"Free and open-source software are not only 'a useful and
significant tool for the developing countries,' but clearly have
the potential to help democratization and help find solutions to
the most pressing problems faced by the populations of developing
countries, says a report recently released on the subject.
"Set to be released in Finland on May 22, 'Free as in Education:
Significance of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software for
Developing Countries' is authored by the Helsinki-based researcher
Niranjan Rajani. Rajani prepared the report in collaboration with
Juha Rekola and Timo Mielonen, from the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs of Finland, along with OneWorld Finland and KEPA.
"'Even a quick look at the use of computers in the education
sector, NGOs, alternative media and civil society is enough to
convince us of the potential of FLOSS,' says the report, which
reviews what's going on in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The
report points out that students, teachers, journalists and
democracy activists have been using computers, e-mail, web
publishing, desktop publishing and the Internet to get their
messages out to the world, participate in societal debates and
acquire as well as disseminate knowledge and skills. 'All of that
can for sure be done without it, but FLOSS has some intrinsic
characteristics that make it a convincing and integral ally of
democratization process,' adds the report..."