The open-source movement spawned by open-access has come full circle. Now well-known Gnu-Linux distributions such as Redhat-Fedora are being given away at software kiosks, and the Freedom Toaster project sponsored by the Shuttleworth foundation is just one of many initiatives to get free and open-source software into the hands of the masses.
Acting on a suggestion made by members of a local community Ubuntu user group, or LoCo, I went with CDs in hand to a post manned by the department of trade and industry.
At a convenient central city location, (142 Long Street), I asked the attendent in charge to point out the toaster I had viewed previously in a spanking new brouchure handed out by Freedom Toasters. There before me stood the machine, just as the brochure described. With a touchscreen and menu that took a little getting used to, nevertheless, despite the awkwardness, I managed to burn a Project Gutenburg CD as well as a copy of Edubuntu, the eduction-focused version of Ubuntu.
It strikes one as shocking that we don’t have more Freedom Toasters readily available, or similiar dare-do, blue-sky tech solutions, each packed with collections of open-source, or creative commons video, music and texts available. Something to consider purchasing for the local library?
Brushing aside all the rah-rah advertising propoganda cooked up by the agency responsible for designing the street-level distribution mechanism for Linux and Linux-Ubuntu, one wonders if the public will ever wake-up to a little known fact that Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions around?
That’s right, South Africa’s own is now competing with the rest, at least in the off-beat world of Linux, in which technical wiz-kids mingle with computer geeks, software nerds and the odd activist-hippy.
As a zippy (somebody with zen in their stride, with a hippy right brain and a techno left-brain) I want a Wikipedia CD collection and access to the Libravox library, Internet Archive and Creative Commons. Please sign me up as the next service provider. David Robert Lewis, collected works, DVD.