Ask the CEO of a large multinational organization in Ghana whether his company uses Open Source software and his answer will most likely be, No. Ask the techies at the same organization whether they use any Open Source software and from time to time, you'll hear, Yes!However, even though Ghana's usage of Open Source software follows the pattern that is seen in many other places there is a distinct lack of adoption of Open Source from within the developer community in Ghana.
In February 2014, Edem Kumodzi and myself paired to give a presentation on Django Programming framework at Google Developer Day. The plan was to spend about 30 minutes on the slides talking about the advantages of django , features , popularity of python and a short demo on a site I built with Django then spend the remaining one hour on a practical hands on session with the participants. Our first part of the presentation went really well but the practical session was an interesting one. Before getting our hands dirty with the codes, we first had to make sure our participants had installed all the prerequisites eg python and to our surprise about 85% of the developers were running windows operating system and the remaining 15% running linux ( eg Ubuntu , Fedora , MACOS ). We spent about 50 minutes of the one hour trying to set up the machines of the windows users for django development. As for the linux users it was quite easy since they had python pre-installed. This is normal i guess ? Yes it is normal for everybody else to use windows but for software developers it is not. Linux operating systems are the best when it comes to advanced web and software development. After the event i came to the realization that there is a big problem and we have to go back to the drawing board and get everyone interested in free software and open source development.
Why Open source ?
Jon “Maddog” Hall (In the picture on your left) Executive Director of Linux International also said there are many good reasons for governments to be running open source software, the primary reason being security. He cautioned, however, that “security is about more than just keeping secrets safe. We have to ask the question ‘can our government systems survive if our software systems collapse?’ If you’re depending on a particular company to run your government and you don’t have access to the source code you don’t have security.”
Open source development is limited in Ghana because programmers are too busy trying to earn a basic living than to donate their time to creating open source code. The main carriers of open source in Ghana will be senior devs like Alfred Rowe ( Senior Ruby dev ) , Saya guys ( Robert and Badu ) and many more starups building software on complete open source technology stack. The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), Ghana's first Advanced Information Technology Institute is the only institute that runs open source operating systems completely ,from their administrator computer to the students and in this way they do microsoft a big disservice.