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Is Africa open to open source?

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‘Very much so’ say experts in the development, rollout and integration of open source infrastructure and Linux operating system (OS).

George de Bono, GM General Manager for the Middle East Turkey and Africa (META) region at Red Hat, is one of a growing number of operators in this space excited about Africa’s adoption of open source and growing awareness of the benefits related to this technology.

Red Hat is a US-based global provider of open source solutions and listed on America’s S&P 500 stock market Index.

The company is focused on the provision of what it describes as being “enterprise-strength” software and services to address key areas such as Operating Systems, storage, middleware, virtualisation and cloud computing.

This week executive leadership of the company completed the second leg of a two-city visit to South Africa, which formed part of its global tour, to engage the market and deliberate on issues affecting open source adoption and integration.

The focus of the company is to entrench the value of its evolution from an operating system company to that of a more solutions-orientated business. Red Hat plans to utilise this model to claim its share of what has increased from an $8 billion Dollar pie to a $55 billion Dollar pie as a result of the introduction of virutalisation, cloud computing, storage solutions and developer influence.

A cost-effective alternative for Africa

There are instances where there has been a deliberate move by users to take advantage of what the company describes as the ‘revolution of choice’.

As an example de Bono highlights a decision by the government of the Canary Islands to move from a proprietary solution to an open source solution.

“In so doing they have experienced seventy percent budget savings and fourfold improvement…just some of the things we talk about in terms of empowerment and the choice movement,” he says.

A lot of what comes through the open source code base originates from the community de Bono continues, and whilst it is difficult to accurately quantify the contribution by development communities, there is certainly contribution to the open source core base and this links to the continent’s legacy of being innovative to meet needs.

“Because we are such a ‘low cost alternative’ and we deliver high degree of functionality and capability for that cost, means African countries can deploy the latest and greatest technologies without having to pay a premium,” he continues.

This bodes well for the growth of open source and Linux environment across the continent.

Chris Tredger – Online Editor

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