List of Workshops Reports 2009
<< Start Prev 7/84 Next End >>

Workshop Report 2009


Workshop Number: 90

Workshop Title: Mitigating the Financial Crisis with Open Source Applications

Report by: Lillian Sharpley

Workshop description and list of panelists:
The workshop aimed to create awareness on open source application/technology and how this can be used to reduce the financial burden on an organisation’s IT infrastructure, especially with the challenges that have been brought about by the global financial crisis. Emphasis was placed on Africa and developing nations.


1. Mr. Christian ROLAND, is the General Secretary of CHALA (Club des hommes et femmes d'affaires du libre en Afrique) a network of professions involved in FLOSS advocacy and development in Africa, VP of FOSSFA, and COO of ASSIST, an IT company based in Côte d'ivoire (West Africa), providing solutions based on FOSS.

2. Mr. Samer Azmy, of FOSSFA Council Member, has an area of expertise in Open Source Integration, Unix/Linux System Administration, Open Source Migration, Networks Security, and Virtualization.

3. Mr. Michuki Mwangi, of Internet Society (ISOC) joined ISOC in April 2008 as Senior Education Manager working with the Education team to promote Internet growth and sustainability in the developing world.

4. Dr. Viv Padayatchy (also Moderator) is the General Manager of Cybernaptics Ltd, a company specialized in the provision of ICT services in the field of networking, software development and consulting. He holds a PhD in Computational Chemistry. He is also the Chairman of Board at AfriNIC.

5. Mr. Ben Akoh, is the Information and Communication Technology and Media Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

The actors involved in the field; various initiatives that people can connect with, and contacts for further information:
Some of the actors involved in the field are FOSSFA (Free and Open Source Software for Africa) which promotes usage of Free and Open Source in Africa as much as coordinating Africa's free software efforts and plays an interface role between international and continental FOSS efforts.

Various initiatives that people can connect with and contacts or further information.

* Some countries integrates FOSS in their strategic national policy, such as, Vietnam, Tunisia, South Africa, Brazil.

* Other governments create global technical programs based on FOSS:
* GovWiFi,Digital 21 strategy Hong Kong: Free Wifi in the whole city

* Seneclicâ Senegal: reducing the numerical gap and social exclusion by supplying schools with FOSS based computers

* LinuxEducacional 2.0 Brazil: Linux servers and computers provided to 54,000 laboratories

* Dealing with projects, Resources Internet Francophone A global infrastructure in 5 countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cote d'voire, Madagascar and Mali) where mirrors have been installed. The aim is to provide open source software to local people and allow them to use the national Internet connection instead of the international connections.

http://oif-rif.gforge.ryxeo.com/

A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were identified:
There was a panel of five speakers who:

- Defined open source software, its background and how it is managed;
- Explained the difference between open source software and proprietary software;
- Provided alternate solution to proprietary software using open source and suggested specific solutions for common business processes.
- Showed a cost-benefit analysis of open source software and proprietary software; and,
- Provided case studies of open source software deployments in government sectors.


At the end of the presentations, the audience was allowed a period to ask questions and share ideas and recommendations. Below are the key issues that were raised speakers and participants during the panel discussion:


1. Governments should be encouraged to maintain technology neutral policies to allow both proprietary and open source to allow fair competition.

2. Marketing strategies should become more of a priority for open source developers and distributors, putting more emphasis on the end-user and less on the technical aspects.

3. Open source is mature enough to offer alternate solution.

4. There should be in increased understanding that Open Source is not necessarily free as there is a cost associated with implementation and maintenance.

5. More funding should be made available to open source application developers, as this is a very important aspect to encourage them to continue with their open source projects, just as was seen with the Python Project, which was made possible because of funding and is now a success.

6. Regarding the business aspects of implementing open source, there are no vendors and support and business training is required. Again, emphasis should be placed on the end-user who is not always technical. It was noted that vendors exist on the proprietary side and marketing is being done to the end-user in a less intimidating manner.

7. It is a myth that open source is unstable, citing the decision of the French Police Department to switch to Ubuntu, operating system.

8. The cost of license management is not only financial but has a legal obligation.

Conclusions and further comments:
It was agreed that FOSS should continue to be a topic of discussion at IGF to continue to increase awareness about a cost effective solution for business operations; to increase the understanding of FOSS; and, to increase the support of FOSS software developers.

Other conclusions were:

1. FOSS faces challenges in Africa that needs to be addressed in more organized way

2. FOSS needs more support in Africa

3. FOSS awareness in Africa is one of the main challenges

4. Governments should be encouraged to maintain technology neutral policies to allow both proprietary and open source to allow fair competition.

5. Marketing strategies should become more of a priority for open source developers and distributors, putting more emphasis on the end-user and less on the technical aspects.

6. Open source is mature enough to offer alternate solution.

7. There should be in increased understanding that Open Source is not necessarily free as there is a cost associated with implementation and maintenance.

8. More funding should be made available to open source application developers, as this is a very important aspect to encourage them to continue with their open source projects, just as was seen with the Python Project, which was made possible because of funding and is now a success.

9. Regarding the business aspects of implementing open source, there are no vendors and support and business training is required. Again, emphasis should be placed on the end-user who is not always technical. It was noted that vendors exist on the proprietary side and marketing is being done to the end-user in a less intimidating manner.

10. It is a myth that open source is unstable, citing the decision of the French Police Department to switch to Ubuntu, operating system.

11. The cost of license management is not only financial but has a legal obligation.


...End of Report...

Top of Page