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Free Software in Africa and RULE, Part 2

(Marco’s note, oct. 2010: I have to confess that I don’t remember how this and the other article about Free SW and RULE for Africa came to be written. I seem to have lost all notes and email that would show who sent to me the information below, and what was the original purpose for these articles. One source was probably V. Munthe of FAIR, but I’m not sure. One of these articles was sent to an Eritrean ICT magazine, but I don’t remember which one. Anyway, since they are interesting, here they are)

Part 1 of this article is here

Comparison between thin clients and RULE

The two concepts are complementary, and can benefit from each other: A thin client is perfect when maintenance must be mimized (server only) and diskless clients are available. A RULE PC is fully functional (within its limits) without a server (at home?) and can also be used as thin client (reducing the load on the server for the most common applications). Or even be a lighter, ie faster, server for a local network of thin clients. RULE is for when you don’t have a more powerful server, it’s a stand alone desktop, and such. Thin client solutions are much better when there is the money for the server and the users should be connected to a local network anyway. Thin clients, possibly diskless are certainly far, far easier to administer than the same boxes with ten forcefully different RULE setups.

RULE success story in Congo

VUM has built on RULE a desktop for schools speaking French and Lingala. VUM used the so called vum:BOX to install RedHat 9 on the PCs, which we broght to the schools. For the moment we have equiped 4 rooms for 5 schools with approx 15 PCs per room. Each school has approx 800 pupils, so we have now – thanks to RULE – a potential Userbase of 3200 in Congo. According to VUM members “The pupils, the teachers and also the technicians from BnB (the local Organisation) were very open and happy using Linux… African people have enough experience with dependencies on foreign technology – they like the possibility of doing something on there own”. Also the Office of CECC (Koordination of all schools in Kinshasa) has been equiped with a rulified PC (for text processing and other office tasks). Now the Education Ministry is looking for a schoolplan, and we offered them a whole 6-year-plan for secondary schools based on Linux and OSS-Apps.

Other Free SW/Open Education success stories in Africa


Technology in Education solutions provider, supporting education ministries, school networking and community organisations and schools. DireqLearn solutions are grouped in the following categories: DireqServices for Consulting and Project Management, DireqContent for content and software offerings, DireqConneq for alternative connectivity solutions, and DireqTeq for technology platforms options, such as DireqOpenLab.

DireqLearn is currently active in Southern Africa, West Africa and soon in Eastern Africa. The South African branch has also worked in in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mauritius. Offices also in Nigeria and Kenya operation was activated late March 2003, under the leadership of Ms. Linda Widmark, a specialist in the area of ICTs for development. DireqLearn is now able to service the East African region.

SkoleLinux in Eritrea

This project that has established a computer lab at Semhar Junior and Secondary School in Massawa, Eritrea. This lab will for the most part run Skolelinux. The local representative is Mohammed Ismail, who can be reached at The project is now co-ordinating it with the Ministry of Education in Eritrea: finances have been secured and the expansion will be conducted autumn 2004.

Situation of Open Source Software in Ethiopia

Reference: Goethe Institute in Addis Ababa. There is an Open Source Information Center This institution (or center) – non-profit and open for everyone – will give support (or connect to people who can give support), provide contacts to others, and also offer CDs and resources around Linux and Open Source Software. Assisted by relevantive AG, an [active Open Source supporter and service supplier (see also Names connected to Open Source in Ethiopia: Mr Daniel Yacob, computer scientist at Addis Ababa University and Indiana University, now director of Ge’ez Frontier Foundation. Mr Yacob is very active in the amharic translation and localization of Open Source Software. He is currently working on an amharic translation of the Gnome Desktop Environment, which is about half completed. At AAU’s computer science department, Dr Dawit Bekele conducted a study for the Ethiopian Government concerning ICT capacity building, where he promoted Open Source Software. There is one Ethiopian guy who attended Africa Source: African Free and Open Source Software Developers Meeting, hosted in Namibia, Mr Mekuannent Addis Kelemu. The private computer college called “MakeTech” will start teaching Linux courses as soon as possible.

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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