9.6 Participation of Ethiopia in FLOSS

Ethiopia faces the same challenges as other developing countries when it comes to participation in the FLOSS community. In centres of higher learning in Ethiopia there are people with sufficient knowledge to contribute to FLOSS. Internet access is congested because of a low bandwidth international connection, but this will improve in the near future if the plan to connect to the EASSy cable comes true.

The current participation in FLOSS project by Ethiopians are related to internationalisation and localisation. The work that is supported by the GFF are examples of such. Another project is being lead by Dr. Dawit Bekele at AAU. Dr. Dawit together with a team of three other participants have made a prototype localisation of OpenCMS into Amharic. OpenCMS is a Content Management System (CMS) written in Java. The previously mentioned Daniel Yacob is an interesting person in the Ethiopian localisation community. Daniel Yacob is the responsible person for localisation of Gnome and Open Office, as well as a number of localisation software hosted on the GFF website. He has also involved himself in the localisation of the Ubuntu Linux distribution.

A project which is not software related, but is through information sharing in the spirit of FLOSS, is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia. All the articles in this encyclopedia is made and edited by voluntary participation. Anybody can by default make or edit articles in this encyclopedia. Mechanism are in place to censor out illicit content and behaviour, and to mark articles according to its quality. This extremely low barrier to editing articles have worked well to provide a lot of information, but a critical sense is needed. Then again a critical sense is an asset even when dealing with more authoritative sources. The Wikipedia project aims to have articles in all languages, and have facilitated this. The Amharic Wikipedia have 274 articles as of April 2006. The Wikipedia for other languages used in Ethiopia have barely any content at this time.