Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Technology

Rapid Internet Growth In Iran 315

Posted by timothy
from the cia-factbook-time dept.
securitas writes "The BBC's Abbas Azimi reports on the rapid growth of the Internet and Internet cafes in Iran, apparently with the tacit approval of the government. Seven million Iranians have Internet access, or 10% of the population - double the rate two years ago. Access costs 60 cents/hour. The article describes how the Internet is used for everything from VoIP phone calls to chat and Web logs. Even Iran's vice-president has a daily blog on a popular site with 'musings about politics and life.' All of this despite the ban on many sites, which is easily circumvented by Iran's webmasters and geeks. An interesting point is that most of the PCs used in Iran are assembled from smuggled parts and run pirated versions of all the latest software (due to foreign embargo?). It sounds like a great opportunity for open source software."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rapid Internet Growth In Iran

Comments Filter:
  • by FisterBelvedere (754614) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:15AM (#8360146)
    The old saying, "if it aint' broke don't fix it," seems to apply here. With no laws against pirating retail software, what would the advantage be to OSS? I know it wouldn't cost them any more, or less, so why change?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:16AM (#8360150)
      Because. Like all good Christians, we must convert them.
    • by adam231 (703149) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:29AM (#8360216) Homepage
      I think you're missing the point of OSS/Free Software, it's not how much money it costs (yeah, yeah free as in beer) it's how they could change it to suit their needs, lifestyle, culture (free as in freedom). In fact this is the perfect place for OSS/Free Software, it gives them the power to change something!
      • by Azure Khan (201396) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:59AM (#8360356)
        Perhaps we are placing just a little TOO much faith in the POWER of OSS. I realize that it can heal the sick, feed the hungry, and make politicians honest, but maybe just this once, it's completely irrelevant.

        We should be focusing more on the content then the delivery method. IN countries like Iran, overcoming and undermining the harsh edicts of the mullah is probably slightly more important than what version of SCO-Derivative Unlicensed(TM) *Nix verion they are running. I realize that talking about free software is important and innocuous, but whenever I see things like this pop up arbitrarily, I want to make sure you're not missing the point.

        If the president were found banging a dead 14-year-old hooker in the Vatican, I get the feeling some people here would either blame it on SCO, Microsoft, Bill Gates, the RIAA, or wonder what version of Apache the Vatican is running. (It's 1.3.27, to save you some trouble).
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Nah, they'd still probably blame it on bush.
        • I agree that there's much TOO much SCO sucks this and Linux rules that and I'm not trying to get into that debate but when someone says OSS can't/won't work because of price they're missing the point.

          OSS won't liberate the down-trodden, it's only SOFTWARE, but the idea behind it, free, free, freedom, well that idea made America and I kind of dig that place.
        • If the president were found banging a dead 14-year-old hooker in the Vatican ..

          You left out the group that would blame it all on Clinton. Also, understand Ballmer normally handles that part of the business now. :))

        • IN countries like Iran, overcoming and undermining the harsh edicts of the mullah is probably slightly more important than what version of SCO-Derivative Unlicensed(TM) *Nix verion they are running. I realize that talking about free software is important and innocuous, but whenever I see things like this pop up arbitrarily, I want to make sure you're not missing the point.

          But most of us here are far more knowledgeable about OSS than iranian politics (let's not kid ourselves), so we should concentrate on w

        • At last, a reasonable post.

          Thanks.

          The mere fact that /. is a geek site, with, as a consequence, a huge majority of people that don't understand a thing about politics (something else than conspiracy theories, and republican-bashing ?), and even less to arab politics, and how this part of the world is internally structured, does not imply that the average /.er must boast about the fact that OSS will bring peace and social revolution in every fucking country in the world.

          Don't get me wrong : there are g

          • The mere fact that /. is a geek site, with, as a consequence, a huge majority of people that don't understand a thing about politics, and even less to arab politics

            But surely you must know that Iran is not an Arab country?

            Try obtaining the basic facts before you start berating others at great length! X-D
            • Well, basically you are right.

              Iran is a persian country, I totally agree.

              But I didn't imply that Iran was a part of the Arab world. It's just a common misconception I didn't argue because it was not the proper subject of my post.

