An ecosystem approach to FOSS policy failure in the South African government

During August of 2013, I participated in the Congresso Internacional de Software Livre e Governo Eletrônico (Consegi) conference in Brasilia, Brazil. One of my presentations was a rather long one, dealing with FOSS policy failure in the South African government. The long title was in fact, “Creating Free and Open Source Software(FOSS) ecosystems to facilitate FOSS implementation in organizations: a fresh look at policy failure in the SA government”.

This was 2013, it was the height of the Zuma years, the South African government had been invited, but did not turn up. Even the ambassador, who I spoke to on the phone and was going to come to the event, eventually simply did not show up. It showed how little our government cared about one of the policies that it has shown much pride in in earlier years. But then, everything was Zumafied, and FOSS policy was just a manifestation of that.

One wonders, now that we are moving beyond the Zumafication years, with massive corruption and state capture, whether our FOSS policy can be rekindled.  Perhaps it could be in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), where free and open thinking could have a positive impact on our ability as a nation to claim some of the new technology developments. It need not be just software, free and open can apply to anything.