FOSS

IDLELO7 Launch – Kampala, Uganda.

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THE FOSSFA CHAIR SPEECH AT THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF IDLELO7
23rd MARCH 2016.

The Right Honorable Prime Minister of Uganda,

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT of Uganda,

The Executive Director of National IT Authority of Uganda,

The Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission,

The Council, Free Software and Open Source Foundation of Africa,

Members of the African Open Source Community,

To all FOSS Developers, Users and Supporters,

My name is Seun Ojedeji (@seun_oj), FOSSFA Chair and it is on behalf of the FOSSFA community that I invite you all to IDLELO7 –

For more than 15 years, the Free Software and Open Source Foundation of Africa has held Africa’s premier open source summit, for Africans, on the African continent. We have been to Johannesburg (2006), Dakar (2008), Accra (2010), Abuja (2012), Nairobi (2014) and now we are excited to be coming to Kampala- for the 7th African Summit on Free Software and the Digital Commons which will hold in August 15th to 19th of 2016

The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) has its origin in the ICT Policy and Civil Society Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia held between 6th and 8th November 2002. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, convener, was acting on the mandate given to it by the Bamako Bureau established by the African Council of ICT ministers in the continent’s preparation towards the World Summit on the Information Society – WSIS. As a pan-African FOSS Foundation, the vision of FOSSFA is to promote the use of FOSS and the FOSS model in African development

FOSSFA exists to:
• Promote the use of the open source model in African development.
• Promote the integration and adoption of FOSS in national policies
• Coordinate Africa’s Free Software efforts
• Use its expertise to add value to FOSS initiatives in the continent
• Act as Africa’s FOSS voice
• Play an interface role between international and continental FOSS efforts
• Contribute FOSS applications towards the achievement of women empowerment, the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development in Africa.
• Promote African FOSS expertise, creativity and industry
• Partner with development organizations who share same goals with FOSSFA

FOSSFA is incorporated (72193 C2/GB) under the Section 24 of the Companies Act of 2001 as a non-profit Pan-African organization in the Republic of Mauritius. Its members are individuals, organizations and agencies that share similar goals across the world. FOSSFA is headed by an elected council, which chooses from within itself, members to act as its executives. Every 2 years, on the occasion of each Idlelo, the Foundation hosts a General Assembly of its members to renew the mandate of the council.

http://www.fossfa.net  is the official website.

What is the Open Source Model?

The term open source began as a way to describe open access to software source code and the collaborative model for how it is developed around the following principles: Openness, Transparency, Collaboration, Diversity, and Rapid prototyping.

The open source model is more than a software development model, it’s a culture. A culture that intentionally establishes an all inclusive approach to solving community problems using technology. The open source way is about applying the principles of open source software development beyond software and technology.

We can learn more from each other when information is open. A free exchange of ideas is critical to creating an environment where people are allowed to learn and use existing information toward creating new ideas. When we are free to collaborate, we create. We can solve problems that no one person may be able to solve on their own. Rapid prototypes can lead to rapid failures, but that leads to better solutions found faster. When you’re free to experiment, you can look at problems in new ways and look for answers in new places. You can then learn by doing.

In a meritocracy, the best ideas win. Everyone has access to the same information. Successful work determines which projects rise and gather effort from the community. Communities are formed around a common purpose. They bring together diverse ideas and share work. Together, a global community can create beyond the capabilities of any one individual. It multiplies effort and shares the work. Together, we can do more.

Free and Open Source Software also known as FOSS solutions enable us to work with legal and secure software that can be integrated with both older, legacy and new systems. Specifically, FOSS solutions provide access to software that can be localized, both in terms of language and specific contexts. They can also be adapted to specific organizational or project needs. Whilst uptake may yet have some challenges in the short term, IDLELO7 shall strive to plead the case for FOSS as a more sustainable and economically viable option for Africa.

IDLELO7 shall provide us with the privilege to participate and interact with a lineup of experienced presenters working on FOSS projects, platforms and rapidly evolving social network tools and applications.

Why is FOSSFA coming to Kampala for the 2016 Summit?

FOSSFA continues to enjoy a significant community of active FOSS advocates who live and work here in Uganda. The FOSSFA Council and executive has enjoyed the expertise and energy of committed Ugandans since inception.

It is the effort of these Ugandans, together with the National IT Authority that was recognized in an excellent bid to host the 7th African summit, beating strong competition from Durban South Africa, and Calabar International Conference Centre in Nigeria.