              Furthermore, even if 60% of the population is persian, the arab culture, religion (even if Sunni are in minority in the arab world), and language still play an important role in the common life of this country.

              And the last elections is a good proof of that.

              Sorry if I didn'

              • by Xoro (201854) on Monday February 23, 2004 @05:35AM (#8360772)

                First, you've confused shia and sunni.

                Second, Persians speak Parsi/Farsi/Persian, however you want to call it -- not Arabic. Yes, it's been altered by Arab colonizers, but it's still Persian.

                Finally, ask some Persians about where the high culture like art, architecture and poetry of the Arab Empire come from.

          • by Xoro (201854) on Monday February 23, 2004 @05:23AM (#8360748)

            The Arabs cheer you!

            But the PERSIANS of Iran probably think you're a pompous git.

            • Please refer to my previous response to the same critic.

              My point is not whether Iran is an arab country, which is debatable, considering that the arab adjective is widely, and often wrongly, applied. My point is how we consider countries that are widely known as "arab" (wrongly or not).

              And please stop demoting an entire post with arguing about a factual volountary negligence (debating that Iran is not an arab country would have allowed my post to roam around 0/-1 offtopic).

              I know Iran is made of 60% o

          • Wow, for a rant like this it is impressive that you can't get the first fact straight:

            and even less to arab politics,

            Iran is not arabic!! This is the kind of ignorance that pisses Iranians off (and probably arabs too).

            The Arab world is really hating the Western world.

            Rubbish! Have you travelled in the Arab world? I have. There are few places were you meet more heartfelt friendliness, openness and generosity than in the Arab world. If there is hate, it is only among a small number of people, and when you meet people face-to-face, and you return their respect, it's gone. It is about mutual respect.

            The fact that Western countries are, on a daily, institutionna, historical, cultural basis, denying the Arab heir is just a part of what make them hate us *so much*.

            This has some merit, but it is not a real source of hatred. But if you are prepared to sit down and hear what an Arab has to say about their heritage and what the Arab world has given to the west, you'd be respected. You'll also notice that many Arabs and Iranians too are prepared and very interested in taking the best of what the West has to offer. They have no hatred against the west, to the contrary, they would like to incorporate in their culture what they feel is good, and democracy is certainly one of the things they'll be working with.

            But Arabs and Iranians have a lot to be proud of, and what they don't want is westerners coming in and tell them what to do. They appreciate help when they ask for it, but they mostly want to do things their own way, based on what they think are the best from their own culture and western culture.

          • WHY NOT? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Darioush (687558) <darioush.jalali@ ... AWom minus berry> on Monday February 23, 2004 @06:07AM (#8360861) Homepage
            Dear People. You should know the following: 1. Iran is not an ARAB country. 2. The fact that who is the leader (mullah or not mullah), doesn't change anything. The computers will always live. 3. Internet will always find its ways to any country. 4. We don't hate the western people, rather they hate us. Example: IT is concidered prohibited by the American government the entry of powerfull encryption technology to Iran, and some other countries, which includes MD5. Therefore, we aren't allowed to d/l Linux (any reasonable distro) from US mirrors. 5. You know, there also exist some geeks, who don't care about politics at all. (Like me). 6. I am very intrested in OSS coming to Iran. It already has, to some extent. Check out: counter.li.org [li.org] iranlinux.org [iranlinux.org] and, kdefarsi.org [kdefarsi.org] . 7. Anyways, Linux and OSS will eventually take control of everywhere, including IRAN. 8. We are not TERRORISTS. We live like other people in the world. What is the point in being a terrorist anyways? How do you dare call us (including me) TERRORISTS? Have I killed you? Or what? 9. Religion has nothing to do with Open Source. Open Source is actually a special type of religion, if you put it that way. 10. May the source be with you. (NOET: Soorry for louzy spelling and grammar) --Regards, Darioush
            • Re:WHY NOT? (Score:3, Interesting)

              Yeki Irooni digeh!

              Cherah Amrika-eeh na darboreyeh akseryati jehan ne-meedonanand? In keshvar be-gairat dareh!

              (Bebakhsheed, farsi-eh man koob nist - tanbal hastam, va zaboone-farsi moshgel o khoshgel-eh!)

