Headline June16, 2014



The Nooitgedacht Primary School, on the outskirts of Cape Town, is a little more than a few drab buildings surrounded by barbed wire.

The school can't afford a library,  -and very little else,too-   and only a few students have the money to buy uniforms. But up two flight of stairs in room No.6, a-

Class of fifth graders sits hunched over  20  computer terminals, writing with word-processor programs, experimenting with spreadsheets and familiarizing themselves with the mouse and keyboard.

How does a level-C school   -the lowest on the South African government's poverty scale    -afford an  up-to-date computer lab?

This sad and touching scene above,  -could mostly be from any school, in any developing country in the world. But I must add, that, that the scene above could be true only in parts. 

Most schools in the developing world would have physically, next to nothing. I doubt if they have any pretensions, too!

If a business blows a valve in the dot.com bust, then human ingenuity will shuffle sideways into the field of defense or homeland security. But I have never seen that happen to education?! 

The first head and budget that gets cut in the developing world is what pertains to education. Said or unsaid. Seen or unseen!

The pampered student and global consumer of the  1990s, blowing his or her pocket money on gizmos,  becomes the helpless terrorist suspect of the  '00, having his shoes scanned and his body gently riddled by unheard-of T-rays :
Terahertz waves.   

Linus Torvalds has never been to  Nooitogedacht,  but he's the most likely answer.

Torvalds, a Finnish computer scientist,  was only 21 back in  1991 when he invented the Linux Operating System with the idea of competing with Microsoft's Windows.

Rather than sell copies of  software for a fee,  Torvalds released Linux's source code    -the original program-   into the public domain.

That kick-started the  so-called  '''' open-source-software-movement '''' , which has since then produced a whole suits of programs, from word-processors to spreadsheets to video programs  -most of it free.

In recent years some big companies like IBM, HP and Oracle, but also foreign governments like those of  France  and  Germany,  have embraced Linux as a way to stem Microsoft's dominance on PC's.

''Now open-source software is beginning to have an even more electrifying effect in the developing world. Schools,  government offices, and small businesses that could never afford Microsoft's license fees:

 Are getting wired using  so-called freeware. The software saves them a bundle and gives them unprecedented flexibility to adapt programs to their local needs -which include:

Using old computers rather than the fastest, priciest versions, and allow local programmers to maintain and develop their computer systems.

For many countries, open-source software holds out the promise of high-tech independence:
''We need to be in charge of our own information technology future.'' said Johann Eksteen of South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Cost saving are driving the trend. In the developing world, the price of licensing Windows can be astronomical. Let me just try giving you a rough idea:

In South Africa, it costs around  $280 per computer, which is one reason the State IT Agency  (SITA)  declared some years ago, that it would switch to open source:

The anticipated cost savings amount to billions of dollars a year.

Another factor is reliability. Some software experts argue that Microsoft products are too complicated  and prone to  glitches,  whereas Linux is simpler for a user to fix.

That's partly why the southern Brazilian city of  Porto Alegre  was so quick to adopt Linux in the late 1990s; the systems pudgy-penguin logo now graces the screens of most school, university and municipal government computers.

The phenomenon has recently begun to spread across Brazil, with retailers, Bankers and even the armed forces souring on Microsoft.

'''Talk to  nine out of  ten people  in the software business and you'll hear complaints about Windows,''  said Alexandre Moura,  who runs Light-Infocon, a database-software maker in Campina Grande, Brazil's Silicon Valley.

The Honour and Serving of this very important Post continues. Don't miss reading the next one.

With respectful dedication to all the leaders of the developing world!

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the developing world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

With loving and respectful dedication to Rabo, Dee, Mariam, Haleema, Hussain, Ali, Ehsan, Aneela, Ahsen, Areesha, Zeba, Talat, Shahzaib, Armeen, Zayeem, Hazeem, Salar, Sanan, Hamza, Nayab, Eman, Mustafa, Ibrahim, Sanyia, Haider, Faizan, Reza, Ghazi, Sorat, Paras, Danyial, Rahym, Anique, Nahyal, Saima, Aqsa, Hanyia, Meriam, Amin, Ameena, and all their parents.

'''Free For All '''

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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