When Partha Sarkar of APC-member BytesForAll decided to turn the South Asian volunteer-driven network he co-founded into an even more participative affair, he opted for Drupal. And Sarkar and company are not alone. Other members of the APC network are also finding Drupal is a convenient tool for setting up and activating online communities.
From here to where? And how? APC’s April Bangladesh consultation on communication policy, which brought in diverse people from across South Asia, helped to connect ideas that nudge forward ideals of freedom-in-computing in this populous part of the planet. One of the sessions that participants themselves felt the need to look at, are the critical issues facing free and open source software.
Gaming is very popular with the children and youth. So what better way is there to introduce computing and free and open source software (FOSS) to kids, than through fun didactic software?
Some of Drupal’s features include multi-user editing, an advocacy component, flexibility and configurability, multi-lingual support, a strong and dedicated developer community, as well as a vibrant community of users.
The Foundation for Media Alternatives was one of the groups that pushed to have a community-focussed track at the latest Linux World Philippines. The programme listed themes like free and open source software in government, health and education. The FMA then helped create an open coalition. More recently, this APC member has also backed up a bid to set up a regional node of the International Open Source Network.
Indian language computing solutions in free/libre and open source software is "doing fine" but needs better documenting and packaging. It also needs to find sufficient numbers of users. There is a lot of potential for regional, cross-country cooperation in this field in South Asia, a region in urgent need of solutions to its computing challenges. This interview with Sarai.net, the Delhi-based new media initiative, also self-defined as a "space for research, practice and conversation about the contemporary media and urban constellations", explores these challenges.
A computer that’s encased in wood to resist tropical temperatures and consumes thirty times less electricity than the standard PC? The “Solo”
a unique computer that fights rural Africa’s heat, dust and unreliable power supply is being tested in Nigeria and will be ready for commercial production shortly. APCNews interviews Ochuko Onoberhie, a technician from APC member the Fantsuam Foundation, responsible for testing the Solo.
APC member-organisations, who responded to a survey, see free/libre and open source software (FOSS) as an opportunity to learn new skills and share knowledge. They also see non-proprietary software as an "important form of co-operation" or being capable of "reducing desktop costs".
FOSS, or free/libre and open source software, has dramatically changed the way software is produced, distributed, supported and used. It has a visible impact on enabling a richer social inclusion. But how has it allowed the gender problem existing in the software industry to be replicated in the world of FOSS? Amsterdam-based Taiwanese researcher Yuwei Lin lists seven reasons why women stay off FOSS — including its strong long-hour coding culture, a lack of mentors and role-models, discriminatory language (including in documentation), a gendered text-based environment, a lack of women-centered views in FOSS-development, a male-dominated competitive worldview, and the lack of sympathy from woman peers.
As part of his Asian tour to promote free/libre and open source software (FOSS), the techie-millionaire founder of the Ubuntu Linux Foundation Mark Shuttleworth spent a day in Manila on February 2 to meet with different sectors of the ICT industry in the country.