              Beeyah! In negah kon [freshmeat.net]! Koja in gereft?

          • by kavehmz (755591) on Monday February 23, 2004 @07:23AM (#8361029)
            As an Iranian, I must tell you we don't hate westerns, We may become angry when we hear you refer all inventions and science to your self, forgetting for example the medical-science-reburn was based on Avicenna (Abu ali sina, a pure inranain scientist), even the cloth you wear on graduating-celeberation in university and the way you change the position of the rob in the hat you wear in getting diploma is mimick of the way he was used to do when he was able to solve a problem, Or X(variable in algebra), and Algorithm was first used by al-kharazmi one of or mathematicians(Algorithm word is based on his name ), ZAKARIYA RAZI,"As a chemist, he was the first to produce sulfuric acid together with some other acids, and he also prepared alcohol by fermenting sweet products" Or we are using the most accurate calendar in the world based on reburn of the earth(Persian Calendar) So, when we see in your history books that science begun from greek and a gap and then you invented everything again we may become angry, but hatret? noway. Those advanced I mentioned was not based on nothing, we have a very powerfull culture, Persian Culture, that becasue of our current weak-country state it is weakened in many ways, but it is still alive, and it is based on " Good Thoughts Good Words Good Deeds", and we are so much foreign lovers as a characteristics of our nation. You can see that UN title is a peom from sadi (a persian poet) that says: "All people are in the same body, when some part suffers others suffer too, if you don't suffer, you are not a human", we don't hate anyone. And about OSS, it is so weak in Iran yet, the government is not so concerned and people are so used to pirated softwares that is a little hard for OSS-devoted developers to convince them for using OSS softwares, but like everywhere there are some devoted developers here too, We will work and try hard for spreading and helping FLOSS idea here in Iran, because we believe that if anyone in anywhere hurts, we will fill bad too, and the propriety softwares have many aches too be ignored ;), regards,
          • Good government (Score:3, Interesting)

            by amightywind (691887)
            The Arab world is really hating the Western world

            It would be more precise to say that the Muslim world hates the secular/Judeo-Christian democracies. The Muslim world reached its zenith in the 13th century and has been in a long decline since. Islamic law has proven to be just as weak a basis for good government in modern times as Christianity was in the middle ages. Most of the muslim world has not fully come to grips with this.

        • You opened with: "Perhaps we are placing just a little TOO much faith in the POWER of OSS." [emphasis from source], and continued to talk about how the content is more important than the medium, and that we shouldn't get lost down the OSS sink hole and miss the point.

          One good response [slashdot.org] was "But most of us here are far more knowledgeable about OSS than iranian politics ... so we should concentrate on what we know and leave the political power struggle to the experts."

          I agree with your point in so much
    • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:29AM (#8360217) Homepage
      This has nothing to do with anything, but it just occured to me that internet cafes are an absolutely natural target for Knoppix. Everything you need goes on the CD, the instant someone signs off everything they've done to the filesystem's cleared, you don't even need a hard drive...

      Someone could probably do pretty well for themselves if they made a customized version of Knoppix with software tailored to what an internet cafe needs, the interface made windows-user-friendly and with some big "WEB" "EMAIL" buttons on the desktop, Evolution set up with a quick "connect to your specific email" wizard, and some sort of hooks to some sort of central use tracking/billing system. They could print up a bunch of cds of this and sell it as a no-setup-required "internet cafe in a box" system...

      I dunno, it's an idea.
      • Interesting idea, but there's actually already a Windows equivalent of exactly that. I'm not sure how widespread it is (though I do know my University uses it on all non-faculty machines), but it's called Deep Freeze. [deepfreezeusa.com] Basically, the admin sets up a machine to a 'stock' state and then activates Deep Freeze which completely sets it clean after every reboot.

        Anyone have any idea how this actually works? They claim that it "does not use an image" and I've heard talk that it somehow sits between the BIOS and OS,
        • My school uses this. My current theory is that it saves a copy of the FAT (or for NTFS whatever it uses) in memory, and uses copy-on-write to an unused block whenever you alter the filesystem. I don't actually have any comfirmation for this though.
    • by qtp (461286) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:46AM (#8360295) Journal
      With no laws against pirating retail software, what would the advantage be to OSS?

