A guest post by Ms. Darlene Parker from Opentechexchange. Ms Parker is actively involved in the spread of Linux over here on the African continent. She is an expert in FOSS deployment.
In a Sunday conversation with Luqman, we discussed what we thought were the best avenues for the adoption of Open Source on a larger scale. We agreed that students and small business could be key influencers in the future widespread use of FOSS.
Luqman had some great insights as to why Internet cafes would be ideal for exposing users to Ubuntu (or Linux). If 10 or 20 machines were installed with Ubuntu, and 100 people a day used the systems, what better way to have a hands on experience. Besides, the cafe owners should be over the moon about not having to re-format daily because of virus infections.
By exposing students to alternative computing solutions, this introduces them to OSS, one of the most influential development communities in ICT. Graduates will be telling future employers about the benefits of Open Source and programming 'made at home' solutions for unique business challenges.
To keep a narrow focus which states that employability is greater if students have MS office skills & the like, is hogwash. Given the potential savings for business in software licencing (pirating aside), this allows for the budget to create more positions. As well, so many large companies are utilizing open source in the background that there is plenty of opportunity if sought out.
On a final note, the fact that Open Source allows for adoption of local languages and content, this makes it all the more applicable and attractive to education. What better way to ensure the survival of local dialects and customs. We are a global village and all people have such unique contributions. I look forward to seeing many of them.