Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Guido Sohne is my Role model.

     No nation can produce all the technology that it needs for social progress no matter the level of their civilization. Given this ground, it then follows that the point of view, held by some scholars, that Africa is nothing to write home about when it comes to technological innovation does not hold sway. Guido Sohne dedicated his life to nothing less than transforming Africa and writing software, that remains the great technology hope for Africa, educated Africans agree. With only a cheap laptop and a Web connection, young Africans can compete with the best of the rest in the world. With the press of their keyboard, they can obliterate distance and deliver their code to customers around the world. That vision captivates Sohne, who is a forceful advocate for home-grown software. While his aspirations are typical, his story is unusual. Raised in Accra, Ghana, Sohne excelled in school, won admittance as an undergraduate to Princeton University and then showed his stubborn rebellious streak. He dropped out and returned to Ghana.
     Guido Sohne suggested a realistic approach. 'The most important of which are avoiding dependence on technology single source by leveraging free software and open standards coupled with finding ways to address the cost and control of information pipes', said Guido. The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development seems astonishing." (Wong, Sayo, 2003).  Guido Sohne believed that the way forward for advancement in technology was the collaborative use of open source technologies. Africa is on the move, and software and technologies are a powerful tool to boost economic growth and poverty reduction. ICT increase efficiency, provide access to new markets or services, create new opportunities for income generation and improving governance and give poor people a voice. Taking into account Africa’s complexity and diversity, specific interventions are required. Sohne tried mightily to build open-source software organizations in Ghana and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. He certainly raised awareness of Linux and the importance of sharing code.
      Guido was in management at a large software company, handling the company's Open Source and Linux strategy for 52 countries in Africa. He codes in over 20 computer languages and has previously been one of the founding members of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa, on the editorial board of the largest peer-reviewed journal on the Internet, FirstMonday, was responsible for the first Open Source project in West Africa (and possibly in sub-Saharan Africa as well) and won awards for creating two of Africa's top fifty websites. He has made minor contributions to OSS projects like the Linux Cross Reference tool, RedHat's Interchange e-commerce system, Ruby's Rannotate and JavaScript and Ruby implementations of a 2D barcode system, DataMatrix aka Semacode.
     Guido Sohne died in Nairobi Kenya in May,2008. He was 35 years.I am posting this blog on his birth day 23rd May.My name is Raindolf Owusu.I was awarded in March this year by FOSSFA ( Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa ) as a Guido Sohne Fellow in Abuja,Nigeria.I am so glad to have received his Fellowship and I'm still working hard to bring to reality his technological visions. This is my website  I was blessed and humbled to meet his mother and father on his birthday today. Guido Sohne shall forever be a computer programming legend.