An Africa Business Community - www.africabusinesscommunities.com
Linux on servers - now that's pretty much standard these days, even in Africa. But here's the next logical step that currently many seem to still fear: Linux on the desktop.
With Ubuntu Linux we actually have an "African flavour" Linux to start with (usability of the Unity desktop may receive varying responses - but that's not the issue, use Kubuntu, Xubuntu or whatever other Ubuntu derivative you prefer, if you so wish), so what would you say are the challenges and oportunities for companies in Africa to adapt Linux on their desktops?
I am primarily looking at micro- to small scale businesses (let's say from just "owner operated" up to 10/15 employees), obviously your operational demands shift as you head into "deeper water" regarding larger organisations. But: what exactly keeps you from using Linux? Or: why have you already chosen Linux as your OS of choice on your desktops?
OpenTech Solutions is a company based in South Africa & Tanzania and we work with schools and businesses to migrate or adopt Linux on the desktop. Given the high level of frustration with virus infections, it has been relatively easy to convince decision makers to shift.
Ubuntu is our desktop OS of choice (10.04 LTS...no Unity please) and we have a XP-like theme we apply if there is resistance to change. Also, we do a gradual migration by introducing open source in stages...firefox, thunderbird, open office, and finally the OS.
The challenge we see is that most users & companies are just not aware that you can install anything but Windows, and they are fixated on MS Office suite, though word processing is word processing whether with Word or OO Writer.
The opportunity lies in the relative secure and virus free work environment as well as the opportunity to reduce software costs (if not using pirated software) and use that budget for more hardware.
As well, the ability to customize software through open source code is a benefit that is slowly being realized in Africa.
I look forward to seeing further discussion on this topic here...thanks Gerard