Joachim Breitner's Homepage
While thinking how to spread Free Software in Ghana more effectively I noticed some important factor: Internet cafés. On the one hand they are for most people the first contact to comuters (in contrast to Europe or US, where it's probably the family or school computer), so getting Linux on there would make a difference. On the other hand, for them a Linux system is a very viable choice: Cheap per computer (although in Ghana the argument reads “legal”, not “cheap”), provides good software for the usual internet café’s user’s needs (browsing, word processing, chatting) and is very suitable to be locked down and run safely.
There are a lot of internet cafés in Ghana, at least in the Accra Region, but most of the people that run these are not he most advanced computer users, so they just go the seemingly simple road: Windows on clients and servers, and probably some software like CyberCafe, also pirated, for the accounting and the computer lockdown.
My idea this evening was: Would it be possible to create something like Skolelinux, just for internet cafés? A CD that the owner of the café just puts in what’s meant to be the server and boots, answers a few questions, and a second CD for the clients where he does not have to answer any questions, and what he gets is a complete system with approximately these features:
- Workstations locked down to a sane level, while still allowing the typical uses like accessing USB drives etc.
- Complete pre-paid accounting system, where at the management workstation the owner prints little password papers for a certain amount of time, and using these the customer can login and browse the net/use the computer for the specified time.
- If possible, integrated accounting of printing and CD writing.
- Easy to use interface for the customer.
If such a distribution already exists, I’d like to hear about it. If not, it might be an interesting project for the Linux Accra User Group or OpenGhana.org. If successful, this might help Free Software gaining mind share in developing countries big time. Of course I’m also very interested in comments from those who read this through planet.openghana.org.