SA government loses key OSS advocate
Aslam Raffee, chief information officer of the department of science and technology and chairperson of the South African government’s open source working group, is leaving government to take up a position at Sun Microsystems.
Raffee, who has been a key figure over the past couple of years in the SA government’s move towards open source software, will take up his new position at Sun on Monday April 20. In his new role, Raffee will be a part of Sun’s global team on government strategy and global communities, and work to promote Sun’s open technology strategy in Africa.
Besides being the chairperson of the government’s open source workgroup Raffee was also a prime advocate of open source software and standards in government circles as well as more widely in South Africa and the world. Over the past two years he and his department played a key role in the opposition to the OOXML standards process at the International Standards Organisation, hosted the second OpenDocument Format workshop in South Africa and led the battle for South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission to open up its website to all South African citizens.
During this time he was also an active advocate of open source use within the department of science and technology, including backing the creation of a customised version of Impi Linux for use within the department.
The South African government is still home to many staunch open source advocates but losing Raffee will undoubtedly leave a noticeable hole in its ranks.