Software Freedom Day Marked in Accra
The Software Freedom Day 2009 was marked in Accra with a call on businesses to deploy open source software products in their operations to become competitive. Dr Richard Boateng, Director of Research at the International Centre for Information Technology Development Southern University in the USA, said businesses have much to gain not only in adopting software free of charge but also being able to shape and localise them to solve peculiar problems.
Established in 2004, Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of free and open-source software. It is a public education effort, not only to celebrate the virtues of free/open-source software, but also to encourage its use, to the benefit of the public.
Dr Boateng said open source software is cheaper, especially, to start-up businesses.
He said a major advantage of open source software was the ease with which individuals and organisations could modify them to deal with unusual problems that arise from time to time. However, he said, organisations seeking to use open source software must be selective and choose only those that best meet the demands of their operations.
Dr Boateng said the best way was for organisations to go for open source software that was being used by majority of the people to enable them to get support at the time of need. Ms Silvia Aimasso, Project Coordinator, Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa, said open source software provided developing countries the possibility of developing local capacity and helping to reduce imports and piracy.
It is in this connection the FOSSFA was working to promote the use of open software model in African development and to support its integration in national policies.
To be able to encourage more people to use open software, Ms Aimasso said FOSSFA and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa had launched a three-year advocacy project to increase awareness and use of FOSS in West Africa at all levels, including academia, educational institutions, the media, non-governmental organisations, businesses and governments.