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Home / Stories from the field

Open Source Software for Bulgarian NGOs

2003-12-22 12:35:27

In the middle of the 12th month since the start of the project ?Open Source Software for the Bulgarian NGOs,? we can say that this is a very successful project. As a main criterion for that, we take the execution of the main tasks we set for ourselves in the first year:

1. After detailed research and a series of tests, we collected and described a package of Open Source programs, which we united in one Linux distribution /ISLD 2.1/;

2. We created a teaching model for NGOs in Bulgaria and organized trainings for most of the organizations that wanted to participate in the project;

3. We installed Open Source software on the computers listed by the organizations, which sent participants in the trainings;

4. We organized various initiatives, which provoked public discussion on Open Source software, presenting to the Bulgarian society its advantages and the necessity for its use.

But project ?Open Source Software for the Bulgarian NGOs? achieved something more - we proved that even in a passive or even negatively inclined social environment, with an openly adverse and corrupted local administration, the situation can be changed with a few, but focused initiatives and with a strong argumentative position. The project catalyzed the development of the Association for Free
Software /www.fsa-bg.org/ and the Linux Society in Bulgaria /www.linux-bg.org/, which by cooperating with Interspace and the Red House gained confidence and established a more active position in popularizing the
values of Open Source software.

The social debate on using Open Source software also changed the position of the state administration. We have received an invitation for partnership from the Coordination Center for Information, Communication and Management Technologies because they are interested in developing a strategy for electronic government. Before the start of project ?Open Source Software for the Bulgarian NGOs? this was impossible ? mainly because of the very strong lobby of Microsoft in the state administration and because of the lack of knowledge of the possibility of using Open Source software in the administration and the educational system in the country.

Statistics for the first year:

Total Trained people: 76
Total PCs: 60
Total installations /including reinstalled/: 90
Distributed over 200 CD's with: Knoppix, Linux OS and Open Source tools for Windows
Distributed over 50 manuals /140 pages manual for InterSpace Linux Distribution/
Total Trained Organizations: 22 /all applied from Sofia NGO's/
Total RAM: 11734 MB
Total HDD: 1508 GB
Total CPU Mhz: 50897 Mhz

Organized events:

* Public presentation and promotion of the project
* Debate on the need for implementation of Open Source Software /OSS/
in the Public administration
* Openfest and Installfest
* Net User 2 International Conference with main focus on Open Source Software /OSS/

If you would like to learn more about Open Source in Bulgaria or InterSpace you may e-mail Kaladan at or check out their website at http://i-space.org/.

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