Open-source Zambia (OSZ) is a group of people, enthusiastic about free/libre/open-source software (FLOSS). FLOSS is software that is sometimes available at no charge and most importantly it is software that gives freedom to view and modify the source code. It is often high quality software that (most importantly) is developed by a community rather than one company.
The main objective of the community is to bring about knowledge and awareness of FLOSS. Further to this OSZ aims to develop solutions that are specific to Zambia. The community’s objective is to attain levels were information is readily accessible in sectors such as agriculture, medical records, educational records, governance, or credit records. Zambia lacks a central storage for such information; this could be due to lack of technical knowledge in the record-keeping/management, a lack of interest in embracing technology, or the fear that investing in this technology could be too costly.
OSZ is determined to bring FLOSS in the business stream and use it to solve current ICT problems being faced in Zambia. FLOSS provides many opportunities for developing countries and Zambia is placed at an
advantage to benefit from it. The social sector in Zambia has lagged behind in adapting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to efficiently deliver services in various communities. Being a country that suffers greatly from the digital divide, OSZ’s promotion of FLOSS arms Zambians with the tools necessary to bridge this gap cost-effectively. The nature of FLOSS and the invitation to users to participate in its growth increases people knowledge, pride, and personal accomplishment. FLOSS liberates users from being mere users but transforms to contributors of the software development process itself. Developing countries such as Zambia can boost the morale of its citizens by encouraging them to use and participate in the use, development and growth of FLOSS.
OSZ community has human resource that can be developed and harnessed to develop and support ICT projects. OSZ thrives upon the expertise of many IT professionals who are specialized in various aspect of IT. Granted, a great deal of this expertise of strongly closed source inspired. OSZ has human resources who are fully capable of setting up Ethernet networks, wide area networks, and metropolitan area networks. The OSZ human resources are also fully capable of developing software solutions in various formats, web-based, Windows-based, and Linuxbased solutions. The OSZ human resources is capable of setting up various types of servers ranging from web servers, DNS servers, DHCP servers, mail servers, authentication servers, as well as a plethora of other servers as may be required.
OSZ will undertake various projects ranging from consultancy to direct user support and software development in order to cover running costs. With a human resource crew that can deliver almost all types of IT solutions, OSZ will charge for services rendered. The cost of the services will not be exorbitant but will be much cheaper than commercial rates; costs are kept low in order to promote open source.