Dr. Chandra then gave a presentation on Software Foundation Fiji by showing its website and discussed its aims and goals. “Our vision is basically to uplift ICT in Fiji” he added. “We would like to reach the Government Departments, Ministry of Education, NGO’s, Schools and Universities and seek help from them in creating awareness of ICT and uplift the quality of education in Fiji, ” he added. ” We wish to create a professional network of IT experts who are in Fiji and from who have migrated overseas. Once this network is created, those who have migrated can come and present seminars and workshops and help in Fijis’ development. he added. He then discussed the major events of the foundation which included Linux Workshops, Internet Safety and Security Workshop, Poster Competition, Essay Competition, and Gaming competition and other Fundraising activities and Social Events.
Dr. Chandra then presented the research focus of the foundation where a computing research centre is planned. It will demonstrate that Fiji has the experts to build an ICT hub that can attract companies from overseas. “The foundation is also planning to launch a ‘Computer Reuse Program’ which will collect unused and old computers and refurbish and load Light Ubuntu Linux Systems and distribute to schools and provide training to teachers for free. It needs sponsorship form Donors, Government and the Industry to make these events possible.” Dr. Chandra then emphasised that the goal of Software Foundation Fiji is also to advocate and train the public on ICT, which includes some of the mostly used proprietary software such as Windows and Mac.
He said, “Currently the focus of the foundation has been on FOSS as it is needed in a developing country, but that does not mean that one should leave their Windows machines and migrate completely. Software Foundation Fiji promotes all types of software. ”
The workshop ended with a demonstration by Mr. Faraaz Mustapha on the installation of Ubuntu Linux System alongside of existing Windows systems in desktops and laptops. Dr. Chandra thanked all the instructors and the participants and said, “If you are not comfortable in installing the Linux system, please contact us for help. Software Foundation members will install it in your desktops and laptops for free.” He said that the foundation needs support from the industry, government departments and Ministry of Education in order to reach is aims and objectives.
Software Foundation President, Mr. Kush Singh briefed the participants in the closing speech “Now that you have attended this workshop, please inform your family members and friends about this workshop, Linux and FOSS.”
Mr. Neil Maharaj who is the Project Officer at Fiji Council of Social Services and trustee of the foundation was not present at the workshop. He was contacted and he viewed the workshop as a positive development for the foundation and its relation with the University of Fiji. Mr. Maharaj said, ” The events of the Software Foundation Fiji will impact on the ICT industry in Fiji. We will seek help from volunteers and donors in fulfilling the aims and goals of the foundation.”
The participants who were then interviewed gave positive comments. Mr. Alvin Prasad who is an Assistant Lecturer at University of Fiji said that the workshop was interesting and he looks forward for another workshop so that more students and staff from the University can participate. Moreover, he said that the Linux and other FOSS software will improve the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Information Technology.