Yesterday we took quite a detailed look at a first hand account of some environmental factors that stand in the way of Linux adoption in Africa. Today, I’d like us to take a look at the second group of obstacles which we called the Linux-vendor factors.
Unlike Windows, Linux is a heavily networked OS where one needs internet connection to do things like application installation. This very factor is one of the greatest deterrents to the use of Linux here. How do you get people to use it when they have no reliable and affordable internet connection?
With Windows, when I need an application, all I have to do is get its .exe file from a friend and I’m good to go. No network fuss whatsoever. The heavy dependence of Linux on network connectivity may not seem that much of a problem, but in reality, it could be a crucial factor in its acceptance here.
Then there is the issue of vendor inactivity. What I mean here is that I am of the view that vendors behind the popular Linux distros, ala Canonical, RedHat amongst others are not doing enough to help bring Linux to Africa. It would go a long way to help if we should see the likes of the above companies having people on the ground here who will be lending support to small scale businesses who choose to go the Linux way.
I know running a business in Europe or the US is more easy and comfortable as compared to ‘that’ continent called Africa. If only these vendors know the vastness of the untapped market we have here, they would not think twice about getting on the ground here.
Bringing Linux to Africa is no small task giving the almost insurmountable obstacles that one is bound to face. However, there is still a great potential for Open Source Software in general and Linux in particular to add tremendous value to the lives of people here. It is to this end that we should all focus upon irrespective of the bottlenecks we face.
And it is also for this reason that I strongly encourage all of you to support the OMG Africa! Linux Project in whatever way you can. If you cannot be here to spread FOSS, then the least you can do is to support those of us living here who are trying to do it.