Telecentres and free software
By Patricia Peña
SANTIAGO, CHILE, 11 July 2006
At the beginning, arriving and installing telecentres that use computer equipment that run on an open operating system like GNU/Linux was not a simple process. In Chile, the degree of penetration of the Windows operating system is considerabe, and merely encountering something different often generated great resistance from the organisations and communities. We have observed that ”free software” was associated with cost reduction, hence lower quality. As a result of this, there was a significant investment made in the first phase of the implementation of the project to raise awareness about and disseminate of the use of GNU/Linux and associated free software programmes and applications.
After the first year, each telecentre demonstrated a significant change in the user-operating system relationship. Once they were accustomed to GNU/Linux, they realised its advantages as a stable operating system that does not allow computer or network viruses.
Thanks to this, both the organisations and the users have become familiar with free software. They know a bit more about the philosophical vision and the logic behind this option. Nevertheless there is still a ways to go to fully enjoy its advantages and potential.
A key factor in this process is currently being developed as the system is going from being a centralised technological operating system to becoming more autonomous for each telecentre. This is being done to encourage technological Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, APC and "Sustainable Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Thoughts by Batchelor and Norrish" (April 2002)">sustainabilityand a greater decision-making capacity for the organisations regarding telecentre operations.
Photo: The The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English on Encyclopedia.com">networkingprogramme opted for the use of the GNU/Linux operating system due to its free licences, the ease to generate online monitoring systems, system stability and "African journalists trained in how to communicate securely online" (APCNews and Toni Eliasz, 30 September 2004), Take Back the Tech! and APC Internet Rights Charter">security vis-à-vis computer viruses.
- Article translated from Spanish by APC.