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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Use Open Source to fight poverty - Odum

Finland-based Nigerian Chief Technology Officer of WoodGong Communications, Mr. Sunny Odum has advocated for the adaptation of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the country, saying that it’s truly free.

“Free and Open Source is truly what the name implies,” he said, stressing that in a developing country like Nigeria, there is need to tap into FOSS in order to alleviate poverty.

“Granted that we in the developing world is so scared to copy technologies from the developed world, are we also not capable of using FOSS that we are even encouraged to rip and use, hook, line and sinker?” he wondered.

Mr. Odum in a paper entitled “Global Economic Turmoil, Free and Open Source Software and Nigerian Information Technological Development” made available to ITRealms Online, said that people in the developing country like Nigeria, “need not pay a dime on software if they adopt, adapt and develop FOSS.”

In accordance with FOSS philosophy, he quipped, “What can we not do: from desktop to servers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platforms to super computers.”

Lamenting that in 2004, Nigerian software import was reported to be about US $1 billion, pointing out that this kind of fund could be channeled to vital infrastructural development.

For him, he did not see the reason why a country like Nigeria that is blessed with abundant human resource cannot optimize technology for poverty eradication, noting that technology is not god and does not reside in any where.

“Technology does not belong to anyone. Technology is everywhere. In fact, techné is the art or process or know-how or means to an end or outcome. Technology is derived from the Greek word techné, which could as a matter of fact be originally Egyptian,” he asserted.

Mr. Odum emphasized that technology is a mere combination of articulation of thinking and organized process of reaching a pre-determined outcome or solution.
“Therefore, from time immemorial, technology has accompanied even the most primitive of humanity and many animals. So, what is this fallacy about technology transfer? Is it not possible that one human being or animal can copy another human being or animal?” he said.

Odum further cited an instance that when A copies the knot tying skill of B, has B transferred his skill to A?

“Is there a technology transfer between A and B?,” he assumed.

Hence, he did not see any qualms in Nigerians copying existing technologies even when the nation is too reluctant to develop its own?

“Again, Nigeria is endowed with huge population and human resources, massive raw materials and excellent weather conditions. What is stopping intelligent Nigerians from developing or copying existing technologies to eradicate poverty in Nigeria?” Odum asked.

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