[Linux-aus] Linux uptake

Craig Turner craig at craigturner.id.au
Sun Jun 15 12:02:01 UTC 2003

>There is great Linux uptake in lots of places we never hear of either 
>because of language/culture barriers (e.g. Brazil, Taiwan) or because 
>extremely poor people are too busy at the coal face to take time for 
>"frivolous" things like publicity (e.g. Timor, much of Africa).

Having just spent 6 months in Timor, let me say that there are  few
places even capable of reliably powering a computer.

In Dili power runs sporadically throughout the day with very large
spikes and brown outs when it does run. Its murder on UPS's. Anyone
likely to be running computers (UN etc) are generating their own power.
While I was there I tried to track down any schools or orphanages
running (or needing) Linux to offer my (albeit limited) assistance, but
couldn't find anyone who even had computers apart from the UN and some
of the bigger aid agencies, foreign companies etc.

Additionally, I am aware of several shipments of donated office
equipment that was turned away (and in one case thrown overboard)
because the government (or perhaps more often corrupt individuals) were
demanding that the donating organisations pay tax on the equipment, even
though it was for charity.

Not trying to throw doom and gloom onto the matter, but in some of these
places the reason things like Linux are below the radar is because their
ain't no radar! Additionally its not just publicity that they don't have
time for, most of the country is still operating at a bare subsitance

Having said that, certainly a bit further down the track Linux will be
the way to go, as they are far too poor to afford MS and MS capable
machines. I am also aware that in Australia there has been donations of
equipment etc to Timor, but I'm not sure where that stuff was going and
how it was being deployed.

As a side note, I also know that there are organistions operating in
Timor who send outdated equipment back 'home' and that requests to
donate the items in country have been turned down because of concerns
over an expectation that further support will be provided (Timor suffers
from a significant 'cargo cult' mentality, seeing many of the aid
organisations as cash cows, rather that assistance for development.)


More information about the linux-aus mailing list