The Zimbabwe Ubuntu Loco Team

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The Ubuntu stand could have easily been nominated the most lively and most visited stand at the 2009 ICT Africa show. The “Freedom Toaster”, a Linux Installation media vending machine in which you insert a blank CD and burn any locally popular Linux distro was a huge attraction. Was impressed that the local Ubuntu community built the machine themselves (putting it together that is). An active member of the community, Ronald, says the Freedom Toaster will be made available to the public after the show at Strachands (Corner Julius Nyerere and 2nd Street).

The local Ubuntu community, made up of volunteer IT professionals has about 15 members. They meet every first Tuesday of the month and meetings are open to anybody interested in the Ubuntu philosophy.

One of the Ubuntu core philosophical ideals is that “Every computer user should be able to use their software in the language of their choice.” Unless I missed it, our local community didn’t showcase anything to reflect this ideal and should seriously start working towards embedding local language choices in the Ubuntu builds.

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4 Comments

  1. Neil says:

    Firstly, a big “thank you” for the positive review of our stand and for taking the time to post this.

    On the issue of local language choices: This is something we have discussed and we are very keen to do this. Unfortunately though, as you mentioned, the LoCo Team is a voluntary organisation which means that most members face the usual time constraints involved with such endeavours. We would therefore welcome the involvement of more volunteers who might be able to head the translation exercise. Our main goal at present is to raise more awareness of Ubuntu, and as a result, we hope to attract more volunteers who might be able to tackle large projects such as translations.

    Regards,
    Neil

    Chairman
    Ubuntu Zimbabwe LoCo Team

  2. Fungai says:

    Dear Ubuntu Zimbabwe LoCo Team

    Firstly and most importantly, i would like to commend you for a sterling job you are doing to promote the open Source software (Ubuntu Linux in your case)in Zimbabwe. Given the potential and promise that OSS carries in enabling developing countries such as Zim to join and actively participate in the information age as it can reduce technology access cost and other entry barriers to the information society, it is encouraging to see people like you evangelizing OSS in Zim.

    If we examine closely how much amount of forex that governments of developing countries are forking out towards payment of license fees for MS Windows and other related proprietary/closed software, one will start to realise that it is a noble idea for governments to begin looking at other alternatives to proprietary software and this can come in the form of Linux (different flavors)at Operating System level. Thus OSS can go a long way in resolving the much talked and highly debated digital-divide problem which is mostly inherent in developing countries like most of those in Africa.

    Zimbabwe being a country which is in dire need of forex to resuscitate the economy, it can not afford to continue to did deeper into their already depleted and strained forex currency reserves to importing software and thus OSS adoption would make a strong case within Zim’s Public Sector. Apart from the fact that OSS is typically obtained free of cost, the fact that it’s source code is distributed and available for free, this will provide the individual developers and software development house to customise the software to suit their unique requirements and this will undoubtedly boost and empower the local software industry and of course this calls for investment in human capital skills first in order to maximum exploitation of the benefits that are synonymous with OSS.

    Having worked for some few years in Zim under Windows environment, upon being employed in SA in one of the Institutes (responsible for IT research and innovation for socio-economic development)of SA’s largest Scientific research council, I was humbled to find out that there is another alternative desktop operating system to Windows in this case Ubuntu which was being productively used by almost 50% of the staff members.

    Fortunately, South Africa as a nation has in place an OSS Policy which encourages its public sector to adopt OSS unless Proprietary Software is demonstrated to be significantly superior than OSS in performing the specific function in question. It is my conviction that people such as you who are knowledgeable on the OSS subject area and involved in the evangelism of OSS (Unbuntu)in Zim will play a significant role in directly or indirectly persuading and influencing the government to consider adopting OSS and obviously its success will commence with the formulation, adoption and implementation of an effective national OSS Policy framework.

    As part of my Master studies, i am undertaking a dissertation on OSS subject area, where i am looking to things such as what OSS does have in store for Governments particularly for developing nations, and how adoption of OSS can be accelerated etc. Sorry for having wasted your digital space with this long writing, but i would like to register with you my appreciation for the effort you are doing and i am very happy to find out that you are involved in spreading awareness of Ubuntu Linux (which most sources regard as the most popular and widely used Linux distro in the world) in Zimbabwe.

    Thank you once more.

    Fungai Mandikuwaza

  3. Nerd Mregi says:

    Im keen to help and learn from you the local guys I have been a linux fan for years now. I have a distro that I have been working on. I need people to collaborate with I have been doing all the work alone. You can email me if you are interested

    nmregi@nerdseo.co.za

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