hands on him, following his looting of the Petra Bank. Obviously a fit person for the US to select to se

  • by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette&gmail,com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:21PM (#8089267) Homepage Journal
    Are there any female Linux users/Linux Users Group members in Iraq? If so, how many? How old are they?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There's an entire dating site [funkypages.com] devoted to single female Iraqi geeks.
    • Re:Iraqi geek girls (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheSync (5291)
      When I was chatting [thesync.com] with the Baghdad Internet Cafe [iraqbaghdad.net], there was at least one woman present at the Cafe who was a "student in computer college."
      • OK. That's good to hear.

        I've been told by many reliable sources, including Iraqi expats, that Iraqi women were very emancipated by Arab standards (and even some Western standards) before this whole Saddam mess. Most of the older female Iraqi expats I know are either medical doctors or engineers (educated in Iraq), and the impression I got from them was that it was not all that uncommon for women to choose these kinds of careers. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the girls and women of Iraq

        • You also have to keep in mind that Baghdad and Basrah are as different as Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. There are plenty of very "emancipated" women in Baghdad, but fewer out in the country.
    • And more importantly, are they single ;-)
    • This is NOT (only) funny. This should be modded insightfull folks, or perhaps this sub-questions should be added, "If no girls, how do YOU feel about that?"

      "/Dread"
      • Well, I never intended for my question to be funny, especially considering I'm female myself.

        Being a female or not, I feel it is a legitimate question, especially considering Iraq's previous history of being a model for women's liberation in the Arab world. Many women became scientists/engineers pre-Saddam. My interest is to chart any changes during the Saddam regime, and also investigate the role of women and women and technology for Iraqi women now that they have "freedom."

  • by herrvinny (698679) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:21PM (#8089269)
    Can we help you in some way? Old computers, networking equipment, webspace, etc?
  • How can we help? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by agentZ (210674) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:21PM (#8089274)
    I would like to help the proliferation of Free software, as part of a larger effort to provide opportunities to connect, to the people of Iraq. How can we help? Would my old computer hardware help? How can I get it to you? What about my linux skills? I teach computer science/forensics at the university level and would be happy to offer training over the web.
  • by Evil Schmoo (700378) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:21PM (#8089281) Homepage
    Is the recent growth in your user group due to an influx of homegrown Iraqi talent, or are there more foreign users (ie, contractors) coming incountry?
  • War coverage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koh (124962) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:22PM (#8089295) Journal
    I'm eager to ask, does he think that an increased presence of Linux in Iraqi homes during the last war would have had some impact in the way information was delivered to the outside world ?
    Would it have improved the way the major news channels "translated" the events ?
    • No more impact than an increased presence of PCs with ANY operating system.

      Not really sure what Linux specifically would have to do with the ability of everyday Iraqis to get information off of the Internet (the same Internet that Linux and Windows connects to).

      • Well, for a start, Windows costs much more ;)
        Since the first war I sincerely doubt our fellow Iraqi geek can line up the money to buy a licence.

        (Yup, some other OSes count as free too but the article was about Linux...)
        • Well, for a start, Windows costs much more ;)
          No, Linux costs more. Most Linux releases come on 3 or 4 CDs whereas XP comes on one. The price is about $2/CD so Linux costs more (unless they use Knoppix).

          At least in former times there was a lively blackmarket in software in Baghdad.

  • The numbers. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr2cents (323101) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:24PM (#8089315)
    Well, on question should go for the numbers: do a lot of people have computers in Iraq? Is linux well-known there? How is it welcomed compared to the competition? IIRC the internet was outlawed under Sadam, so is it becoming available rapidly?

    Of course we all know the fastest way to get network is to get a bunch of linux-geeks together.. Is the next linux beer.. erm.. thee hike going to be in Bagdad?
  • Legislative issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by temojen (678985) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:25PM (#8089333) Journal

    Given Iraq's clean-slate status:

    How can the international community promote the freedom to use information technology for fair and lawful purposes (ie no DRM, free use of strong cryptography)?

  • Infrastructure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Golias (176380) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:26PM (#8089345)
    If one believes western media, Iraq is a nation under constant seige, in which the plumming and electricity is absent for large swaths of the nation, and order is just barely maintained by the massive presense of unwelcome US troops. Also, many in the west believed that Iraq under Saddam was a very backwards and un-developped place (apart from military development), and one was not likely to find many computers at all, let alone connected ones.

