OSSSA is short for Open Source Software for South Africa. We are a group of individuals and organizations who promote the use of open source software (OSS) in South African government and industry, because we believe that OSS is good for our economy, and for the empowerment of our people.
Every year, South Africa sends millions of rands to rich companies in developed countries to pay for software (Windows, Office, SharePoint, etc.) and support. Most of these software packages have free open source equivalents. If we were to use the open source versions instead, we would be able to inject a large portion of this money into our local economy to pay for support and training, and save the rest. On the longer term, this would mean much more room for local business to grow and to cultivate local skills, and it would empower more South Africans to develop our software landscape. Furthermore, we would not be indentured to specific foreign companies anymore, but we would be able to choose freely, thus encouraging competition in the local market.
To summarise, choosing OSS in government and industry means:
- Money intended for the licensing and support of proprietary software can be used to stimulate local business and skills, instead of being sent away to rich companies in rich developed countries.
- Local organizations are free to pick and choose which local businesses they work with, instead of being locked in to foreign companies and their closed technology.
- Local business and skills are stimulated and given room to grow, empowering many more South Africans.
We make available information and expertise. On this site you’ll find resources and organizations that support OSS in South Africa, and can help you to make the switch.
Furthermore, where we see opportunity, we campaign for the increased uptake of OSS in SA. This means writing letters to our representatives in government and to the mainstream media, and working together with groups that are already active in government lobbying for large-scale improvement (it turns out that we know people who know people!).
If you are an individual or organization who wishes to help, please subscribe to our blog and to our twitter account (see top right), and get in touch if you or your company wishes to be listed on this site. We will probably get each company or organization to contribute a blog post about themselves, what they do with OSS, and how they could help with switching to OSS. Individuals are welcome to do the same!
Also see the 2014-10-08 Master Plan blog post.
Open Source Software for South Africa was founded by Dr Charl Botha (computer scientist, engineer, business person, South African optimist), who is being joined by a growing group of people and companies who have also come to the conclusion that OSS could make a valuable contribution to South Africa’s development.
OSSSA is allied with the Open Source User Group of South Africa (OSSUGSA).