      Establishing a respect for copyright. Avoiding (further) censure by western nations. Having a wider variety of software available to use on a wider variety of hardware, including older machines that might not be great desktops, but do make great routers. Having complete documentation available for your software. The opportunity to establish a CS education program due to the greater number of programming languages and tools in Open Source that are internet available. Having a full compliment of encryption and security software available so one can ensure privacy of communication and access to "banned" materials via tunneling, and other measures that are included in most Open Source distributions. Basic security and reliability concerns.

      I know it wouldn't cost them any more, or less, so why change?

      I can afford propietary software and operating systems, even though I live in the US. There are far more advantages to using Open Source than simply the cost factor.

      • It is not just about software in Iran. Books have the same situation. Unlicensed copies of the books can be bought in the bookstores with amazingly low prices. Basically, you just pay the price of the paper and the ink! The reason is that in Iran the copyright rules are very weak and in practice there is no copyright, patent, ... etc barrier to hold anyone to copy anything! No matter it is Microsoft Windows, a Cell Counter lab equipment, a F-14 simulator or a telephone switch box, all are being copied over
    • When those pirated versions contain spyware/viruses they'll see how much open source is better.. Pirated software isn't reliable vs open source software which can be signed & verified.
  • Why would... (Score:2, Informative)

    by nametaken (610866)
    Why would there be an embargo on modern operating systems? I wouldn't guess that missiles use windows xp. And if they did, it's not like they wouldn't be blowing up in mid air. Seriously, someone I knew used to say that in Ukraine he couldn't find a legal copy of any MS software... only burned copies.
    • Re:Why would... (Score:4, Informative)

      by vinit79 (740464) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:21AM (#8360179)
      Thats becos most OSes (read Windows) contain code for encryption support which could have (many) military applications.
      • give me a break (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by segment (695309)

        As if someone in any country couldn't throw on a proxy server and download crypto source. Oh wait they might have forms to fill out on a site. I started writing a document about this but got bored with it, so here is a briefer on crypto and government errata...

        It's become so fundamental to the operations of these groups that bin Laden and other Muslim extremists are teaching it at their camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, they add.

        How can the then director of the FBI get away with making statements like th

        • Re:give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

          by saforrest (184929) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:19AM (#8360435) Homepage Journal
          They're supposed to be unbreakable, yet those in office are convinced that terrorists are using encryption. So the government has broken it, or are lying.

          Well, they could know these groups are using encryption without actually having broken any particular message. For instance, they might have seized a computer and found a PGP installation on it.

          My guess, though, is that the government angle is all spin. This makes it into the headlines for two reasons.

          First, the government and government contractors are genuinely worried about encryption, because its use really does reduce their ability to eavesdrop. The issue of U.S. encryption policy was a major political issue throughout the 1990s, which reached ridiculous extremes with T-shirts with the RSA algorithm on them which were legally classified as munitions. Legislation is so unenforceable now that it would be hard to make it stronger, but the "threat" of terrorist use provides enough political weight to check any forward movement.

          Secondly, the notion that terrorists are fully versed in all our Western skills, and thus may be able to exploit them to advantage against us, scares people and therefore resonates with them. Scaremonger broadcasters on local news stations live and breathe on this kind of stuff.

          Maybe terrorists are using steg and crypto; maybe they're not. In either case, it's politically desirable for the government to claim they are, and for the media to report it.

    • Sadly PS2 inspectors never found those Playstations either... It's all this bureaucratic nonsense that forces these silly embargoes. Next up, no more cooking oil for Cuba

      Iraq buys 4000 PlayStation 2s in world conquest bid
      By: Tony Smith
      Posted: 19/12/2000 at 16:24 GMT

      Forget Jim Carrey - Saddam Hussein is the real Grinch who stole Christmas - at least according to one Web site. It claims the Iraqi dictator is buying up the world's supply - such as it is - of PlayStation 2 consoles to build military sup

  • Call open source the software of choice among terrorists. If it takes hold and any terrorists there get caught with it on their machines look for microsoft and the government to start pointing fingers.
    • by darnok (650458) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:00AM (#8360361)
      > Call open source the software of choice among
      > terrorists. If it takes hold and any terrorists
      > there get caught with it on their machines look
      > for microsoft and the government to start pointing
      > fingers.