    So, as somebody who's actually there and actually knows what life is like for a techno-geek in today's Iraq, perhaps you could give us a detailed account about current network infrastructure, how easy or difficult it is to buy computer parts, how much Iraqi people (and Iraqi computer geeks in particular) use Internet technologies to connect to one another (e-mail, blogs, instant messaging, the web, etc.), what cultural attitudes in Iraq concerning the Internet, the global community, and the West, etc.

    Most people in the United States (which is where most of the readers of /. come from) know very little about day-to-day life in Iraq. A detailed account would probably be very educational and broadening.

  • Piracy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What is the nature of new Windows deployments in Iraq? Are they now more likely to be legit copies or pirate copies? (this is NEW installations)

    If pirated copies of Windows are still the norm, and hardware/power is so unreliable that uptimes are irrelevant, what remaining advantages does Linux have over Windows?

    Wouldn't it be better to promote OpenOffice/Mozilla/open file formats, so that the switch to Linux is easier once the infrastructure is more solid, and once piracy is no longer rampant?
  • Mandrake?? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:28PM (#8089381)

    Are you allowed to use Mandrake, or
    are you forced to boycott french products in the new Iraq??
  • Why did the submitter feel it necessary to post the link to the Iraq LUG on the Slashdot homepage? Now they are just going to get a bunch of GNAA trolls signing up to spam them.
  • by RenegadeTempest (696396) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:30PM (#8089401)
    After living under totalitarian rule, what is the state of the country's computing talent? What disciplines have the strongest computing talent?
  • How can we help? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PenguinRadio (69089) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:31PM (#8089413) Homepage
    What sort of help / donations are you seeking from the US and the West? Would some old manuals, parts, or anything else we might have laying around be of use to you guys and how would we send it to you (i.e. mailing address?)

  • by ChilyMack (720195) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:31PM (#8089426)
    I'm not entirely educated about the average computer experience in the Middle East. I know that, comparatively, very few people have up-to-date computers with reliable internet access, but how much more uncommon is it for an Iraqi civilian to have experience in programming? In the previous regime, was coding mostly government-sponsored, or else discouraged or at least difficult to pick up? Everything grows slowly and somehow, I suppose. Good luck to you.
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:35PM (#8089497) Homepage
    What does Halliburton chrage for a RedHat Linux 9 on CD? $10,000?
  • by asobala (563713) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:36PM (#8089518) Homepage

    I'm assuming that most Iraqis don't have a computer, and as such there is not a very large Windows marketshare.

    Do you think the lower prices of linux will encourage widespread computer usage in Iraq? Do you think maybe people will use linux more than windows, since it's cheaper and can (maybe) get a foothold in the market faster?

    • ...or at least more complete.

      How about "Do you think maybe people will use linux more than windows or Mac OS since it's cheaper and can (maybe) get a foothold in the market faster?"

      Windows isn't the only commercial OS on the market, and Apple hardware isn't exactly an 'economy-priced' either.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@@@geekbiker...net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:37PM (#8089540) Homepage Journal
    Once upon a time the Middle East was the center of learning the world over. Scholars of all religions and nationalities flocked there to exchange ideas and learn. This tolerance made the Middle East rich both economically and culturally. Then fundamentalist religion reared its ugly head, stifling all types of learning except for the Koran. Is there any chance of overcoming the fundamentalist shackles of intolerance and return the Middle East to its former glory of knowlege and economic vibrants?
    • by TheSync (5291) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:59PM (#8089820) Journal
      More precisely, Baghdad itself was the center of global scholarship. From About.Com [about.com]:

      In about 762 A.D., the Abbasid dynasty took over rule of the vast Muslim world and moved the capital to the newly-founded city of Baghdad. Over the next five centuries, the city would become the world's center of education and culture. This period of glory has become known as the "Golden Age" of Islamic civilization, when scholars of the Muslim world made important contributions in both the sciences and humanities: medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, literature, and more. Under Abbasid rule, Baghdad became a city of museums, hospitals, libraries, and mosques.

      Most of the famous Muslim scholars from the 9th to 13th centuries had their educational roots in Baghdad. One of the most famous centers of learning was Bayt al-Hikmah (the House of Wisdom), which attracted scholars from all over the world, from many cultures and religions. Here, teachers and students worked together to translate Greek manuscripts, preserving them for all time. They studied the works of Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Euclid, and Pythagoras. The House of Wisdom was home to, among others, the most famous mathematician of the time: Al-Khawarizmi, the "father" of algebra (which is named after his book "Kitab al-Jabr").

