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Linux Journal: Developing Countries Gain from Free/Open-Source Software

May 21, 2003, 13:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Frederick Noronha)

"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..."

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