FOSS as an Instrument for Accessible Development / The Impact of Regulation: Open Source and Enterprise International Centre for Free and Open Source Software and FOSSFA

28 September 2011 - A Workshop on Access in Nairobi, Kenya


The workshop seeks to elaborate the impact of regulation, between Free and Open Source Software and Enterprise. It will look at the following key areas:
Education, Software development,Digital Content, Empowering persons with disability, FOSS for disaster preparedness etc.

If time allows, we will explore, if cloud computing is an open Source adjacent?

This lively discussion, is meant to bring into perspective the real picture in the market and broaden the minds of participants to realize the options available and come up with recommendations on what needs to be considered to have a fair playing ground, more especially for the developing countries.



A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
Opensource and Business:-
Some , Business models, used in the Opennsource software:-

I)Community model – give service to clients, using open source software,only.

ii)service model- re- package a software and make it a global, solution- this is a mixed solution(proprietary and opensource software) e.g Government working with the open source community as well as the private sector to develop solutions which are tailored for a particular Government service.

iii)Premium model- this is where , you come out with a solution and you give an expiry date to the free version.

iv)“coalition” model on the middleware, where expertise, integration, services model are merge between partners

v)"cooperative customers" model, where government agencies work with community or enterprise to develop a common and public goal

Opensource and Government:-
In our countries, there is always constrained budget and unfortunately, technology does not take precedence, one of the solutions to this is to ,have a solution , which instead of reaching a thousand people, you can reach 10,000, with the same resource/budget and approach the government ,from this angle.

Secondly, the next possible option to engagement , have an open standard. It is usually a set of principals based upon, which the government will adopt, this could be the right way to give a level playing field .

-Electronic accessibility depends on open standards.

On FOSS and Enterprise:-
enterprise, has its own advantage and disadvantage, am sure, but in a country like India , which is a developing country , you would rather not spend money on buying the software, rather, spend the money on infrastructure,that will result to a wider group of people having, access, that will expand the growth of software development, in the developing countries.

Open Source and Education:
Evans, responded by saying that , he is in consultation with computer for schools, Kenya, that distributes computers to the schools. There is an option of dual boot to the computers, that all who get into contact ,know that there is an alternative.

Sunil, we need to expose the software e.g, the literature students are expected to write a book, so what do we do we give them access to books, in the library, in the same way we should expect the students of software engineering to produce the right software, but we don't usually allow them access, to read software. Open source software is the ideal way they get to read software.

Opensource and the cloud, is the cloud a threat to Opensource?

Evans :-
Yes, Africa is ready, for the cloud and what is happening now, is building capacity/training ,for we need skills first.


A question that we need to ask ourselves, is , is the cloud regulated? How about privacy? From a personal perspective,I would really like to see how privacy, will shape up, in the clouds.

we need to first build the skills of how to build and operate on the clouds.

the cloud sounds like a paperless office, but we need to trade very carefully. What vulnerabilities are we exposing ourselves to, when on the cloud?


Conclusions and further comments:
Opensource is a software, it is a means to an end and it needs to address, poverty, equality, information access, etc, inorder to secure its future we need to look at it from these three perspectives, :

II)entrepreneurship and
III)Standard(product software)


-Open Standard, is something that we have to push through in the Internet Governance, discussions.

- The global FOSS community to network, collaborate and work,together, to improve the global perspective of FOSS.