      You're not the first to say this, but it's one of the most idiotic arguments I've ever heard. I can't believe either Bush or Microsoft would push this line.

      Have any terrorists been caught with Windows on their PCs? Are the latest breed of "computer terrorists" (aka virus writers) running Windows on their PCs? If the answers are "Yes" and "Yes", don't you think you could construct a counter argument that Windows is actually the terrorists' choice?

      One of the first things the media would do with such an issue is to consult "respected FOSS spokesman (insert any of several names here)". Do you think Microsoft would risk that person pointing the finger of blame back at MS based on the above argument?

      Equating FOSS with terrorism is both absurd and unrealistic.
    • I am pretty certain that most terrorists, mobsters and other criminals that get caught with computers are probably running Windows on their computers. Nobody ever says "Windows - it's the OS of criminals!".
  • Wooo... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:17AM (#8360156)
    PCs used in Iran are assembled from smuggled parts and run pirated versions of all the latest software

    Glad to see I'm not the only one.
  • by foidulus (743482) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:19AM (#8360161)
    It's interesting to see yet another government try to circumvent web sites that don't agree with their particular world view. And even better when the web-sites re-appear under different names. Sounds exactly like the situation in China. I wonder if the Iranian geeks are learning from what happened to the Falun Gong et al. They are obviously realizing that the filters are almost worthless to people who really want to get at the material.
    However, I still think the filters are effective because they have a very powerful psychological effect. If the government says you shouldn't be viewing said material, and if caught(even though it's almost impossible to catch you, but how many people realize the true power of the government) there will be big trouble. Thus I think most banned sites just wind up preaching to the choir, very sad indeed.
    • "most of the PCs used in Iran ... run pirated versions of all the latest software (due to foreign embargo?)"

      No....I don't think Iranian software piracy is due to the foreign embargo, I think the parent thread is right, Iran is taking a note from China. Iran is basing its computer policies after China, phase 1, internet filter. Phase 2, software piracy! That's the model China's using, and hey, who can argue with something that works? (And to all you sensitive people, relax, I'm not trolling, it's a well k
    • Well in Iran nobody, even in the government, knows exactly which site and why it is filtered. Acutally, sometimes ISPs start to filter sites outside of what goverment asks for. On the other hand, there is also no rule about it and parlement in a period actively opposed filtering (though again passed no laws) so nobody can be persecuted just because of accessing the "banned" sites.
    • >which is easily circumvented by Iran's webmasters and geeks

      It looks like a plot by reformers to circumvent the whole "Guards' of the Islamic Revolution" Draconian restrictions.
  • For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:19AM (#8360164) Journal
    For how long? The 'rulers' overthere just banned several THOUSAND canidates from the elections because they where too 'progressive'.

    Once the hardliners regain control there is a good chance this trend will reverse itself.
    • Re:For how long? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BigFire (13822)
      What makes you think the hardliners in Iran ever lost control? The mulla class allow the so-call reformers a voice in the Parliment, but more or less as an amusement and PR stunt. Pretty much ALL of the major issues that the reformers want to change got vetoed by the Supreme Islamic Council, which remains firmly in the hardliner's hand.

      All they've done is to end the charade of the democratic process.
      • What makes you think the hardliners in Iran ever lost control?

        Well, the fact that they felt the need to ban so many candidates is an indication that they thought they had lost some control and needed to grab it back.

        It's not really `democratic progress' which was worrying them. Iran wasn't getting more democratic, it always had the democratic component to the constitution. What changed was that the voters (bastards that they are) started voting the `wrong' way.

        If the west, and especially the USA, hadn

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So yea, its a great opportunity for them!
  • Love in Iran!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by barenaked (711701) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:20AM (#8360170)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,6532 82,00.html (More Detailed News Article)

    " Meeting girls is easy this way," said Amir, as he continued typing, "You can be relaxed no worries."