      While Europe festered in the Dark Ages, Baghdad was thus at the heart of a vibrant and diverse civilization. It was known as the world's richest and most intellectual city of the time, and was second in size only to Constantinople.

      After 500 years of rule, however, the Abbasid dynasty slowly began to lose its vitality and relevance over the vast Muslim world. The reasons were partly natural (vast flooding and fires), and partly human-made (rivalry between Shia and Sunni Muslims, internal security problems).

      The city of Baghdad was finally trashed by the Mongols in 1258 A.D., effectively ending the era of the Abbasids. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers reportedly ran red, with the blood of thousands of scholars (a reported 100,000 of Baghdad's million residents were massacred). Many of the libraries, irrigation canals, and great historical treasures were looted and forever ruined. The city began a long period of decline, and became host to numerous wars and battles that continue to this day.

      • I was almost positive that Baghdad was the center, but Middle Eastern history is not my area of specialty, so I decided to avoid making a mistake. Thanks for your excellent clarification.
      • Was a comment that was made by one British commentator which promptly got him into serious trouble.

        The thing is, he was right (probably without knowing it). They gave us the concept of zero in about 950 (I think). I would guess that it probably came also from Baghdad, along with all the other stuff.

        The story of the sack of Baghdad must be more complicated. As a rule, if you agreed to their notional rule (the Kahn was usually a long way away) and raised and paid taxes, cities were generally left alone.

  • Cant allow terrorists having open-source operating systems and development tools..

  • Internet in Iraq (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ianoo (711633) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:38PM (#8089556) Journal
    What are your feelings about the Internet in relation to freedom of the press and global democracy?

    Does the Internet help opressed peoples in dictatorial regimes to see the rights and freedoms that their governments deny them, and to see around the official views that are put out through party propaganda machines? Is it our responsibility to help people in nations like China circumvent their government's censorship mechanisms (using systems like the ill-fated SafeWeb) and see what's really going on in the world, much as Voice of America and BBC World Service have been doing on the radio for so many years?

    How many people have you spoken to in Iraq who used the Internet in some form under Hussein and what did they think of the content? Impressed? Disgusted? Did the Internet have any influence before or during the war, perhaps persuading people not to resist or fight for the regime?

    What uses have you found the for Internet in post-dictatorship Iraq? Communications, fostering democratic thinking?

    Does Linux (being free and hence requiring no capital investment) represent the ideal way to get people online in Iraq when money is tight and perhaps better used elsewhere?
  • IT jobs in Iraq (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Koyaanisqatsi (581196) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:39PM (#8089567)
    Out of curiosity, might as well ask someone who's in the field and there: what are the typical IT positions in Iraq? What skills are most sought after?
  • iLug (Score:4, Funny)

    by Zordak (123132) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:39PM (#8089572) Homepage Journal
    Has Apple yet announced any plans to pursue legal action against the clearly trademark-infringing "iLug" name? How can one make donations to your legal defense?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:41PM (#8089603)
    What features does Linux offer Iraq that Windows does not? Does it offer any special advantages besides the standard ones for open source? For example, are there better translations or special software used by people in Iraq?
  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:44PM (#8089646) Journal
    I organized a chat [thesync.com] between the College Perk [collegeperk.org] coffeehouse near the University of Maryland and the Baghdad Internet Cafe [iraqbaghdad.net]. The Cafe has about 50 computers, and during the chat they had six people in the Cafe for an Internet training course.

    They reported being able to buy cheap computers ("200 USD FOR P4"), but power was an issue - it goes down a lot - fortunately the Cafe has a generator.

    I plan to do another chat with them in February.

    It is important to keep in mind that during the mid-70's, Baghdad was practially a "European" city in terms of infrastructure, based on high oil prices and Saddam's desire to create a showplace for the glory of his regime. Things didn't really go downhill structurally there until the war with Iran, then Gulf War I, the sacntions, etc.

    Also, a lot of businesses now depend on email for communications to and from Iraq, as the phone lines are often less than dependable.

