ImpiLinux goes BEE, looks to Africa

By   |  March 16, 2005

Local open source has been given a boost as BEE investment heavyweight, Khuselo Investments, buys a 75% stake in the ImpiLinux project.

The now registered company, ImpiLinux (Pty) Ltd, will move forward as a black owned company and is aggressively eyeing the African market after it beds down its local operations.

Headed by MD, Gary Fortuin, the ImpiLinux board will include two of the three owners of Khuselo Investments. SABC chairperson, Eddie Funde, and Johannesburg City Parks Chairperson, Pumla Radebe will assume non-executive positions, with Ms Radebe coming in as Chairperson of the new board.

“As founding president of the South African Communications Forum, Eddie Funde has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to offer the company. We are also excited by the opportunity our involvement with ImpiLinux will afford Khuselo Investments, we believe our involvement will enhance and broaden our scope in the ICT industry,” comments Radebe.

The ImpiLinux project was conceived in 2001 and its 51 community contributors make it the largest open source initiative on the African continent. It has well over 5 000 local users and is growing every day.

“The current government support for the open source platform is very encouraging and, together with our new team, we aim to make healthy inroads in both the public and private sectors,” says Fortuin.

Looking ahead Radebe says ImpiLinux will be concentrating on bedding down the deal and consolidating within the local market before eying the continent.

“The fact that we have an entirely home-grown solution gives us a significant advantage in the local market which responds well to local initiatives. However, we have also identified an enormous market in the rest of Africa and it won’t be long before we make an aggressive foray into the continent,” she says.

ImpiLinux 1 was released in December 2003, with the powerful and completely local distribution upgrade, ImpiLinux 2, making its debut in October last year.

COO and founding member of the ImpiLinux project, Andre Coetzee says that the appeal of ImpiLinux2 has been its power and ease of use.

“It is a powerful multipurpose operating system that comes with almost every desktop application needed by even the most demanding user. This is all available on a single CD which is crammed with around 2.7 gigabytes of applications.”

Embodying the ethos behind open source, ImpiLinux will be embarking on an aggressive learnership programme.

“We will be looking to impart skills to young, up and coming South African programmers. We aim to keep the lion’s share of our capital within South Africa and will ensure that we employ this money for the benefit of developing ICT skills in the country,” Radebe concludes.

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