AFRICA BUILDS OVERSEAS IT INDUSTRY
Most of us have heard the estimated statistics on piracy and how much is 'lost' through people using pirated software as opposed to buying it. Translate.org.za says that 254 copies of OpenOffice.org have been downloaded during thirty days. This, it claims, comes to a gain (as opposed to the notion of loss) of around R1 million.
Ntsika Msimang of the Meraka Open Source Centre, who has made the shift to Open Source himself, told Translate.org: “The government IT agency spends between R4 – R10 billion per year on software licenses. If you add software support and services to that, it comes to around R14 – R20 billion per year.” With software and hardware requirements in the public and private sector, South Africa spends about R48 billion a year. 85% of this amount goes to companies overseas.
Dwayne Bailey, of Translate.org.za, added: “Sometimes IT managers say that they are using the best software for the job, no matter the price. But I think it's important to look at business in the light of macro-economics and the impact that their decisions have on the broader community.” He goes on to explain that every year South Africa has the potential to create a vibrant, local software industry, and every year we flush it down the drain and continue supporting the IT industry abroad. “Don't business and IT people see themselves as part of the bigger picture,?” asks Dwayne.