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

Kuda Dube Rukanda kudakwashe.dube at rukanda.com
Wed May 4 01:05:30 UTC 2016

Hi Bob;

Hi Bob,

I agree that creating a country-specific distro is not a good idea. The
project is not intended to be a country-specific distro but just a
customised version of Ubuntu focusing on specific things that would make it
relevant to local conditions. The focus is not necessarily on Linux OS but
on sector-oriented FLOSS development, e.g., helping you to develop aspects
of DHIS that you may not have time to work on. Emphasizing on starting with
the Linux OS tweaking and requiring that all software must be made to run
on Linux gives the group a strong FLOSS foundation without aiming at a
country-specific distro.

The major aim also is to create an environment for encouraging young
university graduates to both use and contribute to FLOSS and, thus, develop
a pool of local expertise while also producing something tangible and
useful at a national level, in industry and in the education sector. We
would like this project to remain on-going and even open up to more young
people who would like to be FLOSS developers.

Yes, there is not much time left before the attachment period starts. I got
to know the dates for attachment quite late. The danger is that we may be
faced with this group of students choosing out of necessity to disband in
order to seek internships where they can get subsistence and eventually end
up not learning anything equivalent to what they can learn in this project
for almost one year.

I thought about crowd funding and then realise that we need to go through a
bureaucratic process to setup the funding infrastructure within the
Bursar's Department at the University. Finding  a sponsor to manage a fund
outside the University would be faster and most likely be more efficient.
However, i have asked faculty to setup a fund with the Bursar and send me
details on how people could contribute amounts into the fund.



On Tue, 3 May 2016 at 23:38 Bob Jolliffe <bobjolliffe at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Kuda and Ranga
> I am currently working with a masters student in UIO, Simon copied
> here, on the deb packaging of dhis2 tools.  Well he is working - I am
> overdue to get back to him on stuff right now - late as ever :-)
> You might find one or two of your students are interested to take a
> look at the project and the current outstanding issues and offer to
> contribute where they feel fit.  Currently even testing will be a good
> contribution.   https://github.com/dhis2/dhis2-tools/issues.  Our plan
> is not to necessarily target the official ubuntu repository but make
> available as a ppa.  Currently the deb is hosted in a custom apt
> repository which hosts this and nothing else so it is a bit silly.
> Anyway, Ranga will know dhis2 is actively used in Zimbabwe and within
> the region so it seems appropriate for your project.
> Creating national distributions is an interesting exercise.  Its quite
> hard for these sorts of projects to really gain traction (I recall
> impi linux in SA some years back).  At least for server oriented
> distros there might be little benefit over for example just creating
> an iso of "extra" zim specific packages to supplement an official
> distribution.  Of course there can be some value add in making a very
> security focused distribution just to make life that little bit more
> difficult for our NSA/CIA friends, though that is quite a high end
> exercise.  For desktop there is more scope for things like default
> Zimababwe oriented themes and the like which people find appealing -
> particularly being the patriotic folk that you are :-)  Either way and
> regardless of actual success in the "marketplace" it is all good
> learning.
> Not sure about the funding.  Why don't you try and setup a crowd
> funding exercise and see what you get?  One could then circulate on
> various lists.  It doesn't sound like you are left with much time.
> And the amount you seek is substantial enough if I read correct : up
> to 200x10x6=USD12000.
> Bob
> On 3 May 2016 at 11:58, Kuda Dube Rukanda <kudakwashe.dube at rukanda.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi Ranga and Bob,
> >
> > Yes, you are correct in that one of the student's work during the 1-year
> > attachment period is to package sector-oriented software into the DEB
> format
> > and add them to the Ubuntu repository or if not possible just offer DEB
> > formats for download from the current download locations.
> >
> > Also note that my maths was wrong in calculating the students' meagre
> > subsistence needs. The bottom-line is $100 - $200 per student per month
> for
> > 8 - 10 months and we have six students.
> >
> > Thank you and regards,
> >
> > Kuda
> >
> > On Tue, 3 May 2016 at 18:40 Rangarirai Matavire <matavirer at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Hi Bob,
> >>
> >> Was just wondering, can we get support from these students to add the
> >> dhis2 installation to the ubuntu repos for example. Since we have the
> tools
> >> now, can we not package them into a single install process. There is
> Kuda
> >> copied, you can see his email below. We can have some students of theirs
> >> working in this. Read the email below and let us know what you think.
> Kuda,
> >> Bob is one of our dhis2 lead developers. Maybe you can clarify if I
> missed
> >> something.
> >>
> >> Regards,
> >> Ranga
> >>
> >> On 3 May 2016 08:31, "Kuda Dube Rukanda" <kudakwashe.dube at rukanda.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> 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:
> >>>
> >>> One-year attachment programme starting in July/August; and
> >>> 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:
> >>>
> >>> 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.
> >>> Volunteers to:
> >>>
> >>> 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;
> >>> Deliver their customised GNU Linux on Ubuntu.org.zw (may be Kalpesh
> could
> >>> help the students here)
> >>> Raise money for the long term sustainability of this project;
> >>> Deliver presentations/talks on Ubuntu and FLOS at the UZ CS department;
> >>> 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.
> >>>
> >>> Regards,
> >>>
> >>> Kuda
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Ubuntu-zw mailing list
> >>> Ubuntu-zw at lists.ubuntu.com
> >>> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> >>> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-zw
> >>> --
> >>> http://www.ubuntu.org.zw
> >>> http://zimbabwe.ubuntuforums.org
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