Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Help required!!

I have had a plan bubbling away for sometime to take care2x and KwaMoja and merge them together as one complete integrated package. I have written before about how KwaMoja and Care2x have been used in African hospitals, using the KwaMoja api to communicate between the two applications. Now my idea is to create a single open sourced application with a unified interface and a single login that can be rolled out across hospitals all over the continent.

However this requires resources which as ever are in short supply. To get good African programmers who can work full time on this project requires money.

My idea to raise this is to start a Kickstarter project to generate the funding. However I need some help, as a lot of this stuff requires marketing skills that I do not possess. For instance they say a promotional video is more or less essential to a successful project, but I do not have the first idea of how to create one.

There is no money to pay for these services up front, but if someone wants to volunteer (remember that KwaMoja and Care2x have been written by volunteers down the years) I could look to recompensing them later if and when the project gets funded, as a promotional video could be useful in pushing the final software to hospitals. Obviously anybody helping would also gain a lot of publicity for their skills.

If anyone is interested in helping this in any way, then please send me an email on

Thanks in advance!!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Africa and Open Source software

Africa is the most under represented continent when it comes to contributing to open source projects, yet it stands to gain the most of any continent from it. This seems so sad to me.

Why is this so?

There is a perception with many African developers I have met that Open Source is something done by rich western volunteers, in order to benefit people like themselves. There is a tendency to mix it up with the work of Save the children fund, or Oxfam. I have heard the following said many times: "I am an African I can't afford to be a volunteer". It is viewed as a resource to be taken from, but not to give back to.

This is not to say there are no African open source developers, just far fewer than there should be given the wealth of talent on the African continent.

Why should Africans should participate fully Open Source? 

There are two very obvious reasons why individuals can gain from fully participating in open source projects

Firstly by interacting with other programmers it is possible to increase your skill set in ways that would otherwise be impossible. Many of the worlds best programmers are involved in open source projects and are happy to mentor those who are new.

Secondly by contributing to open source projects you enhance your reputation globally. Most if not all the worlds big software companies monitor open source projects looking for talented programmers. In what other way could a student at an African university bring their talents to the attention of the likes of Google or Facebook? Open source show cases your skills.

Proposal to build an African software industry

So much for how contributing to open source can help individuals progress, but what about on a country level? Every year African countries spend millions of dollars on software licenses, almost all, if not all of this money is paid to western companies and none of this money ends up in the African economy. This is despite the fact that all the software necessary is available through open source. So my proposal is this:

I will use Uganda as my example here but this applies equally to any African country.

I propose that the largest university in Uganda (Makerere University) would create a Linux Distribution, based on one of the big distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Suse or Fedora. This would be branded for Uganda, and include any applications specific to Uganda, together with any local language translations. This distribution would be maintained by the university and would be used as the basis for their teaching, and funded by the government with money that would otherwise have gone abroad. It would be an excellent resource for all areas that are taught in the computer science department. Creating this is not a huge task as there is a large amount of documentation on this subject to be found on the web.

The distribution would contain all the applications needed, such as LibreOffice for word processing and spreadsheets, Firefox for web browsing etc.

The government would commit to moving all their computers to this distribution. If the city of Munich in Germany can achieve this I see no reason why Kampala can't.

The contracts to support the government departments would then be handed out to local support companies, who would have been trained in the distribution at the university. Thus the money instead of going to large American multinationals would stay in Uganda and would circulate within the Ugandan economy, making a sustainable Ugandan IT industry.

Private industry would see the increase in skills with Linux, and the consequent decrease in the skill levels in other operating systems. They would start to take the pragmatic decision to move to this Linux distribution.

We have seen recently how the big American corporations have been "encouraged" to give the security services back doors into their operating systems, allowing the likes of the NSA to view what is on the computers of anybody in the world using their operating systems. This would include (in theory) any member of the Ugandan government. Using a Ugandan operating system built in Uganda, with the code open to view would stop this happening.

So there it is, a simple recipe for creating a sustainable IT industry within Africa, keeping the money in Africa, and potentially exporting IT to the rest of the world, instead of constantly leaking the money out of the Africa. All of this could be achieved with the technology available now. All it takes the will in the government to make it happen. Lets put pressure on them to start making it happen today!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How the webERP community takes second place to Phil's vendetta

This page is written in response to the lies that +Phil Daintree has written about me, and spread on the internet. Despite years of searching he has been unable to find anything I have written that is untrue, and he has had to resort to vague generalities, faked emails, and badly fabricated screenshots (you can see the joins if you zoom in using any bit mapped image editor). +Phil Daintree is welcome to make any comments to these pages, as he has done in the past. If I agree with what he says I will amend my writings, if I do not agree I have allowed his comments to stand next to mine so that people can make their own judgements. I have every confidence in the intelligence of readers to make a sensible judgement based on the facts. +Phil Daintree  will not allow me the right of reply to any of the lies he has told about me. It seems to me significant that he realises that if people see both sides of the argument they will see through his lies.

Back at the end of July a user posted a bug report on the webERP forums ( As +Phil Daintree has made it so I am not allowed to help people on the forum I sent the user the fix privately and sent it on to +Phil Daintree

I also posted the fix to the nabble forum in order that the maximum number of users got the benefit of the fix.

Unfortunately +Phil Daintree refused to commit my bug fix, being happier that the community should use buggy software than recognise that I had fixed the bug. My post to the nabble forum was also taken down by +Phil Daintree  at the same time as the post about how many bytes a particular JavaScript function used.

The same user has now upgraded and found that 4.11 has over written the fix given to him (

Who suffers in this scenario? Not me, I have the fix. Not +Phil Daintree, or +Phil Daintree's paying customers, they too are given the fix. No the people he makes suffer are the webERP community who are denied the bug fixes I am supplying.

The project is being run to help +Phil Daintree in his vendetta against me rather than for the benefit of the community.

Come on +Phil Daintree step aside and let the community run this project!