October 9, 2012

Ubuntu and its Place in Kenya.

UBUNTU Operating System.

Ubuntu 12.04 Final Live CD Screenshot.png

If there is one thing that am sure of, Kenya is a Microsoft Windows stronghold as most of Africa is. I can bet that more than 90% of Laptops in Kenya run Windows in one form of the other, usually Xp or the more recent Windows 7.However, that does not mean we are devoid of choice when it comes to choosing an operating system for your Laptop.

Allow me to mention briefly the Linux based Open source system  Ubuntu by Canonical systems. Ubuntu is the most popular linux Operating system in the world, though versus the behemoth microsoft complex its a drop in the ocean. It ‘boasts’ more than 10 million users in the world and growing.  Canonical Ltd is a UK company owned by South African Billionaire Mark Shuttleworth. Ubuntu is distributed free of charge as per the linux opensource philosophy.

 

Ubuntu is a collection of many open source software with a few proprietary packages. Most of the packages are based on the Gnome Desktop platform. Each of these packages is managed and maintained by the respective owners. The result is a large choice of software and application to choose, from the world famous VLC for the movie watcher to Libre office as an alternative to the microsoft office suit.

 

Ubuntu:Providing Cost effective computing to Third World Countries.

 

I have been an ardent user of Ubuntu since 2008 and over that period I have seen the OS grow from an Unstable collection of softwares to a enterprise ready mature platform. I actually perform all my computing activities on ubuntu with utmost satisfaction.

Its in this regard that I wish to make a business case as to why we need to start considering and using the likes of Ubuntu as alternatives to Windows and its  associated software.

Think of a typical windows installation: You expect to find the following software at the very least:

  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Antivirus
  • Video and Music Player
  • DVD/CD authoring software typically Nero.
What do all these software with the exception of maybe the player have in common: Licences.
Kenya is considered to be the software piracy ‘sodom and gomorrah  of Africa. The consequence of this is that most people never buy licences and in essence run free software. Its in the absence of this pinch that most people have no impetus to check out ubuntu  and the like. But, as Microsoft improves on their licensing methods and increases crackdowns on illegal software it will become harder and more expensive to run counterfeit software.
What does that mean? It means the cost of computing will increase, out of the grasp of ordinary Kenyans. The same can be said about government IT initiatives, too much money is spent on licensing costs.

Finally.

I think its high time, we adopted more opensource software. I recommend Ubuntu as a good starting point.  This will free up more money for renewed investment in the IT industry in Kenya.

What do you think?

 

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