    The Baghadad Internet Cafe opened August 1. It is my feeling that it would not have been possible to have an open public Internet chat like the one we had before operation Iraqi Freedom without some kind of government political official there to monitor things. I'll have to ask next time.
  • by no longer myself (741142) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8089660)
    What kind of courses does Iraq's higher educational system have in regards to computers? Do they have many classes regarding Unix/Linux type systems or is the emphasis more on proprietary software such as Microsoft's? In general, what kind of careers goals do the Iraqi computer students have?
  • Political angles? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by immortal (145467) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:47PM (#8089677) Homepage
    Given the current political changes, do you find there are any political or even cutural hurdles? How do they affect your ability to bring Linux to Iraq?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...where are the biological and chemical weapons?

    G.W.B.
  • Question:

    Would an otherwise computer-literate Iraqi be able to distinguish between a BSD and a GNU license ?
  • General (Score:5, Interesting)

    by billsf (34378) <billsf&cuba,calyx,nl> on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:11PM (#8090013) Homepage Journal
    Are there any restrictions of any sort on using computers in Iraq in general and Linux in particular?

    What is currently the most popular OS and hardware platform in Iraq, both by numbers and total computing power?

    Issues:

    * Crypto importing
    * Access to Internet to maintain a Unix system
    * The ".iq" top level domain
    * Who runs the providers?
    * Keeping Microsoft out (their own EULA forbids its use in Iraq)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bill Gates or Saddam Hussein?
  • Overall (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:20PM (#8090175)
    Is the average Iraqi better off today than one year ago?

    How do you think they will be one year (or 5 years) in the future?
    • Overall they're worst, I can tell you that much.
  • I would be curious to know what kind of software, in general, is being developed there? Are the Linux users doing mostly in-house, commercial, hobby, or other development?

    If there is a lot of commercial development, in what areas?
  • on every computer in Iraq?

    "/Dread"
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:37PM (#8090415)
    U.S. news on C-Span has been reporting that the Middle east governments are relaxing their previous strict control over citizens using the internet. However, the report only mentioned Iraq and Egypt by nane. What are you seeing from your neighbor states? Do you think these governments mean to stick with a policy of more free speech, or are any of them likely to crack down again in a year or so? Who's likely to be a holdout?
  • by Elektroschock (659467) on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:38PM (#8090422)
    I read in other news that Iraq as under US occupation will get a copyright legislation written by a RIAA official. But nobody talks about software patents in Iraq. Will the United States pressure for a US style patent legislation in Iraq? I heard that patents are incompatible with islamic law. Some muslims in my neighborhood were much in favour of free software because of religious reasons. Do the Iraqis LUG guys also believe that the GPL unlike proprietary software is according to Shariah law.
  • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:39PM (#8090436) Journal
    What was the state of network infrastructure before the war, and what is the current state of the network?

    I.E. is broadband available? Is it mostly dialup etc...
  • by djeaux (620938) on Monday January 26, 2004 @03:13PM (#8090959) Homepage Journal
    Are most iLUG members hobbyists, CS students, or IT professionals?

    Is there any optimism that, once the current turmoil settles down, Iraq will be able to grow a stronger technology-based economy?

  • Here where I work, we've been talking about the PayPal link you have. It's a great idea and I'd love to contribute. Linux is a passion of mine, and I'd like to help directly (if only in a small way) to rebuild the information infrastructure that my government has done their best to level. But what assurances can you provide that contributions will be used only to promote linux in Iraq? I wouldn't want to end up in Guantanamo bay with Ashcroft's rifle-butt in my stomach.

    This is a serious question - are you
  • by pauly_thumbs (416028) on Monday January 26, 2004 @03:31PM (#8091194)
    How can we help? Are there ways for Americans to donate machines to the Iraqi people and what types of machines are needed most?

    Here in Seattle there are lots of PII's at the Goodwill - great for Linux use :)
  • by JWhitlock (201845) <John-Whitlock AT ieee DOT org> on Monday January 26, 2004 @03:33PM (#8091219)
    When I look at mirror pages for servers in the Middle East, there are few or none. What servers do you use to download software? Are they specific servers, or servers in particular countries? Is it faster to use a server, to get a friend to burn a CD, or to buy them off the streets?

    I'm probably headed back to Saudia Arabia for a week in February, and I had a heck of a time finding good servers. You never know how much you rely on a fast Internet connection until you spend three days downloading the source for Open Office for your Gentoo-based laptop.

    And yes, I know for the future that the binary Open Office package is smaller, just about as fast, and that it doesn't take 30 hours to build on a P3 system.

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