Milos Korenko

3 October 2011

Building? Not! Programming

In case you didn’t know, almost half (!) of all home computers in the world are protected by antivirus products coming from the Czech Republic. That’s because both AVAST antivirus and AVG have been and are still developed here. This does make me wonder why: Why here? The Czech Republic is a small country and even though its borders are surrounded by mountain ranges we are hardly a valley – at least to say – of silicon. As far as I can tell, there is no obvious reason for this. Speaking of technology, the only other thing we gave to world is the word “robot” (invented by Czech novel & play writer Karel Capek who used it in his play R.U.R. in 1921).

So why antivirus? I really don’t know but I do know why we are no longer famous for construction and buildings. It is all thanks to our system of building permits. But it wasn’t always like that.

For starters, we have the famous Charles Bridge in Prague, then the Villa Tugendhat from the 1930s which is also listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list, there is the whole Prague Castle as such, and also the Jested antenna and hotel tower. But, these are all past history and it seems that nothing significant, beautiful and breathtaking, is being built now. That’s because it is impossible. Just getting a building permit is – and you need a building permit for pretty much anything – complicated, bureaucratic and mindlessly long process.

At AVAST, we have firsthand experience. After moving into our new office building (12 floors high) situated among number of taller buildings (as high as 20 floors) we wanted to place an AVAST neon sign on the roof. Nothing big … just 2 meters tall. But around here, erecting a neon sign of this size qualifies pretty much as a full-fledged building construction. And therefore you must have a building permit. A full 3 months after filling in the paperwork, we got our sign approved. Hurray! During this 3-month period, it was peacefully laying on our rooftop, hidden out of sight from lowly mortals on the ground. Even here, building production is still faster than permit for it.

But, it wasn’t completely hidden. And if you look at the satellite picture at under these coordinates 50°2'42.618"N 14°26'57.553"E you will see it there. Still laying flat on the rooftop.

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