    Apparrently Iranians need the love too! Just like Internet access first got booming over here, it seems porn and interent romance will probably be a big thing over there too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:20AM (#8360172)
    Just compare this undeniable explosion of freedom to communicate in the "Axis of Evil" to the ever-increasingly repressing law arsenal in Europe: for instance, no sooner than last week, in France, the "LEN" (Law on Digital Economy) makes the provider responsible for the legality of the contents of whatever its customer are communicating over the internet, including web, mail, and so on, and must give information, mails and web logs to the police without the need of a subpoena.
    Time to move to free countries...
  • by Dukeofshadows (607689) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:20AM (#8360173) Journal
    I know a few programmers with ties to Iran. Some of their computer scientists do things with Assembly that few of their peers in the West can match. Given that most of their population is 25 or younger, and that they are having to become so efficient with so few resources, I think that when Iran opens up to the outside world we could see the next India opening up inside of five years.
    • System level programming in Iran can bring back lots of profit. You can download latest file system SDK for windows (very expensive!) for free, get the latest version of the NuMega's DriverStudio again for free and write a device driver and then sell it! Profit without any restrictions to pay for the development software and licensing. Then again, not all Iranian programmers know assembly or even C. The most popular programming languages in Iran are Delphi, VB and FoxPro! Well, yes, C and C++ are also have
  • pirated software (Score:4, Informative)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:28AM (#8360212)
    An interesting point is that most of the PCs used in Iran are assembled from smuggled parts and run pirated versions of all the latest software (due to foreign embargo?).

    the pirated software is not Iran-specific, this occurs in many parts of the world, most notably India, China, and other Asian countries, in some parts of china you can go to your local computer store and pick up a copied version various software
    • by cujo_1111 (627504)
      Does it even matter if they do use pirated software?

      They are not taking money away from the software publishers as most of the software is not allowed to be sold in Iran due to US export restrictions.

      BTW It is much easier to download pirate software through P2P apps these days, than it is to find pirate software shops in asia. However, DVD copy shops are in plentiful supply and are very easy to come by :)
  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:30AM (#8360223) Homepage Journal
    In a big crackdown at the end of last year, hundreds of internet cafes were shut down and new rules introduced for new proprietors, requiring them to restrict customer's access to a long list of "immoral and anti-Islamic sites".

    It's interesting how every country is trying to control the Internet and the flow of Information. Just isn't working, is it. (grin)

    -
    It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that the Internet has evolved into a force strong enough to reflect the greatest hopes and fears of those who use it. After all, it was designed to withstand nuclear war, not just the puny huffs and puffs of politicians and religious fanatics. - Denise Caruso, (digital commerce columnist, New York Times)
  • by vinit79 (740464) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:31AM (#8360224)
    If every one in Iran started using linux, SCO could stage a come back by suing all Iranians in the Islamic court in Iran
  • by dtio (134278) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:31AM (#8360225)
    If you google for "internet iran" you'll get pretty much the opposite impresion [google.com].
  • by shoolz (752000) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:34AM (#8360237) Homepage
    When you hear the word smuggled, you think that the item smuggled is illegal itself. This is not the case with computer hardware in Iran. If hardware is smuggled into Iran, it is because it is difficult to find, but not because its illegal. A year ago, I sent my Iranian fiance's mom and dad back to Iran with a suitcase that contained a complete desktop computer with Win98 minus the monitor. Upon arrival in Iran, their luggage (just like all luggage, mail and packages entering Iran) was opened and searched, and they were allowed to proceed.
    • by qtp (461286) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:09AM (#8360399) Journal
      The point is not that it is illegal to receive the software in Iran, but that it may be illegal to take part in trade with Iran if you are a company or citizen of the US or one of its allies.

      On the other hand, if the current administration would recognise the effect these policies have been having (increased support for the Anti-US religeous right in Iranian politics), then perhaps they'll reconsider so as to allow the liberal reformers there to regain the ground they have lost in recent years.

      I do understand that our administration would probably like to have a revolution occur there due to the hardships, but revolutions in that part of the world seldom result in anything other than religeous dictatorships.

      • by danharan (714822)

        our administration would probably like to have a revolution occur there due to the hardships

        Buddy, have you only been reading history written by your good Uncle Sam?

        Go back to 1953, when British and US intelligence agencies removed Mossadegh from power [wikipedia.org], only to give power to the capitalist-friendly Shah. Mossadegh had nationalized the oil industry after failing to negotiate higher royalties, and so had to go. Oh, and he was a nasty commie.

