Open Source

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.

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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