Call for help: formulating a national government strategy on Free Software

Mark Shuttleworth mark at
Fri Aug 19 17:53:15 CDT 2005

This is a mail to the global Ubuntu community, to ask for your help in
formulating a national government strategy on Free Software for South
Africa. We hope this work will also be used as a model for many
countries world wide.

We are participating in a task force that is considering how South
Africa should lead the adoption of Free Software in government, in the
private sector and in civil society. It is a unique gathering of people
who would like to create the most effective possible strategy for the
country, building on the great ideas that have already been implemented

The group includes representatives from the following government

 - Health
 - Education
 - Agriculture
 - Communications (Post and Telecommunications Regulation)
 - Labour
 - International Relations
 - Treasury (Taxation)
 - Public Services (eGovernment)
 - Local and Municipal Government
 - Science and Technology
 - Transport
 - National Statistics

It would help us tremendously to hear from people who are aware of real
Free Software projects in different countries around the world that are
relevant to each of these groups. For example, free software tools for
running medical clinics, or garbage collection coordination, or
telecenters for access to ICT, or coordinating the legislative process.
Any free software related to some function of government would be useful
to know about. If you know about such a project in your country, please
visit this wiki and add it to the relevant department page:

If you can briefly (in a few sentences) describe the project, and even
better, know a URL to web pages that describe the project, then please
add them to the relevant pages.

For example, last month I visited an amazing project in Brazil, looking
to create mainframe-reliability platforms for government using commodity
hardware and [Ubuntu ;-)] linux. So I've added that project under the
"National Government Projects" page:

The projects are likely to be run by government departments but it would
be equally interesting to hear about private sector, or civil society
(NGO) projects that are related to the work of those departments. If you
think it's possibly useful, please do add it.

This will allow us to put South African authorities in touch with people
doing great work with Free Software in their equivalent departments
internationally - and hopefully begin to foster global cooperation on
those projects.

The projects don't have to be Ubuntu related - this is about Free
Software, not a particular app or distro. The meetings start Monday
morning, so anything you can add this weekend or during the week would
be appreciated!

THANK YOU! I'm very excited about the opportunity to participate in this
forum. After years of calling for serious thought about the
opportunities that Free Software present for countries, especially
developing countries like South Africa, it seems that the idea is
finally gaining traction. We will keep this wiki open, and I hope it
will become a good resource for anybody who is trying to create a
coherent strategy on Free Software for their government.


PS - if you'd like, create a WikiName for yourself (click on
UserPreferences and create an account) so that your changes will be
identified as coming from you).

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