        The Shah used torture, repressed and killed scores of communists a

  • by Deraj DeZine (726641) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:35AM (#8360243)
    Even Iran's vice-president has a daily blog on a popular site with 'musings about politics and life.'

    Here's a little bit I copied from his site:

    22-02-2004: meetings is teh sux0rs

    HEY, sup all??? jus got back from a informasional meating on how were totally kicking the liberals's @$$ in teh polls this year [sbs.com.au]!!!!1 those losers are such morons! to bad the voter turnout was bad! Dude u guys need 2 go out and vote so i can be your leader next year wouldnt that be gr8???
    All so, there was this totally hot reporter there who kept talking 2 me asking questions and $h!t. She was totaly n 2 me and i was gonna get her # but those loser body guards said i had to go to another meeting. gawd, what pr!cks!!!
    anyway, i gotta go sighn sum papers, ttyl.

    (Glad he's not one of the leaders of my country)

  • linuxiran.org (Score:5, Informative)

    by vinit79 (740464) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:35AM (#8360245)
    They even have a site for linux in Iran. linuxiran.org [linuxiran.org] says that " We, at linuxiran.org! are happy that with your help Iran's first site dedicated to GNU/Linux and FLOSS, is the most active GNU/Linux site in Iran today. To find out more about linuxiran.org! and our group or GNU/Linux and FLOSS in general, please read the FAQ.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:42AM (#8360281)

      I prefer this bit from the site:

      We, at linuxiran.org! are happy that with your help Iran's first site dedicated to GNU/Linux and FLOSS, praise be to Allah for seeing fit to allow the creation of the holy Linux kernel. We wish you to grant strength to Muhammed Abduli-Stahlman in his continuing sacred Jihad against immoral proprietary software.
  • by bircho (559727) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:39AM (#8360269)

    Pirated Software isn't a problem only in Iran. So don't blame it on embargo. The problem is economic. To buy MS Windows and Office is some time more expensive than buy a computer in the country where i live (and computers are already expensive without it.). People buy software for bussiness, but don't remember a friend of mine buying MS off-the-shelf software for personal use.

    It's easier to sell a computer with a pirated Windows because it's cheaper and some people don't know linux yet, and prefer to buy a computer like their neighbor one.

  • by Naked Chef (626614) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:46AM (#8360297)
    It will be interesting to see if this continues. The reformist government is getting clobbered, and the hard-line clerics are prepping to take over in the next presidential election. Sad to see, but Iran may be getting ready to take a step backward. What will be interesting is to see what affect the internet does in fact have on this threat to their recent "freedoms".
    • Sad to see, but Iran may be getting ready to take a step backward.

      I disagree. From where I'm sitting, politics in Iran today look similar to the Soviet Union just before it collapsed. The people got a little taste of freedom, now they want MORE. The recent crackdowns by the conservatives are acts of desperation. They are rapidly losing control of the situation. If I was a betting man, I'd give them another year or two, maximum.
  • by yurik (160101) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:54AM (#8360333)


    It sounds like a great opportunity for open source software.

    Speaking from personal experience from the good ol' Russia, I would disagree that open source software will proliferate. Strike it as flamebate, but given the choice of ANY software available for FREE (beer), the software that has the highest number of the most "common" applications will become ubiquitous. This means - everyone will have windows, photoshop, office plus whatever else that has high value, without any regards to price/advertising. Average Joe might not want to invest his time into less polished Linux for desktop, thus M$ is what everyone will have. Apparently, to the average consumer, the value of OSS is not stability or openness, but the word FREE.

    <begin flame here>
  • A fun idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Papa Legba (192550) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:58AM (#8360349)
    Let's call the BSA and the RIAA on them. Let's see how well these two orginizations do with their sudo draconian tactics in a draconian state. Should be pretty fun to watch I figure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:10AM (#8360407)
    Another popular site is an online dating agency set up by a young ayatollah.

    Unforunately all the ads read like this:

    swf. black head scarf. inexperienced at dating. enjoys long walks in the desert. i do not sing. please no public stoning.

