Upstream University
[ English | French ]

AAUL meeting at LSM

The AAUL is the Association Africaine des Utilisateurs de Logiciels Libres (Free Software Users African Association). The second L is missing from the acronym. The organization used the LSM meeting as an opportunity to report what was done during the past year. The session was entitled Libre software for development and presented by Pierre Ouédraogo and Augustin Ido.

At the end of the session and after a discussion with Pierre Ouédraogo it became quite clear that the AFSM, the FSF and the FSF Europe should work with the AAUL so that it can match the goals and the philosophy of the Free Software movement. Pierre Ouédraogo said that the use of the Linux buzzword in the names of organizations or activities became problematic and that it should be replaced by Free Software because this is what AAUL is really about. We also discussed a bit about the problems triggered by a strategy that focuses too much on the price advantage of Free Software.

Here is a report of what was said during the conference.

Pierre Ouédraogo: Born last year, the AAUL focuses on using Free Software instead of non free software for license cost reason. Shortly after its creation courses for African countries were proposed and gave us the opportunity to meet other countries. We found only one organization: LPA Linux Professional Association in south africa. Some countries asked us to help them to setup an organization. At the end of 2000 we continued, for instance in Botzwana and during a meeting in Los Angeles. There was no quick return from our action, except in French speaking countries.

We were in a situation where the AAUL could not be supported by associations. The name was problematic because it cannot be pronounced in foreign language, we will change it.

AAUL has contacts in the following countries, organizations already exists in some of them.
  • Senegal, ASUL (represented)
  • Mauritania, being created (represented)
  • Mali, AMUL-Mali (represented)
  • Guinea, AGUIPOPROLL (represented)
  • Niger, AN3L (represented)
  • Togo, ATULL (represented)
  • Ivory Coast, AI3L
  • Cameroun, AC3L
  • Gabon, AG3L (represented)
  • Burkina Faso, ABU (represented)
  • Madagascar, AMUL-MG (represented)
  • Burundi, being created (represented)
  • Moroco, ?
  • Algeria, ?
  • South Africa, AFSM (represented)
  • Benin, ?
  • Tunisia, ?
  • Congo RDC, ?
  • Central Africa, ?
  • Rwanda, ?
  • Comores, ?
  • Maurice, ?

We want to raise the question of the portal, on the model of Linux Africa that should be open in two weeks. We would build the portal on top of it. We will mainly list links to national organizations. Because of linguistic problems it will develop slowly. The objective of the Linux Africa is to gather 20 countries in the next year.

During AFNOR (meeting about Internet and new technologies) in May 2002 we will have an AAUL meeting. That would be the first meeting of the AAUL with, hopefully 1/3 of the countries. It is likely to be a west africa meeting.

If you have information about existing Linux organizations, don't hesitate to tell us. We were in a meeting in Tunisia on the subject of Free Software for electronic commerce and nobody told us about the organization promoting Linux that exists.

We see many administrations, in Senegal and Mauritania for instance, that switch to Free Software and the movement is accelerating. In Gabon the intranet of the finance ministry will use Free Software. The education on Free Software should be re-enforced technically and in security. In the past month we made a course on Linux-2.4 and netfilter to setup a firewall at a reduced price. There are 18 teacher in all the countries that are available to provide courses. In order for the students to be able to get knowledge, they should learn about Free Software so that they will be able to write some instead of just using them.

Everybody in the room: speak shortly (less than 1 minute) to explain who they are and what they do.

Loïc Dachary: the Free Software Foundation in every country is very willing to cooperate with existing organizations in order to promote the Free Software movement in Africa. We see as very important to promote the values of freedom and independence that Free Software can bring while we see the problem of price as secondary. This is a question of strategy: by focusing too much on the price question the most important points are forgotten and the Free Software movement becomes more vulnerable. For instance a large corporation making non free software could offer free licenses during three years to a given country in order to capture the users. If the arguments promoting Free Software are based on values of freedom and independence, the corporations will not be able to use that strategy to counter balance the Free Software movement.

Augustin Ido reports about the connectivity problems in Africa and the solutions that are being worked on.

Loïc Dachary

Upstream University
GCC farm
Erasure Code Patent StreamScale
Copyright (C) 2003-2011, FSF France, 12 boulevard Magenta, 75010 Paris, France
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
Mis à jour: $Date: 2003-02-28 16:16:22 +0100 (Fri, 28 Feb 2003) $ $Author: loic $