Highlights — 12 July 2013 — by Adele Ramos

Starting Friday, July 12, the Belize Open Source Group – a team of software developers – will host the Central America Free Software Summit, an initiative which they say is being supported by the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology, and Public Utilities.

Emeli Noble, one of the Belize organizers, told Amandala that every year there is a summit held in Central America, and this year the Belize Open Source Group, which has participated in several such summits in the region, volunteered to host this year’s event.

“We have about 30-plus Central American people who are programmers and developers, who have come to Belize, and they are starting to give workshops at Sacred Heart College, free of cost to anyone who can come, Noble said.

Those who attend the training will learn about an alternative to Windows-based operating systems, she said.

The team, said Noble, encourage the use of open source software, which, she said, is much more secure and free of cost. Android devices, such as smartphones, also use an open source system, she added.

The main software they are promoting is Edubuntu, which is mostly geared toward schools that tend to use Windows. Noble said that there are a lot of pirated Windows programs being used in Belize, and the group is also trying to urge Belizeans to move away from pirated software with zero cost to them.

She said that Edubuntu is a linux-based system, and so the amount of infections from viruses that a computer tends to get is much less. This would greatly benefit schools, because it also means less downtime at computer labs, she added.

According to Noble, they have been working with the Rotary Club in Belize so that village schools can have greater computer access with this system in place. They are also working with Rotary on a new open source-based encyclopedia that would give those who don’t have access to the Internet the tools they need to research.

The Belize Open Source Group hopes that many will attend the summit, because more than 30 ICT-savvy programmers and software developers will be on-hand for the training, which concludes on Sunday, July 14.

According to Noble, guests can stay for as little or as much time out of those three days as they want.

She can be reached at 670-7422 or [email protected] for more information.

The open source website is www.softwarelibre.ca.

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