I met the people responsible for the EOSBC last Tuesday and can report that the work they are doing is well aligned with the ideals we have in mind.
Mr. Enzo Pulliati is our contact person there, and I asked him to write a few introductory paragraphs for the linux community to get to know each other. Please read what Enzo has written below, and feel free to ask him any questions which might occur to you.
Please add your ideas regarding general Linux/FOSS promotion in Egypt, questions to Enzo, anything you can think of.
I started working on ICT with the UN in '86 when I realized the huge potential that the Internet could have for development. Since '88, longtime before the Internet Society was created, I worked with Vint Cerf, Larry Landweber, Eric Farber and others to help spreading the Internet in developing countries. Our role was to provide affordable technical solutions (we started connecting Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil and many other countries using cheap Unix boxes and UUCP over dial-up generating calls from the US and Canada) and awareness. That was the time when big companies wanted to push their proprietary networks (Bitnet, DecNet and later MSNet) or standards such as X.25, X.400, etc. and they didn't like the idea of open networks such as the Internet.
Many years after all this we are facing a similar challenge with the FOSS and proprietary software. FOSS is a unique opportunity for developing countries and I think we should do as much as we can to use ICT for development, i.e. to increase the quality of life. This is what we call "Human Development".
As happened with the Internet, FOSS faces the same challenges from large corporation with established interests with little interest to review their business model and, in general, from lack of awareness from the average end users, from IT professionals and the business community.
Several colleagues of mines and myself we are very interested in promoting initiatives that could help to leverage the FOSS issue in Egypt and other developing countries.
We are convinced that a campaign to generate awareness at all levels is very much needed. At the same time it is also very important to provide a business model for those individuals or SMEs interested in working on FOSS. This would also be a major step in getting acceptance and support from the Government.
In this framework we have decided to launch an initiative aimed to establish a formal organization where all different actors should fit and coordinate their action providing synergy at all levels.
Based on this, we would like very much to open a discussion with you to define how may we help the LUGs community and how the LUGs could actively participate in this initiative.
I would very much appreciate your comments on this.
Thanks and regards,