COMPUTING

NEW STUDY WILL OFFER OPEN SOURCE VS PROPRIETARY COMPARISON

A study comparing the use of open source and proprietary software in an African context will bring what it claims is unbiased information to a polarised debate that is often marked by unsubstantiated arguments. Bridges.org, in collaboration with SchoolNet Africa, have launched what will be a two year study.

The two-year-long study will examine the implications of the choice between open source and proprietary software in an African context by investigating the practical issues facing existing computer laboratories in South Africa and Namibia. In addition it will provide a detailed study of the policy environment and the factors that influence related policy-making processes, again focusing on the policy-level debate and choices made and compare them to similar policies in other countries, as appropriate. "With this study we aim to provide SchoolNets and government officials across Africa with the unbiased background information that they need" adds Shafika Isaacs, Executive Director of SchoolNet Africa. Expert members of the open source community and representatives of proprietary software companies will be invited to peer review the methodology and results of this study. The study is supported by the International Development Research Centre’s Acacia Program and the Open Society Institute.

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