24th July 2020 at 3:31 pm #2688Danie van der MerweKeymaster
The focus is not technical but business and economy related. DTI’s focus is on growing and developing the local economy. So they may also be in the mindset of inventing something and then patenting and selling it – that’s not the business model for OSS. So they will be asking “what’s in it for local businesses then”.
1. We need to give the context of OSS in business terms: It’s not about creating, owning and then selling something, it’s about being given a leap forward at no cost and then selling the services around supporting OSS. It’s about receiving future improvements that others make at no cost, and likewise contributing back.
2. OSS allows anyone to fully examine and understand how it works this means a local IT company can understand it and can charge others to train them, or can sell their expertise in supporting the software for non-technical businesses (they sell their services).
3. OSS excludes no-one – they do not have to be an approved partner of any multi-national company. A small SMME has the same access as a large company.
4. Advantage for organisation using the software is paying for a service but the software cannot be taken away from them (they retain use of software and the access to their data).
5. Payments for support services to local companies is 100% onshore so local taxes and employment is applicable.
6. There is no vendor lock-in either as the support company does not own the software. The organisation is entitled to seek better deals from other local companies for support. This ensures competition and market related costs. Denmark’s OS2 clarifies the legal basis for open source in municipalities: Danish and European procurement rules allow a municipality to specify that software solutions offered must be available under an open source licence. “An open source requirement promotes open competition, which is the purpose of the procurement rules,” the lawyers write. Another sections deals with software that has been developed specifically for a municipality, which now wants to make it available as open source. Here, the legal experts point out that this is in the municipality’s own interests as well as that of its citizens.
7. There are no annual increase license fees that must be paid in forex.
8. This all lowers the barriers of entry for start up companies – they can run most or all of their operations without paying for the software.
9. Local companies can actively participate in OSS projects thereby facilitating skills transfer and building local capacity in the critical IT sector. This enables local companies to also offer their services globally thus promoting local economic development and creating job opportunities. Innovations that benefit the global community are passed back to the OSS project, just as we freely receive innovations that others have made within the projects. This collaboration gives local companies a global footprint and exposes our youth to cutting edge technologies and ideas.
10. Localisation is also possible with features unique for South Africa such as local tax laws, local languages, etc.
11. OSS also brings local thinking to the global market, and grows the concept of retaining thinking and skills development within the ecosystem vs just “box dropping” and relying on the innovation of foreign companies. It challenges local companies to grow skills and services. The more mature the thinking within the ecosystem, the more money is retained or brought into the local business ecosystems.
12. The South African Government has a Cabinet approved policy for the use of open source software within government, as well as a Minimum Inter Operability Standards (MIOS) – both of which were intended to lower the costs of doing business with government.
13. OSS is produced through online projects with multiple contributors (often even Google, Facebook and others) and people needing support with bugs, errors or even suggestions for improvements, make them to these projects. There are usually people from all over the world giving suggestions or contributing fixes or improvement to the code. The idea would be for the local support companies to tap into these forums.
14. But it is also suggested that organisation using the software (or being paid for the support), who can afford to do so, make some donation to these projects to ensure that they continue to exist and flourish.
15. There is a lot of very mature OSS that can be used by local organisations, government or citizens:
15.1 Linux can be used in the place of Microsoft Windows.
15.2 LibreOffice can be used in the place of Microsoft Office for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
15.3 Alfresco can be used for Electronic Content Management (ECM) for formal document registries (already in use at a number of SA Gov Depts)
15.4 Odoo can be used in the place of SAP or Oracle ERP for HR, Finance, Assets etc.
15.5 GNU Cash can be used as an accounting system.
15.6 Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress for websites.
15.7 There are solutions for Helpdesks, Schools, Hospitals, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing, Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Project Management, and much more.
16. Example scenario for government: Because most companies are only bidding with licensed software, Government could select and standardise on some enterprise ready software (eg. Alfresco) and then put out a competitive bid for local companies to provide an installation and support service. The bids are accepted in ODF format (an open document standard) which requires no bidder to have to purchase MS Office. Standardising allows companies to train on a single product (to start with) and different companies will get different contracts across the different Provinces and Districts.
24th July 2020 at 6:05 pm #2691Llewellyn GushParticipant
This is one of the best motivations for the implementation of the OSS ecosystem that I have ever read. Not only do you detail the systems that are available to replace expensive proprietary systems, but lay out extremely well how OSS can benefit new emerging businesses. You have not forgotten to mention the participation model where the sharing of knowledge, and expertise will benefit the community as a whole rather than an individual mostly foreign corporation
24th July 2020 at 7:07 pm #2693Danie van der MerweKeymaster
Thanks Llewellyn, yes nothing really new – just all put in one place and will be good to build on this going forward. Also good to have all the points on hand for any discussion – there’s nothing worse than saying later “oh I should have mentioned xyz”. So if we get more info and examples we can add to it here.
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