In Timbuktu Chronicles: Open source and Developing markets. Emeka Okafur, points to a CNET article on Open Source in the developing world. It brought to mind this quote from Bruce Perens speech at the WSIS conference in Tunis.

I bring you greetings from the hundreds of thousands of Open Source Software developers around the world. We embody many of the goals of the United Nations: we are a community without borders, a global network that shares knowledge, a social movement that produces real products available equally to the rich or poor, an economic reality that has engaged the world's largest companies and talented individuals in a collaboration of equals. Our work facilitates global e-inclusion and a sustainable infrastructure for technology and innovation in developing nations. Millions of people use our software to create global markets for local business through the Internet.

We create wealth for all. Our work, by metrics for conventional software creation, is valued in the billions of dollars. For our reward we ask only that you use our software. If you find it effective, perhaps you will join us in augmenting it.

Others offer developing nations charity and a relationship as vassals, captive markets and providers of labor at a salary the developed world would not accept. Open Source offers developing nations technological empowerment, control of their own infrastructure, and an equal technological partnership with developed nations.

This brings up the question: Why the hell aren't more people talking about this? All the pieces are in place, and have been for some time now. Extremely low cost computers are there. Open Source IS easy to use, if you're not used to windows. This is not only a great opportunity for Africa and the rest of the Developing world to get into ICT on a level playing field with the Developed world, but it is also a HUGE opportunity for Linux and other Open Source projects to gain true "World Domination," not just the domination of the small percentage of the world's population that already uses computers

Jambo OpenOffice is a start, I guess.


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25 November 2005