[Ubuntu-ZW] GNU Linux and FLOSS Project at the UZ Computer Science Department

Kuda Dube Rukanda kudakwashe.dube at rukanda.com
Mon May 2 10:22:34 UTC 2016

Hi Everyone,

###### APOLOGIES for multiple copies of this important message caused by
subscription e-mail address confusion ########

I have a group of six 2nd Year students at the UZ's Computer Science
Department who are working on a GNU Linux and FLOSS Project.

The project proposal is to develop a GNU Linux OS that is customized for
Zimbabwe. The key and unique feature of this project proposal is the
adoption of a set of economic sector-oriented open source software that
will be customized to suit the needs of Zimbabwe's industry. Some of the
sectors include agriculture, education, mining (GIS, etc), health, and
accounting. Each member of the team in addition to developing expertise in
customization and maintenance of the  GNU Linux distribution, will also
develop special expertise on at least one sector-oriented software system.

This group of six students is expected to deliver their version 0.01 in 2-3
weeks from now for initial evaluation and assessment for 2nd Year Project.
Unfortunately there is no female among the UZ Six. We had one female
student who left the group at some point earlier in the year. The group has
been working since November last year.

Our plan is that these students should continue to work on this project for
the next 2 years until they graduate after 4th Year. The aim is to help
them to acquire enough expertise to become contributors to FLOSS as well as
to deliver and maintain a Zimbabwe-customized distro to support various
sectors of the economy even after they have left the UZ. More specifically,
the students will work on this project for the following phases of their
study period:

   1. One-year attachment programme starting in July/August; and
   2. Two semester final year project after attachment --- to be assessed
   at the UZ.

Currently the students have selected Ubuntu as their base distro to work
with and have already setup the environment for tinkering and customisation
--- they have reported initial success when they created their first live
ISO image.

I need help from your Zimbabwe FLOSS Community in general and from the
Ubuntu LOCO Team in particular. Your help is sought in the following
specific areas of this project:

   1. Setup a *fund to sponsor *the students' subsistence costs as they
   work on the project during the *one-year attachment period (we are open
   if the community want to manage the fund as long as the group get some form
   of subsistence to deliver the expected deliverable). My finding is that on
   average a student on attachment in Zimbabwe normally gets US$100-200 per
   month while on attachment for subsistence for 8 - 10 months depending on
   the company they are attached to. Therefore, at the minimum, the project
   needs US$800, and at the maximum, US$ 10000, in order to cover what each of
   the six students will need for bare subsistence. Attachment starts this
   year in July/August for the UZ Six students.*
   2. Volunteers to:

   1. Work to provide effective leadership and organisation to this project
      and integrate the students and faculty at the UZ CS Department into the
      Ubuntu Community and the GNU Linux Commmunity in Zimbabwe;
      2. Deliver their customised GNU Linux on Ubuntu.org.zw
      <http://ubuntu.org.zw/> (may be Kalpesh could help the students here)
      3. Raise money for the long term sustainability of this project;
      4. Deliver presentations/talks on Ubuntu and FLOS at the UZ CS
      5. Help the students to organise demonstrations of the works;

The UZ CS Department could host the group during attachment. We are open to
consider it if your company can host the student group and the project
during the attachment period subject to the understanding that we would
like build a long term national programme to promote young students from
universities to acquire real skills to contribute to FLOSS.

I would really appreciate serious discussions on this project and how we
could create a sustainable long-term project that can recruit and impart
skills to many young students from not only the UZ but from all
universities in the country and build a nation of youth who can both use
and contribute to FLOSS.


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