The Solusi Open Source Story

Neil Coetzer ncoetzer at
Fri Jul 11 07:52:55 BST 2008

Hi Thembi,

Many thanks for that testimonial to Ubuntu and open source. Very
impressive. I would like to suggest that, once our Web site is up and
running, we include that in a sort of "case study" section on the site,
with your permission of course. Please advise if you would be happy for
us to do so? As we continue to grow, all similar testimonials could be
added to the same section of the site.


On Thu, 2008-07-10 at 19:21 +0200, Thembinkosi wrote:
> Case Study: The Solusi University Open Source Software Project 
> Solusi University is located 50 kilometres south of Bulawayo in
> Zimbabwe. Our Vision is, to be a World-class Christian University by
> 2010. The vision is faced by huge challenges due to the poor economic
> climate we are operating in. One area we have to address to archive
> our vision is the efficient use of Information and Communication
> Technologies (ICT’s).
> In 2006 Solusi had less than 90 personal computers on campus. There
> are was no campus wide network.  We had independent dialup internet
> connections that were not reliable. There were no servers for email or
> websites. In short there were no sound ICT’s.
> Late 2006 began a revolution at Solusi. We got donors you where
> willing to identify with our vision and wanted to help develop the ICT
> area of the university. This resulted in the acquisition of 240
> computers from Computer Aid International. These machines came without
> any operating system software. We had to find a way around the huge
> cost of Microsoft Windows operating system software. We began looking
> for the free or open source alternatives and decided to use Ubuntu
> 6.04 as our solution. In no time, we were able to have all 240
> personal computers installed and running. 
> We managed to acquire a Sun Microsystems FX2000 blade server at an
> academic price. This server has 10 Gigabytes of Random Access Memory
> (RAM), two 250 Gigabytes Hard Disk drives, and 4 Dual Core processors.
> We installed free Debian Linux 4.0 operating system software on it as
> the base operating software. The free VMware 1.05, server
> virtualisation software was then installed on it. With this setup we
> where able to install 7 Ubuntu 8.04 servers on it. These servers
> included; a web server to host our website and our
> intranet sites for campus clubs, software based firewall Ipcop, an
> online registration system called IUTUS made by AIIAS in the
> Philippines, among others. We use Nagios to monitor these servers.
> Nessus is used as a vulnerability checker for our network.
> We have installed a free email server [MTA] called qmail to run our
> email service. This email server authenticates users from a Light
> weight directory authentication protocol (LDAP) which is also open
> source and free. All systems on our network use this directory to
> authenticate users, we currently have over 6000 email accounts running
> on the server. The web mail interface is Claros InTouch 2.2 interface.
> We also use Open Exchange as the collaboration software. We added a
> free open source Jabber chat server called Openfire, which our users
> use to communicate with each other though online chat. Moodle manages
> our elearning portal.
> We also setup a campus area network to join all these computers to a
> 1Megabyte link we have to the internet. IPCOP, a free Linux based
> firewall software was use to share, route and control access to the
> internet.  The 240 machines have Open Office and the alternative to
> Microsoft Office. This works well for students who take courses in
> Introduction to Computers, in which they were taught to use word
> processing software, spread sheets and presentation software. Mozilla
> Firefox is used as the free alternative to Internet Explorer.
> With the main advantage of being free and legal software, Ubuntu
> proves unaffected by viruses and more stable than the Microsoft
> operating systems. In our academic environment where movement of files
> from person to person and computer to computer is high, Ubuntu manages
> to rise to the challenge. It reduces support costs. Our network is 99%
> free and open source software.
> The cost of software did not hold us back from delivering a world
> class ICT experience to our users, thanks to open source and free
> software.
>  As open source software develops we for see a strong if not better
> alternative to the proprietary software in the operating system
> software area. 
> --
> Regards,
> -------------------
> Thembinkosi Moyo
> ICT Manager
> Solusi University
> Direct Line: +263 9 887733
> Cell + 263 11 633 962
> =>You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether
> what you're doing is work or play.Warren Beatty
> -- 
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