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Document Abstract
Published: 2003

Open source software and low cost computing [in Africa]

Prospects for open source and low cost computing in Africa
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This project inception report from CATIA looks at strategies for the development of appropriate low-cost computers (LCC) and open-source software platforms and applications (OSS) in order to broaden access to information and communications technologies in Africa. It looks at ways to develop strategic South/South and/or South/North partnerships in this area.

The report includes:

  • An overview of the context for OSS and LCC. Topics include the economics of OSS and OSS business models, government policies towards OSS: throughout the world, in Africa, and in particular in the six countries identified by research team as being most relevant for a study on OSS on the continent (Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia) Issues of human resource availability, total cost of ownership, open standards and local languages are also addressed. As regards low cost computing, topics include the costs, benefits and risks of refurbishment, ecological issues, human capacity to support a refurbishing industry, and alternate devices.
  • A list of the eighty four people identified as important informants on desirable directions
  • The results of a Delphi Survey of the informants. The Delphi Survey comprised a set of twenty four statements relevant to OSS and LCC futures in Africa, developed by the research team and pilot tested by a sample of the above list. Respondents were asked to express their opinions as to when each statement was likely to become a reality in Africa (if ever) and also to assess the importance of each issue. They were also asked to offer text commentary and suggestions as to possible follow on projects
  • Appendices contain the statistics of the thirty five responses received, the text commentary provided by many of the respondents, and a short synthesis of the input.
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