THE whole world is moving to open source software. Every week I read online about another government moving over from proprietary soft­ware to some type of open format. Even the South African government has announced that they will start to implement open source software in the future.

Programmes like OpenOffice which has a spreadsheet (like Excell), a presentation component (like PowerPoint), Writer (like Microsoft Word) and other components are available online and is free to download, use and distribute.


These programmes are used more and more in business and yet for some strange reason I have not seen any institution which offers training programmes for these applications. In a year or two most government departments will be using these free programmes and the users would have been trained on commercial programmes.

Is it not time that schools, universities and other training institutions install these free programmes and start to train students to use them? The advantage is that students/users are able to download and install these programmes on their own computers legally. Students usually do not have thousands of rands to spend on software packages and using free software will empower these students to reach new heights.

As an example I can can give you Mark Shuttleworth. When at university he used free open source software to build the company which he sold for millions.

I know that many people feel that if they do not pay for a product it is of poor quality, and this may be true in many cases, but with the Open Source Community growing each and every day this is no longer the case.