Posted by: commonsresource | June 1, 2010

Out of Africa – the promise of open source independence

Over the past couple of days, there have been a series of fascinating articles and posts on Africa and open source software. The first that I noticed was a BBC post entitled Open source marks a new era for African independence.  This Digital Planet article notes that “This year marks the 50th anniversary of 17 African states gaining independence. Now, a wave of homegrown programmers, developers and software makers claim to be heralding a new era of African independence.”

The second post was one by Dana Blankerhorn on the ZDNet Linux and Open Source blog entitled Can open source liberate Africa? In his post, Dana discusses the recent Idello conference in Ghana as well as the localization and development benefits of open source.   Dana concludes with the following astute observations:

the impact on people who have so little can be enormous. And what they have, with open source, they hold. It’s this kind of thing that brings me the most joy in covering open source.

The third post that I first saw a few minutes ago is by Amy Vernon on her Pragmatic Open Source blog on Network World’s Open Source Subnet. In her Open source could be Africa’s technological solution post,  Amy profiles FOSSFA and its role in fostering open source software solutions that don’t “presume what the needs of the community are” and concludes with the following summary:

Open source projects are far more accessible to technology- and income-poor Africa. And they allow exactly what so many both on the continent and off it want for the populace: the ability to decide for themselves what resources they need and build them. Hard to argue with that.

Many thanks to Amy, Dana, and the BBC for your fascinating coverage.  Let’s stay tuned to see what open source software and other commons sourcing solutions come Out of Africa!


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