About OSSSA

What?

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.

Why?

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.

How?

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.

Who?

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).

2 thoughts on “About OSSSA

  1. Miles Sharpe

    Brilliant idea, bit of an uphill battle ahead but worth everyones support.
    Keep up the good work
    Miles

    Reply
  2. Louis Maluleke

    Pretty good cause this is. I have myself tried registering an organisation that was aiming to address the same issues you are trying to address, however due to some incapacity in the registrar of NPO’s. They rejected the application three times. To prove the incapacity, they classified the proposed organisation under “Open Spaces and beautification project”. With objectives of the organisation clearly stipulated as per requirement in every founding constitution. In conclusion, the objectives of our organisation still endure, and our support goes to you since were advocating for the same cause. The government has been so slow to make significant progress regarding the wide use of Open Source, let alone educating the public about it. In 2003 the SA government adopted the use of Open Open in the country. I guess the people spearheading or in charging of seeing real progress are not doing enough. Let us push forward for the betterment of our country.

    I have been using Linux Mint, a derivative of Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu for over 5 years and i must say i am a fan of Linux. I produce good artwork using Inkscape and Gimp and there are lot of benefits that remain unknown to the masses out there. Now i am planning to start computer lessons for kids and teens in an attempt to bridge the digital divide.

    Thank you, Mr Botha. I support you and the cause. Viva FOSS! Go Open Source!

    Reply

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