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[News] IBM Brings Ubuntu GNU/Linux to Africa

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IBM and Canonical partner on software package for Africa

,----[ Quote ]
| The Wall Street Journal broke the story this morning of a 
| partnership between IBM and Canonical to provide a software 
| package for users of netbooks and other thin clients in 
| Africa. The package, which can be configured in several ways 
| to provide both netbook-based and cloud-based software, is 
| expected to drive new business for local partners by taking 
| advantage of open standards, file sharing, email, and social 
| network capabilities.


IBM Markets Wares to Africa

,----[ Quote ]
| International Business Machines Corp. will try to sell a new 
| package of low-priced computer desktop applications to 
| companies and governments in Africa, challenging Microsoft 
| Corp. and other rivals in the region.
| IBM, which has been pushing into developing markets like 
| Africa and Asia as mature markets slow, said the package -- 
| which includes basic programs like word processing and email 
| -- would be made available to customers via remote "cloud 
| computing" facilities, meaning users could access the programs 
| from the Web. It would cost $10 per month per user, and can 
| run on so-called netbook computers, or low-cost PCs priced 
| around $300.
| IBM is working in collaboration with London-based Canonical 
| Ltd., which makes Linux software and was started in South 
| Africa.



Weapon against epidemics: Cell phones

,----[ Quote ]
| Many global health institutions are now encouraging the use of advanced
| methodologies such as smart phones and open-source software as the next
| generation of data transmission, said Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, an
| informatics scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Ending Africa's Hunger

,----[ Quote ]
| The preference for private sector contributions to agriculture
| shapes the Gates Foundation's funding priorities. In a number
| of grants, for instance, one corporation appears repeatedly--
| Monsanto. To some extent, this simply reflects Monsanto's
| domination of industrial agricultural research. There are,
| however, notable synergies between Gates and Monsanto: both are
| corporate titans that have made millions through technology, in
| particular through the aggressive defense of proprietary
| intellectual property. Both organizations are suffused by a
| culture of expertise, and there's some overlap between them.
| Robert Horsch, a former senior vice president at Monsanto, is,
| for instance, now interim director of Gates's agricultural
| development program and head of the science and technology
| team. Travis English and Paige Miller, researchers with the
| Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, have
| uncovered some striking trends in Gates Foundation funding. By
| following the money, English told us that "AGRA used funds from
| the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to write twenty-three
| grants for projects in Kenya. Twelve of those recipients are
| involved in research in genetically modified agriculture,
| development or advocacy. About 79 percent of funding in Kenya
| involves biotech in one way or another." And, English says, "so
| far, we have found over $100 million in grants to organizations
| connected to Monsanto."
| This isn't surprising in light of the fact that Monsanto and
| Gates both embrace a model of agriculture that sees farmers
| suffering a deficit of knowledge--in which seeds, like little
| tiny beads of software, can be programmed to transmit that
| knowledge for commercial purposes. This assumes that Green
| Revolution technologies--including those that substitute for
| farmers' knowledge--are not only desirable but neutral.
| Knowledge is never neutral, however: it inevitably carries and
| influences relations of power.

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