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[ox-en] Fwd: Perspectives from the African FOSS Movement



I think the link to the essay mentioned below is

						Mit Freien Grüßen


- ------- Forwarded Message

Date:  Thu, 06 May 2004 19:28:13 [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED]
From:  "Volker Grassmuck" <vgrass>
Subject:  [wos] Perspectives from the African FOSS Movement
To:  wos
Message-Id:  <409A91CD.13734.1DA7B33 localhost>

This just came over the Idlelo list. Guido Sohne, free software 
developer from Accra, Ghana, and one of the speakers at wos3 is 
featured in Philipp's study. Marek from TacticalTech, co-author of 
the study, will be speaking on their work as well.


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Dear List:

We are happy to announce that we have finished editing the Africa 
Source article and are releasing it today. Thank you for the feedback 
that we received from members of this list. Your comments helped us 
understand and hopefully avoid potential misunderstandings with regard 
to the nature and objective of the essay. We are adding a quote from 
the cover page:

This essay is drawn from the proceedings of AfricaSource, a workshop 
held in Okahandja, Namibia during 15-19 March 2004. The workshop was 
organised by the Tactical Technology Collective, AllAfrica Foundation, 
and SchoolNet Namibia. Material presented here was collected from more 
than a dozen face-to-face interviews with conference participants.

The objective of this essay is to summarise the views of the 
AfricaSource participants on the obstacles facing the FOSS community in 
Africa. A dialogue on the topic may help to catalyse changes that will 
reduce or eliminate barriers to free and open source software 
development in Africa.

Best regards,

Philipp ( and Marek (the Tactical Technology Collective)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  MEDIA ALERT, Cape Town, South Africa  6 May 2004
Straight from the Source:
Perspectives from the African Free and Open Source Software Movement
Article written by in collaboration with the Tactical 
Technology Collective

African software developers face many obstacles as they struggle to 
grow professionally in their chosen field.  But these "coders", as a 
group, form a community marked less by their frustration and isolation 
than by their perseverance and resolve. This theme dominated 
AfricaSource, a workshop held in Namibia in March, 2004. The meeting of 
40 developers from 25 countries in the small town of Okahandja was the 
first chance many of the coders have had to collaborate and compare 
notes., in cooperation with Tactical Technologies, has 
written an article airing the views shared by the workshop participants 
and looking at ways in which the field of software development could 
grow in Africa. The article is based on interviews and contains quotes 
from many of the delegates.

Governments, often the biggest employer and spender in the economy, 
systematically shut locals out because they typically are not aware 
that a local talent pool exists, says Ugandan Wire Lunghabo James. 
Similarly, he says, corporations fail to look for locally produced 
solutions because they lack knowledge or even interest in 
domestically-produced solutions.

To read a summary or to read the full article please go to:

The article focuses on the following points:
· The lack of access to the means and tools of production is the issue 
African programmers most commonly identify as the greatest barrier to 
success in their work.

· The prohibitive cost of bandwidth and hardware is an obstacle most 
programmers face, but it has the greatest effect as they are preparing 
to enter the job market. Without the opportunity to earn salaries so 
they can afford equipment of their own, market entrants eager for work 
face the prospect of successive unpaid internships -- and must accept 
all the unwelcome conditions that come with this kind of "student 

· Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) typically lack the kind of 
expertise in technology that might help them increase their impact in 
their chosen sector, and need help from outside the organisation. Many 
hope that software developers, especially those who work with free and 
open source software (FOSS), will be the ones to produce the 
applications and localise the solutions appropriate to NGOs.

ENDS ###

Contact Details:
Name:   Philipp Schmidt, Programme Manager
Tel:    [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] (0) 21 465 9313
Email:  media

About is an international non-profit organisation based in South 
Africa with a mission to promote the effective use of ICT in developing 
countries to improve people's lives. One area of focus is informing 
policy decisions that affect people's access to and use of ICT. also provides social consulting services to ground level 
projects using ICT, helping with project planning and evaluation, 
studying the effects of policy decisions, and relaying lessons learned. 
  It brings an entrepreneurial attitude to its social mission, and is 
committed to working with, instead of against, government agencies and 
the business community.  For more information please go to offices:
South Africa: P O Box 715, Cape Town 8000 South Africa
United States: P O Box 53099, Washington, DC 2[PHONE NUMBER REMOVED]

About Tactical Tech
Tactical Tech is an Amsterdam-based NGO working to strengthen social 
technology movements and networks in developing and transition 
countries. Its ultimate aim is to promote civil society's effective, 
conscious and creative use of new technologies. It does this through 
bringing together activists and NGOs with local technology experts and 
social software developers, demystifying technology for NGOs especially 
those linked to low-cost and do-it-yourself technology, and promoting 
the use of information as a strategic tool for monitoring, campaigning 
and organising.
For more information please go to:
For specific information on the Africa Source conference please go to:

Contact details:
Email: ttc

Tactical Techs Office:
Tel: + 31 20 6201478
Nieuwe Leliestraat 29, Amsterdam, 1015 SJ, the Netherlands

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   Wizards of OS 3, 10-12 June 2004
   copy = right

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   Wizards of OS 3, 10-12 June 2004
   copy = right

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