A crowd of about four hundred turned out to demonstrate against proposed European software patents legislation. It was the first "geeky", free-software related demonstration in Hungary said APC member Green Spider, organised by groups not typically used to leaving their computer screens to get their voices heard.
From 6-10 September 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa, APC member Women’sNet hosted a southern Africa-wide workshop to build awareness of and demonstrate the potential use of free and open source software (FOSS) in the non-profit sector, and women’s organisations specifically.
APC member in London, GreenNet, tells APC about their latest mammoth project. A website for the ESF which will process registration of more than 40,000 attendees, provides logistical information and houses must-read documentation on the issues – in five languages.
Until now, a native Cambodian has needed to be able to read in a foreign language to be able to send email in Cambodia. Software was not available in Khmer. But APC’s member organisation in Cambodia, the Open Forum, is changing that. The KhmerOS portal, set up earlier this year to bring together previously isolated developers is starting out by providing Khmer translations of well-known free applications such as the powerful e-mail application, Thunderbird. Thunderbird was ready for use after just two months – sixty days earlier than expected! The Open Forum has sent APC the report on their advances in the first half of 2004.
Looking around at the recent Non-Profit Technology Enterprise Network conference in Philadelphia, it would have been easy to think that free and open source software is sweeping the non-profit world. With an attendance of over 700 people, this year’s NTEN event featured a full track of six workshops on free and open source software (FOSS) topics – almost all of which were packed.
Once again, at the Annual Meeting of Hungarian Green Non-profits (OT2004) APC member Green Spider offered herbal teas and sound internet access, training and advice to participants. Raising awareness of environmental contamination and in support of free software, Green Spider collected up visitors’ old CD-roms and exchanged them for new GNU/Linux CDs.
Free and open source software (FOSS) holds a great deal of potential for civil society organisations. The most obvious benefit of FOSS is that it is often free to use or low-cost. However, it also offers more including
crucially better security. Ddid you know that if your computer uses the GNU/Linux operating system you don’t have to use anti-virus software? No more days or data lost recovering from the latest virus…
The materials available in the MultiMedia Toolkit’s latest unit on FOSS provide an introduction to FOSS, tackling questions like ‘what is open source?’ and ‘how will it benefit my organisation?’ They also include practical advice on how to review open source software packages and select the right ones for your organisation.
APC’s free content management system designed specifically for progressive organisations to publish news automatically and share content at the click of a button has been nominated one of the best open source software tools that can be used by activists to spread the message and promote interaction by e-newsletters, forums, blogs, and online petitions.
Compiled by Dan Bashaw and Mike Gifford in an article for the Democracies Online Newswire APC ActionApps came out tops along with other well-known applications like PostNuke, Twiki and WebCards.
New intellectual property law forces Cambodians to start developing their own Khmer-language software
“We envision, in 2007, a country where Cambodians can learn and use computers in their own language, a country that does not have to change to a new language in order to use computers!” say the activists behind the new KhmerOS initiative. Until now, computer use in Cambodia has been mostly in English, and mostly using unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows products. However, a new Cambodian intellectual property law means that a user will have to purchase a license for each copy of software sold by companies such as Microsoft and that’s unaffordable for most Cambodian computer users. This new portal coordinated by APC member, Open Forum of Cambodia, gets together some previously isolated developers and is starting out by providing Khmer translations of well-known free software programmes such as Mozilla (the powerful web browser and mail programme). But the eventual goal is to create a full applications package under GNU/Linux, "which has 90% of all applications which 100% of all users need". Find out more about the motivation behind KhmerOS.
The conference addressed the challenges and opportunities of the creation and use of free / open source software and open content and their development potential for Africa. The conference had both strategic and practical objectives, as it sought to bring together participants from government, education, business and civil society together with the developer community.