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Findings and experience from EIFL FOSS Regional Seminar, 4-5 November 2011

I was invited to present a 30 minutes talk on African FOSS Business models from Librarians from over 15 African Universities and several other institutions (see attached presentation)

An interesting finding to this group was the level of awareness to Open Source Solutions available in the area of Integrated Library System. ( Do not tell them) I had to change the presentation several time to try avoiding abusing them by teaching what FLOSS is :-) after attending several pre-sessions prior to my presentation.

Frankly speaking, African Librarians are doing a lot of researches in Open Source Software and I am sure they are the leading group of professionals among others using FLOSS solutions. They already know what they need, and they believe from 1st principle that FLOSS is the way to go, from their experience. They have also gone far to try to analyse whether some of the so called FLOSS solutions are really free and open e.g Koha versues ABC, particularly issue of openness, dominance, support and vendor locked in.

Librarians in Africa need help from FLOSS in terms of creating an environment where they can get affordable and sustainable solutions esp on local support from African based firms.

They sited an example , if you announce a tender in any African country, you will rarely get a company offering FLOSS Library application, almost all of them will go for proprietory software which has support and maintenance from abroad.

This is then a business opportunity to FLOSS business people.

Asanteni.

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