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South Africa's CSIR yesterday formally opened a new dedicated open source centre(OSC) at the Mogalakwena HP i-community centre in the Limpopo province in South Africa. The new centre, established by the CSIR's Meraka project, is intended to demonstrate how open source software can be used in rural and community environments.
Adi Attar, the OpenSpeak focus area leader at the OSC says that "by providing access to open source software, we're creating new paths of education, new opportunities for business development and new avenues for people to invent their own solutions.
"Through our local point of presence here in Mogalakwena, we can demonstrate how open source software can be used in rural and community environments - rather than just talking about it. We can show how it gives people new skills and stimulates small, medium and micro enterprise development. And we can spread the open source message to thousands of people who would've been unlikely to hear it before," says Attar.
The HP i-community centre was initially established in the Limpopo province following the World Summit on Sustainable Development that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002. Today the multi-purpose educational centre is home to a range of business, media and educational initiatives including the open source centre.
Clive Smith, project director of the Mogalakwena HP i-community says the centre was established "to develop breakthrough models of sustainable social and economic development through the use of ICT. Open source is a key tool in this project. It allows us to serve our community better by, for example, creating Sepedi and Afrikaans versions of the applications we use. It also allows much lower price-points for computing and Internet access."
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