Microsoft combats piracy; Stallman agitates for free software

Review of November 15-22 telecommunication and information technology events.

Software piracy has decreased 6% in Armenia over the past 4 years, what resulted in additional $5 million to the national budget. According to Microsoft Armenia director Grigor Barseghyan, the number of people using authorized software is increasing year by year in Armenia.

PanARMENIAN.Net - As he said, this year, Armenia will for the first time mark the Consumer Rights Protection Day annually organized by Microsoft. “Surveys show that majority of people do not know how to recognize an unauthorized copy. However, the users seem to choose software more scrupulously. 65% of the respondents believe that licensed software should be used, even if it’s more expensive,” Barseghyan said.

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Meanwhile, over 230 people attended the first speech on free software and freedom delivered in Yerevan by Richard Stallman, the founder of Free Software Movement. Free software is not a technical but a socio-economic and ethic issue, according to Mr. Stallman, a fierce opponent to proprietary software. “If government is using proprietary software - it's a disaster... like inviting the CIA for couple of days,” he said.

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Armenian and Georgian IT companies shared the awards at GITI 2010 Cyber Security Event in Tbilisi. According to UITE Expo director Vahan Hovsepyan Georgian contestants were better represented by governmental institutions, while Armenian companies were leading in private sector, winning 4 out of 6 nominations. The victory in GITI 2010 Cyber Security Event allowed Armenian organizations to conclude contracts with Georgian, Albanian and Israeli companies. Armenian companies won 5 nominations out of 14 at Cyber Security Event GITI 2010. X-Tech, Essential Solutions, IDram, LimeTech, EKENG were granted awards in the following nominations: Best Multimedia Project, Best Business-to-Business Solution, Best Complex Business Solution, Best Integrator, Best IT Project.

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Public voting announced by ArmNet Awards 2010 contest for the best Armenian websites was launched on November 15 through November 30, with approx. 13 thousand votes reported as of November 17, project manager Zhirayr Terzyan told PanARMENIAN.Net Over 600 online Armenia resources participate in the contest. The online voting was made available www.armnetawards.am or contestants’ homepage. Armnet Awards Armenian Internet competition was organized by SP Marketing Solutions, Orange Armenia and Circle.am under the aegis of the RA Minister of Economy. The goal of the contest is to identify and reward the best Armenian websites. Two-stage procedure of the contest involves a public voting and international jury assessment.

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Internet in Armenia is a platform for a civil society formation, according to information security expert Samvel Martirosyan. “You remember the videos showing violence in schools and army and the reaction of the Ministries of Education and Defense which followed,” Martirosyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. “The TV is censured, however the same can’t be said of the internet. For example, А1+ which was forbidden as a TV channel but freely operates in the internet,” he said.

According to blogger Karen Vrtanesyan, Armenian authorities do not exert pressure on internet users. “I openly criticize Armenia’s policy regarding education, state debt and economic cooperation with international organizations,” he said. “The only censorship that was ever imposed was the blocking of some resources under the state of emergency after the presidential election in 2008.”

Meanwhile, during a conference in Tbilisi, Freedom House’s Sam Patten said that authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan keep control over the internet in their countries.

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Production and Export Support Association presented a social network for businessmen – arm3a.org. The organization aims to promote export of goods and services in Armenia and create a business culture. However, its basic difference is that the organization will operate based on a social network for entrepreneurs, scientists, inventors, managers, etc. Representatives of the association believe that the website will present interest for young people, who have business ideas.

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The RA Public Services Regulatory Commission decided to provide Orange Armenia company with radio frequencies for a 10-year term to organize radio relay lines. According to the Commission’s decision, the company should launch the frequencies exploitation no later than on February 1, 2011.

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ArmenTel CJSC (Beeline trademark) will provide free USB-modems to entities, if one-year contract is signed for usage of Night and Limitless tariff plans of mobile Internet. Mobile Internet is a simple, mobile solution for computer’s connection to Internet via GPRS, EDGE or 3G technology from any corner, where Beeline mobile network is available.

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