We also recognize that NITA-U has taken steps in drafting the National FOSS Policy and as FOSSFA, we are excited to bring our continent-wide experience to partner with the government of Uganda on charting the course towards a sustainable Free Software and the Open Source model.

Uganda is also uniquely placed as a leader in the region, stabilizing and pacifying neighbors. Uganda remains integral to the Great Lakes region of Africa. Two years ago, COMESA issued FOSS adoption guidelines, and now Kampala has an opportunity to lead the conversations on the review of adoption of these by COMESA member states.

FOSSFA community and participants at IDLELO will discuss various topics that would help promote technology innovations using FOSS tools and resources. There will be capacity building sessions which would seek to empower participants at the event on the use of FOSS. Join us at the pre-conference event and learn about new developments in software and hardware, various web technologies like Javascript, PHP, Ruby, HTML, GIT, Android, and much more.

About IDLELO7

The primary goal of IDLELO7 is to increase the awareness, integration and adoption of free and open source software (FOSS) in Africa within the IDLELO7 theme emphasising how such Free and Open Source solutions are being (can be) used to achieve Open Data and Open Government frameworks.

In Kampala, we expect to learn what the Government of Uganda roadmap to Openness highlights, and also what COMESA and other development partners have planned. We invite NITA-U, UCC and other entities towards FOSSFA Membership, as a sign of commitment to the Open Source Model.

We look forward to welcoming all of Africa to Kampala, this August, exactly 153 days from today. We look forward to gaining more FOSSFA Memberships from the summit in Kampala, both individual and organizational.

SIGNED

Seun Ojedeji
FOSSFA Council Chair

Uganda’s Policy and Strategy on FOSS and Open Standards

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The National IT Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) has released, for public review,  The National Free and Open Source Software, and Open Standards Draft Policy. Download PDF Here: Open Source Policy V0.3 2014-09-21

NITA-U has also released the accompanying strategy:  Open Source Strategy V0.3 2014-09-21.

It appears that both documents have received input from James Wire (@wirejames; ), a Kampala based FOSS Advocate. As of this writing, NITA-U seeks input from members of the ICT Association of Uganda, a body that brings together professionals in the sector.

The policy makes some exciting declarations:

Where there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products, open source will be selected on the basis of its additional inherent flexibility.

The Government will expect those putting forward IT solutions to develop a suitable mix of open source and proprietary products to ensure that the best possible Value mix is obtained. Vendors will be required to provide evidence of this during a procurement exercise. Where no evidence exists in a bid that full consideration has been given to open source products, the bid will be
considered non-compliant and is likely to be removed from the procurement process.

The Government will, wherever possible, avoid becoming locked in to proprietary software. In particular it will take exit, rebid and rebuild costs into account in procurement decisions and will require those proposing proprietary software to specify how exit would be achieved.

…and some even more interesting commitments:

All IT investments shall comply with Open Standard unless specific project requirements preclude use of an Open Standard or if the Open Standards are not appropriate. The Government will support the development of open standards and specifications.

The Existing IT systems shall be reviewed for Open Standards compatibility where appropriate.

There are also some places where a firmer voice could work better, in the interest of developing FOSS:

Because participation in the ongoing development and improvement of FOSS is the underlying basis for the promotion of FOSS solutions, MDAs/LGS should consider the extent to which they may wish to actively participate in the development of FOSS solutions that fall short of the project requirements for which the solution is used

And some places where the spirit of licensing derived works is broken:

No Discrimination against Fields of Endeavor: The licence must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

 

Are you concerned about Free and Open Source Software? Does your government have a different policy? I would like to know. Well then, take a read and let me know what you think.

FOSSFA Weekend

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So on 12th October, i headed into Accra, for an epic FOSSFA Weekend.

Serving on the FOSSFA Council for a second term, this was once of the most critical meetings that FOSSFA held for its council, for out of this, a new FOSSFA executive was to be elected. The Council itself has been elected via a pioneering online vote, cast by all members. The current executive, has more than satisfactorily served enough terms. They served, selflessly, always, sacrificially, and they did it well.

A new executive has been elected out of this weekend, and its not just new wine, the wine-skins are new as well. A complete change of guard, one thing remains clear, FOSSFA can only go from one level to the next. The new executive has passion, lots of it, and they are younger, and more energetic. The air smells so good, and so fresh, that FOSSFA has used the weekend to establish commissions.

