The most excellent Bridges.org has just published an outstanding article: Straight from the Source: Perspectives from the African Open Source Software Movement. The article is built around AfricaSource, a recent workshop in Namibia that attracted 40 developers from 25 countries around Africa. The summary opens with an amazing quote that captures the promise and the agony — and the dedication — of many African open source programmers:
For a software developer working in Africa, Philip Mbogo’s problem is as basic as it gets: “I don’t have a computer,” he said. “I have to go for unpaid work in order just to get on a computer.” Internet access is also an expensive rarity, so he counts himself fortunate to work as an intern at an Internet service provider where he takes as much advantage of the bandwidth as he can. “Anything I can get I download. I even got [a Linux distribution called] Debian, which takes two days [to download].”
I recommend the article highly. It is a well-written and engaging look at the front lines of computing in Africa.