Tech Watch 31 Dec 2002
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CTA. 2002. Tech Watch 31 Dec 2002. ICT Update. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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This issue of Tech Watch lists recent press reports on the continuing debate on open source software (OSS) versus licensed (Microsoft-based) software, as well as on new developments in wireless technologies and their applications around the world and Gender and ICTs.
The documents listed below were accessed during November/December 2002. The open source software debate www.ananova.com/business/story/sm_724375.html Microsoft lobbying US, Third World against Open Source, Ananova, 10 December 2002. Microsoft Corp has been waging a major lobbying and public-policy campaign to stop the US government and developing countries from using free, ´open-source´ software, especially the Linux operating system, according to the Wall Street Journal. http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4516363.htm Microsoft giveaway drowns out India´s open-source software movement, Silicon Valley, 14 November 2002 Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation (www.gnu.org), visited Bagalore, India´s IT hub, in early November to try to persuade leaders that Microsoft and other purveyors of proprietary software are poison. It was soon clear he wasn´t winning. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/28008.html MS admits its Linux-bashing jihad is a failure, The Register, 8 November 2002 Microsoft has sampled attitudes in the US and abroad, and has found that slagging Linux is not winning it any points. Regular folks are both eager for a Microsoft alternative and generally respectful of the open-source concept. http://www.apc.org/english/rights/africa/newsletter.shtml?AA_SL_Session=aee0b346f7d61954c95aedeac0c07a76&x=7991 The case for open source in Africa, in Chakula No. 3, November 2002, newsletter of the Africa ICT Policy Monitor project of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), special issue focusing on how open source software can be used to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in Africa. http://www.theopencd.org/ The OpenCD project is distributing a simple to use CD containing OS software for Windows, to spread the OSS message. The disc allows new users to try out OSS on their own operating system, rather than having to take the drastic step of reformatting their hard drive to install Linux or BSD. The collection, which includes OpenOffice.org, AbiWord and Beonex, is intended for non-technical computer users, but will also appeal to experienced OSS users. We invite all OSS enthusiasts to download the ISO, burn CDs and distribute them to friends, local schools, universities, and companies. You are encouraged to stop by our website to comment, discuss and contribute! Connectivity through wireless http://www.oneworld.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi?root=129&url=http://www.idrc.ca Wi-fi: A new bridge for the digital divide?, IDRC, Nov. 2002 Connecting to the Internet using a simple aluminum antenna and a wireless network card could be the best way to narrow Indonesia´s digital divide and bolster economic development. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6062 Radio e-mail in West Africa, Linux Journal 103, November 2002 Deep inside Guinea in West Africa, international rescue workers now enjoy regular Internet e-mail, delivered straight to their own desktops. There isn´t a telephone line or satellite dish in sight. Instead they are moving the mail over distances of hundreds of miles using HF radio. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1593890.stm Web kiosks for India´s villagers, BBC Sci/Tech, October 2001 A new, cheap and robust wireless technology could bring the information revolution to rural areas. Researchers at IIT (Madras) have developed Internet kiosks using a cheap wireless local loop technology called www.tenet.res.in/cordect/cordect.html corDECT. A kiosk costs around US$830. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2115271.stm Wireless Internet arrives in China, BBC Business, July 2002 Wireless Internet equipment which can be shared by a building´s occupants will soon bring millions of Chinese people online. Users in the Shandong Region in East China will be kitted out with a card that will give them wireless broadband access to the Internet. http://www.inasp.info/newslet/jun02.html#5 Crossing digital language barriers: Translating software into local languages, International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), Newsletter, February 2002 Navigating the cyber world is daunting enough for first-time travellers, without having to do it in a language that isn´t your own. The translation of computer programmes into South African languages such as Xhosa was virtually uncharted territory until last year. But Translate.org.za has now released the entire desktop experience in Xhosa, covering desktop, web-browser, word processor, spreadsheet and mail applications. The programmes run on Linux. Gender and ICTs http://www.fao.org/waicent/faoinfo/agricult/ags/AGSP/activities.html Gender Impact of Commercialisation (FAO programme to be completed in 2003) The FAO is conducting a comparative study in Asia, Africa and Latin America on how intra-household gender relationships are affected by small farm commercialization. Following a survey of professionals involved in the implementation of enterprise change and commercialization projects, the study will carry out a set of participatory and farm-household case studies designed to increase understanding of inter-and intra-household patterns and local stakeholders´ perspectives. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2487821.stm Tanzanian women get online bug, BBC Technology, 18 November 2002 Two Tanzanian women sit alongside each other checking e-mail and surfing the web. It may be an unremarkable sight to many people but these two women are part of an Internet boom that is sweeping across Tanzania and in which, unlike many other African countries, women are actively participating. An increasing number of women are accessing Internet services in all parts of the country following a massive growth in Internet cafes offering cheap access. In Dar es Salaam, some estimates put the number of public Internet access points at several hundred, but Internet cafes are also opening in rural locations. http://r0.unctad.org/ecommerce/docs/edr02_en/ecdr02press2.htm Opportunities rising for women in e-commerce, but glass ceiling remains to be broken, UNCTAD press release, November 2002 E-commerce is a potential gold mine for women in developing countries, but to seize those opportunities women will first have to overcome obstacles of education, infrastructure and finance, says UNCTAD´s E-commerce and Development Report 2002. And while they are already tapping into the growing demand for outsourcing in services, they tend to be clustered at the low end of the skills and salary spectrum and risk being left behind by new technologies if they, and their governments, do not prepare now.
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