Here they are:

Judy Okite from Kenya, voted unanimously as the new FOSSFA Chair, taking over from Nnenna Nwakamna of Ivory Coast
Brian Ssennoga from Uganda voted as the new FOSSFA Secretary, taking over from Samer Azmy from Egypt
Neatness Msemo from Tanzania voted as the new FOSSFA Treasurer, taking over from Milton Aineruhanga from Uganda
Suen Ojedeji from Nigeria voted unanimously as the new FOSSFA CTO. (New Position)

Program Areas Committee Chairs:
a) Business & Innovations – Dele Ajisomo, from Nigeria
b) Networking & Capacity Building – Katim Touray from The Gambia
c) Education – Joris Komen from Namibia
d) Legal and IP – Nnenna Nwakamna from Ivory Coast
e) Localization & Diversity – Solomon Gizaw, from Ethiopia/Ireland
f) Government, Policy, Open Government and Data – Dorothy Gordon, from Ghana
g) IDLELO 6 Chair – Joe Sevilla from Kenyan

Lots of work to do, taking Free and Open Source Software allover Africa, but for now, we will wind up and integrate ict@innovation, as we run up to Nairobi 2014 for IDLELO

FOSSFA is the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa, and can be found at http://www.fossfa.net , and on Twitter: @FOSSFA, and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/163634167084849/?fref=ts

My 10 year old Open Source Hero

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Please Meet DR. EDGAR DAVID VILLANUEVA NUÑEZ, Congressman of the Republic of Perú.

He is my Open Source Hero for the year 2012 – and here is why!

10 years ago, The Peruvian government introduced a bill (English trans.) mandating the use of open source software by the state. The bill admirably proclaims:

“The basic principles which inspire the Bill are linked to the basic guarantees of a state of law, such as:

  • Free access to public information by the citizen.
  • Permanence of public data.
  • Security of the State and citizens.”

Microsoft General Manager Señor JUAN ALBERTO GONZÁLEZ responded by writing this letter to Peruvian Congressmen Edgar Villanueva Nuñez, containing many of the fallacious arguments that Microsoft has used against open source software in the past.

Congressman DR. EDGAR DAVID VILLANUEVA NUÑEZ replied with an insightful letter that cuts through the empty Microsoft arguments to expose the fallacies of its F.U.D. tactics.

FULL REPLY HERE

 

Final CALL: #LinuxEssentials at #COSS

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The Uganda Centre for Open Source Software continues to receive applications for all those interested in Linux Essentials.

Linux Essentials Technician is the new Certified Introductory course from LPI International, for all those interested in knowing how to use Linux. More Details on the website here.

Classes will be running 6-8pm, starts Monday 9th July 2012. Confirm participation before end of this week.

Contacts: +256 753 222 842 and +256 754 245 700

Email: training[at] coss [dot] ug

Completion of #LPIC Exam

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Happening NOW: Completion of #LPIC Exam Lab for #UMU-Nkozi, Exams 101 and 102 for 8 participants, by #COSS. #LUG, #FOSSFA @marzma @COSSug

That was the tweet, that confirmed our completion of a successful training and Certification camp, conducted at Uganda Matrys University in Nkozi. In all, 8 participants sat for LPIC 101 and LPIC 102, 2 exams that contribute to LPI Level 1 (Junior) Certification. We are excited, because, 1 year ago, we feared because one of the promoters of the FOSS and OSS Chapter in Uganda closed its doors.

COSS reopened the chapter, and began where we had strengths. As we build the community of FOSS and Linux enthusiasts, we intend to deliver, one class at a time, better Linux – certified Ugandans.

We are grateful to our partners FOSSFA, GIZ; both under the ict@innovation project, as well as S7, that continues to generously host us.

Would Government of Uganda use Ubuntu?

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Much of this article, has been shamelessly lifted from Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog because, am not sure if they would read it there, perhaps am over confident that they would read it here! So here it goes…along with my rumblings

Governments are making increasingly effective use of Ubuntu in large-scale projects, from big data to little schools. There is growing confidence in  open source in government quarters, and growing sophistication in how they engage with it.

But adopting open source is not just about replacing one kind of part with another. Open source is not just a substitute for shrink-wrapped proprietary software. It’s much more malleable in the hands of industry and users, and you can engage with it very differently as a result.  I’m interested in hearing from thought leaders in the civil service on ways they think governments could get much more value with open source, by embracing that flexibility. For example, rather than one-size-fits-all software, why can’t we deliver custom versions of Ubuntu for different regions or countries or even departments and purposes? Could we enable the city government of Frankfurt to order PC’s with the Ubuntu German Edition pre-installed?

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