Boost for open source at UWC
The University of the Western Cape(UWC) has been given a grant of US$50 000 by USAID to aid the university’s development of open source educational tools as part of its African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR) project.
Eventually it is hoped that AVOIR will consist of four components: open source software development and advisory services; open content education, research and development; open database development to create freely available data such as bibliographic, geospatial, biodiversity and oceanographic data based on open source principles; and an open collaboration and project management system based on lessons learned from open source development.
The investment from USAID’s Leland Initiative through its Information Technology Public-Private Alliance (IT-PPA) is meant to help get the AVOIR initiative off the ground and hopefully kickstart further investment in the AVOIR project from other sponsors.
Lane Smith of USAID says the initiative will “strengthen the utility of Open Source approaches across the African continent and expand the Kewl course management software to its fullest utility.”
Professor Derek Keats, Executive Director for Information and Communication Services at UWC, says the AVOIR project is not just about the advocacy of open source operating systems. “What we are interested in achieving is to build a cadre of developers who follow an open source approach and philosophy to develop software that is useful to people,” he says.