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Module 2.7 CENFOSS - Using FLOSS for Business

cenfoss.bmp

Outlook:

Registered Name: CENFOSS Ltd.

Founded: 2006

Staff Strength: 12

Country: Mozambique

Website: http://www.cenfoss.co.mz/

Type of business: FLOSS training, software development, web hosting.


2.7.1 Introduction

CENFOSS – CENTRO DE FORMACAO EM OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE was established in 2006 in Maputo as the first official known Free and Open Source Software Training Centre in Mozambique. By the mid of 2007 the company started to provide services in the area of Web Hosting, Web Design and FOSS Consultancy. The CENFOSS idea started after the Mozambique Workshop, in 2006. Free and Open Source in Mozambique wasn't something new. But until the date, none of the training centres, schools or universities was looking at FOSS as a business for training and services. Me, Celso, among with another alumni from InWent, Ricardo Mario Taca, we decided to create training materials for the lessons. But a place and hardware equipment was necessary to conduct the lessons. At that point none of us, the alumni, had money enough to start it.“

CENFOSS was registered with 4 partners, Celso Timana, Eduardo Timana, Ana Soares and Olga Reina, having only one partner with experience in FOSS. The rest of the partners had given the logistical support to CENFOSS. We started FOSS lessons with two trainers, one at full time and another as part-time. From September 2006 until February 2007 CENFOSS had 3 employees. Now, two of the founders have left CENFOSS to enable more two to join: Orvalho Augusto and Rui Reina. And Since then the numbers of staff has increased to 12 employees which:

  • Two are CENFOSS partners

  • Three secretary's with switched schedules

  • Five technicians

  • Two office assistants

Since we have more than 10 employees in Mozambique this means that we are a Medium Company.

2.7.2 What services or software solutions are being offered?

One of the main requests that we have in our services has been mail server configuration. Nowadays, more companies, small and medium sized, are increasingly aware of the benefits of having their brand our services as domain. Without using FOSS as our main tool it wouldn't be possible to achieve our goals. We also provide network monitoring to companies that desire to control their network for bandwidth consumption. Our solution using free and open sources are:

  • Mailserver - mailrelay/filtering, and webmail (Clamav, Amavis, Postfix, SpamAssassin, Dovecot, Squirrelmail and Zimbra)

  • Web Proxy – Squid

  • Database modeling – MySQL, PostgreSQL

  • WebServer – Apache, lighttpd

  • Content Management System – Joomla, Drupal

  • Statistical Consulting

  • Aplications Design – Using programming languages such as:

  • Python

  • Java

  • PHP5

  • Perl

Beside the TCO advantages, we have the opportunity to show to our customers that it is possible doing business and having a business using the FOSS model. Our service gave us opportunity to collaborate more with other communities around FOSS.

2.7.3 Link with other companies, agencies, NGO, government

CENFOSS has cooperation and contracts with several institutions, from government to private and NGO.

  • CodeWeavers – Is a company based in USA which develops Wine open source tool for interoperability between Windows and Linux and CrossOver Linux – commercial open source tool with the same purpose as Wine . CENFOSS is a CodeWeavers client, we've acquired licences for CrossOver Linux in November 2008.

  • Ministry of Foreign Affair – CENFOSS has implemented and maintain the mail server from this ministry.

  • University Eduardo Mondlane, Branch of Mathematics and Informatics - CENFOSS has a partnership with this University for training teachers. Until now we had one workshop over Free and Open Source conducted with 60 students in 2008.

  • SOCREMO – Bank of Micro finances – currently CENFOSS supports GNU/Linux on SOCREMO with a one year support contract. The work involves more than 150 computers to support and 3 servers also running GNU/Linux.

  • CEDE, AMODE, RRD, ZE Servicos - CENFOSS provides hosting of web and e-mail services for those companies and organization.

2.7.4 Who are the intended customers?

CENFOSS customers are categorized according to the services we offer. Universities students are those who most require our training services. At the beginning of 2008 we started to do consultancy for Free and Open Source Software. Since then we have been supporting from telecommunication companies, private banks and government institutions. The table below summarizes our current customers;


Service Offered by CENFOSS

Customers

Type & Service of the Company

Size of the Company

MySQL and Unix/FreeBSD Training

VODACOM Mozambique

Private GSM provider

Large Enterprise

Training and Implementation of FOSS technologies for National Domain Name Servers

Telecommunication of Mozambique (TDM)

Public institution for landlines communication and ISP

Large Enterprise

Linux training and mail server configuration

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Government Institution

-

CMS training

Interior Ministry

Government Institution

-

Linux Training

Ministry of Commerce

Government Institution

-

MySQL training

Commercial Bank of Investments – BCI

Private Bank

Large Enterprise

Linux Support, training

SOCREMO

Private Bank

Large

Linux Training

GSTELECOM

Private ISP

Large

Linux Training

TROPICAL

Private ISP

Medium

Linux Training

PANINTRA

Private ISP

Medium

Web & email Hosting

CEDE

NGO

Medium

Web & email Hosting

AMODE

NGO

Medium

Web & email Hosting

RRD

Design Company

Small

Web & email Hosting

National Institute for Navigation

Public Institution

Large

Web & email Hosting

Ze Servicos

Private Firm

Small


2.7.5 Lessons learned

After working almost three years with FOSS we have enough experience acquired along the time. We have seen situations where FOSS alone is not the solution. Since we support lots of companies doing business and using FOSS, we will continue to accumulate experience and are better positioned to advise individuals, businesses and organizations on which technology to use where in their business and when to use that technology.

2.7.6 Conclusion

CENFOSS has established itself in the market as FOSS training and solution provider. Until now we are the only training center fully dedicated to FOSS in Mozambique. This does give us and advantages over newcomers who may also be our potential competitors. Continuing with a rigorous marketing campaign, building strong ties with older customers as well as new customer are some of our goals in the coming years.

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