FOSS

Leadership Of Virtual Communities

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(Notes from an Open Session, held at IDLELO 5, Abuja Nigeria, 19th March 2012.)

Working with people we do not know, or see, only talk to them virtually. Nnenna, introduces her self and talks about nnenna.org, a privately run consultancy that has no office and yet maintains a full-blown services for its clients. Work happens in the Virtual Realm. Meeting and working virtually has the advantage of running the least administrative costs.

She is not alone, and as the group warms up to the discussion, we learn about a systems administrator, events manager and a systems administrator. Here are some experiences of virtual workers:

Evelyn Namara shares her experience as a virtual systems administrator, who worked on skype, dropbox and docs, while working with Tactical Technology Collectives (TTC) in Kampala, Uganda.

18.5 yrs as a University Librarian from Federal University of Nigeria, another gentleman is intent on merging virtual library with the manual physical library. He is convinced the ICT Sector does have the solution he needs…

UNESCO Abuja’s National Program Officer for Communications and Information – Oluseyi Soremekun is also eager to see if their information needs can be made Virtual. He contends that the power of information and its access to, by Nigerians is a great need and that ‘virtualization’ of work might have to be a solution.

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COSS and Linux Training

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Happy New Year to all of You.

Its been a very hot entry into 2012, from Kampala, and the heat could not have been multiplied by the excitement that comes with knowing Africa’s premier FOSS gathering – IDLELO – is round the corner. Its a great time, as my last experience ushered me into the world of Linux and FOSS on the continent, paving the way for what has now become my life and bread – Linux Systems Administration, Training, and Advocacy.
Last year, I introduced COSS, and one month into this year, its great to share with you our challenges, and experiences, and what we would like to see happen this year. Perhaps you will be tickled to become a part of what we are trying to achieve.

2011 Highlights:
Closure of EACOSS (But NOT death of FOSS in Uganda – March 2011), LUG Meeting that featured a discussion on FOSS Training; COSS Founding and Opening, Launch of Website – July 2011, LPIC Level 1 – 2 exam labs, Oct – Dec 2011; COSS at TECHFEST – Nov 2011; and a little known possibility of a merger with a local firm.
 2012 Outlook:
LPI’s Linux Essentials – Manual Writing, Launch; More LPIC Labs; that Merger; More LUG involvement; Partnerships and Projects; IDLELO (See Above); E-Learning at COSS (See Here).

Our experience has been that, we have learned from the best, and as a result, we can be very good with our planning. But the real place the rubber meets the road, is in the numbers of Ugandans who are willing to walk into COSS as ask for a Linux Certification. We have great presence within the Kampala LUG but even that is not enough to convince the converted, when it comes to certification. So our strategy, as anticipated for 2012, is to target employers of Linux Professionals. We want to find out from them, how do they tell what “3yrs Linux Experience” really is, and how can we help. But we also think, lets not teach old dogs new tricks, lets go to the schools, where the children are, lets see how to get into Primary and Secondary Schools with Linux.

When you have no riding Government Policy (despite CIPESA’s efforts), and no big name firm backing you, its hard, even harder when you have a day-job. Though our priorities are right, its time to ask interview panels, whether they are qualified enough themselves, to tell if the new recruit has the right Linux Skills. And we want to be there for both. Moreover, its time to ask ourselves, are we ready to leave our desk jobs, to move FOSS Activities and FOSS Training into the 8-5 slot, and the replace the rest else where? Are We?

What about the economics of FOSS Training?
How much is enough to cover your training skill set and time? And how much do you take home, if the company has got to grow? What if its just a TOT requirement, with not much enforceable follow up, what’s the motivation to return home and train others? You have to love FOSS enough, to give off a few freebies…afterall, its FOSS.

Finally, you have to wonder, Are Africans really interested in FOSS? Yes they are, i think. How much they show that is a story for another time.
So, hopefully we meet sometime this year, and we talk about your FOSS experiences, but until then, i wish you the very best of 2012.

Genesis – Take 2

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1. In the beginning GOD created the Bit and the Byte. And from
those he created the Word.

2. And there were two Bytes in the Word; and nothing else existed.
And God separated the One from the Zero; and he saw it was
good.

3. And God said – Let the Data be; And so it happened.
And God said – Let the Data go to their proper places.
And he created floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks.

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Hello world!

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Welcome to SoftSolutions.

Its a new company, just founded in May 2010 [IDLELO4 influences]. Its exciting, isn’t it?

We would like to just step back a little into FOSS – what it is, and what its not. What we can do with it and what we cannot. We would like to see if there are opportunities we are missing, to change the community and the nation, how not to miss them from now onwards.

At SoftSolutions, we would like to make FOSS a house-hold name. We would like you to know there is a FOSS Solution for nearly every single ICT problem statement. And we would like to have the opportunity to find that solution, for and with you.

In the next few months, we will share ideas – yes, you and us. Aftreall, we cannot claim to know everything. We will take those ideas, from you, and work to find solutions in the vibrant FOSS Arena. And together, we will see the last of our problems, one by one.

I cant wait…