Go Open Source puts R3m into building Linux channel
The Go Open Source campaign today annouced a R3 million investment into skills aimed at creating a formal channel for Linux and open source software in South Africa.
Called the Go Open Source “channel partner programme”, the project aims to equip small and medium businesses with the business skills needed to to operate and grow sustainable businesses in the developing open source sector.
“There are many examples of companies and countries that have improved their competitiveness and efficiency by adopting open source strategies. The creation of skills through all levels is of fundamental importance to both companies and countries,” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, a Go Open Source partner company.
“South Africans need to take advantage of the opportunities that are available now in order to take the lead in the global open source movement. The more companies we have working together, the faster we will make a significant impact,” he says.
Tjipo Mothobi, project manager for the Go Open Source campaign, says that “if the South African market is to transform the appetite that already exists for Linux and open source based solutions into revenue, sustainability, more jobs and ultimately cost savings for the buyers of technology, a formal channel environment complete with the requisite skills and in-depth knowledge of the software market is required.
“Now that open source solutions are being taken seriously by the business decision makers, our approach will be to first get in contact with young IT companies that have strong potential for growth and an entrepreneurial spirit. We will then communicate the value proposition behind Linux and open source to them, offering them top-end training and skills transfer for their engineers, at a dramatically reduced price,” she says.
“Sending an engineer on the curriculum we propose would normally cost in excess of R24 000. With alliances we’ve built in the market and substantial investment, we’ve managed to bring those costs down to under R10 000,” she says.
Mothobi says that the Go Open Source campaign’s investment in this project totals R2 million which includes subsidies for each engineer doing training, PR and marketing activities designed to drive the concepts within open source to the traditional IT reseller channel and various support structures that will be put in place to manage and assist new channel
She says the initial aim for the channel partner programme is to create 1 000 new skilled individuals in the Linux and open source market. Mothobi says the programme will provide successful candidates with an ICDL (International Computer Driver’s Licence), a LPI (Linux Professional Institute) level 1 certification for Linux and a LPI specialisation on the Ubuntu Linux distribution.”
“The ICDL training will give candidates a strong background in the proprietary software world, critical for understanding the differences and specific value offered by Linux and open source. The LPI certifications on the other hand will provide them with the hard-core skills required to install, configure, administer and ultimately manage Linux servers and desktops.”
“We want the companies participating in our channel programme to be in a position to provide their customer with honest, unbiased advice on what is best for them. This can only be done with an understanding of both worlds, and both sets of solutions,” she says.
The channel patner programme is not aimed at startup companies but rather at companies already operating in the IT sector.
“We’re looking for companies that have at least one year’s experience in the IT market and have traditionally been focused on the proprietary software market. By adding Linux and open source skills to their portfolio of services, we’ll be in a strong position to create a channel that’s capable of creating true value,” says Mothobi.
Introductory SMME two-day workshops will be held in South Africa’s main metropolitan areas in March and will be aimed at establishing an understanding of the OSS business model, says Mothobi.
The workshops wil be held in Durban(March 2/3), Cape Town(March 8/9), East London(March 10/11) and Johannesburg (March 14/15).
For further information and details of workshops visit http://www.go-opensource.co.za or phone +27-(0)21-970-1044.
The Go Open Source campaign, founded by the Shuttleworth Foundation and Canonical, is a marketing and skills development project to create and grow awareness of free and open source software.