    • swf. black head scarf. inexperienced at dating. enjoys long walks in the desert. i do not sing. please no public stoning.
      You see some pretty funny stuff in the Russian dating service sites. "Single White-Russian Female, Christian, hobbies include sewing and quiet submission to husband. No Chechens." I think there's some ... exaggeration going on.
  • Yeah, given OSS's robust and pervasive support for right-to-left, Arabic script languages, it'll be a cinch to get a foothold in Iran.
  • misleading title (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:50AM (#8360522)
    Iran has a per capita GDP of USD 1800 (not adjusted for "PPP", which in itself is not exactly an uncontentious measure), yet the BBC's correspondent claims that access costs of 60 cents per hour are "well within the reach of the average person".

    While access in (the comparatively affluent) Tehran province may indeed be growing rapidly, this is not where the bulk of Iranians live and therefore puts paid to any notions of rapid democratization of knowledge via the Internet - it seems more like a pastime for the urban elite ('twas ever thus).

    Also note that all his "postcards from Iran" are in fact about Tehran. I think the BBC is in need of a major quality check. They're getting as bad as CNN.
  • How long... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @04:21AM (#8360604)
    How long will it take for the USA and Microsoft to announce that OSS supports terrorism, fundamentalist islam, and dictatorships?

    Think about it.
  • blogging in Iran (Score:5, Informative)

    by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @04:44AM (#8360657) Homepage Journal
    I read an interesting article in cnn.com the other day about bloggers in Iran [cnn.com] and their fear of an eventual clampdown. These blogs not only allow Iranians to voice their opinions about difficult issues, but they give an interesting view of Iranian society and people to the world. Links to some blogs can be found via the article.
  • YIKES (Score:3, Funny)

    by boomgopher (627124) on Monday February 23, 2004 @04:46AM (#8360664) Journal
    For a second, I thought the story blurb read:

    "The BBC's Abdul Alhazred reports..."



    Come'on, you know it's funny. For the uninitiated among us: Abdul Alhazred [wikipedia.org]
  • Clearly, the geeks will have an edge, but could we give them a really great advantage? Could we, for example, build them a real independent Internet that the hardlines wouldn't control? The problem is that hardliners control the major nodes in the network, that's how they can enforce censorship. If they couldn't control the nodes, what then?

    Allthough the article talks about cafes, I know for sure that there are also a whole lot of home PCs in Iran, most progressive middle-class people have them.

    I was

  • by Pedrito (94783) on Monday February 23, 2004 @08:52AM (#8361275) Homepage
    ...An interesting point is that most of the PCs used in Iran are assembled from smuggled parts and run pirated versions of all the latest software (due to foreign embargo?).

    Even with no embargo, software piracy is rampant in the third world. I live in Mexico and it's rare to see anyone with a legal version of software. Though, that is changing.

    The equivalent of the IRS down here is Hacienda and my understanding is Microsoft has given them a lot of training and now Hacienda has started checking businesses for pirated software (financial audits are frequent down here). Apparently MS gives Hacienda a chunk of change when they score one for MS.

    So things are changing here a bit, but the truth is, a lot of business are simply looking for new ways around it. One business I know of is talking of setting up an Windows Terminal Services machine which will reside off of the property, and everyone will connect to it to get to all the pirated software (and of course, the WTS is unlicensed).

    So, really, I doubt an embargo has anything to do with the piracy. Frankly, most third world businesses simply can't afford the price of software.
  • How it works in Iran (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @08:57AM (#8361296)
    Heya people. I normally read /. and do not reply much useful stuff, but I hope this may help you guys get a bit more understanding at how quirky computer users are in Iran!

    Firstly, the overall population seems to be very easily adaptable to computers. I was first introduced to the PC when I went back there as a teenager.

    Over there, we would purchase software by the megabyte at the time. This would all be for cracked software of course. Now it's usually by the "app" and different applications have different values accordingly. You just go to your local computer shop and look through their list of available software. Service is very professional there!

    At first there was no control of any form, then the strangest thing happened. Companies started making their own dongles for cracked software.

    Imagine getting your latest H2O music program and realising that you need the H20 Warez Enabler ;-)

    Then it got even stranger when people started getting cracks for the dongle of the cracked version (I am not a good writer I hope this makes sense still!).

    I havent been there for a few years now, so I would love to know if the crack/dongle nesting is still going on!

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

Working...