The Open Source Model
What is Open Source?
Open source technologies and creative commons have grown in maturity over the years to take the pride of place in all spheres of modern life. The term “open source” refers to something people can modify and share because it’s design is publicly accessible.
The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, “open source” designates a broader set of values—what we call “the open source way.” Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.
Free and Open-source software (FOSS) is a type of computer software whose source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner
African countries in particular are faced with immense challenges and opportunities. In Kenya for instance, the Government has set out to implement The Big Four Agenda, as well as the Kenya Vision 2030. The Big 4 Agenda encompasses Affordable and decent housing, affordable healthcare, food and nutritional security and employment creation through manufacturing. The Kenya Vision 2030 is a long term initiative to ensure that Kenya attains middle income country status by the year 2030.
The situation in other African countries is no different. We are all struggling with similar problems albeit at different levels. But what is the place of open source in the attainment of development in Africa?
One of the key challenges that Africa faces is the growing unemployment. We are blessed with a young and vibrant population which unfortunately is faced with growing unemployment. The adoption of the open source model can play a big role in liberating African countries from this problem and turning it’s youth into the engine for development. Open source puts the tools that are required to take advantage of the modern economy into the hands of users, regardless of where one is located. With these tools, we can take advantage of the modern technological developments to ensure that we do not get left behind.
Where Africa was left behind in the last 3 industrial revolutions, we have an opportunity to play a leading role in the 4th Industrial Revolution and improve our economies and the living standards of our populations. Open source presents us with an immense opportunity to achieve this.
Evans has been involved with open source since 2003. He has led various advocacy and capacity building initiatives across Africa and consulted in various Government agencies as an enterprise IT project manager