Ghana’s Soft trumps Microsoft

BBC has an encouraging for all the software companies competing against Microsoft.

Starting with a battered old personal computer in his bedroom, Mr Hesse developed Ghana’s own software firm which, for the moment at least, is holding Microsoft at bay.

“No, no, we only use Soft,” says the hotel receptionist where I am staying, when I ask if they use Microsoft. The shops around Accra say the same.

“We’re taking it industry by industry,” Mr Hesse says, who has already designed e-SuSu software for microfinance projects and the Ndua system for Ghana’s timber industry.

Then, of course, there are the plans to expand into wider Africa, with business partnerships already set up in Nigeria, the Gambia, Senegal and Kenya.

“Technology is the only way for Africa to get rich,” Mr Hesse says, “we don’t have a proper infrastructure and we can’t compete in manufacturing…”

“But if you put me behind a PC and tell me to write software for a Chinese customer, then I can compete brain for brain with anyone trying to do the same thing in the US.”

Linux in Corporates

As Linux moves into corporate mainstream, InfoWorld looks at the challenges it faces – calling it “Adolescent Angst”. Needed: more business applications running on Linux.

So where will Linux grow? Over the next year, most execs surveyed plan to continue using Linux as an operating system for database management, Web or intranet servers, application development, and network file-and-print services. Less than a third plan to run enterprise apps on Linux, about the same as a year ago. In the past, the Linux movement was driven by “the Linux faithful,” more than by technical capability, analyst Gillen says. As Linux matures, the ranks of believers are being diluted by people who think about Linux simply as a business tool. “The general business user doesn’t look at Linux as a religious statement,” he says.

And users don’t want their choice of operating system to require a leap of faith. So expect them to continue exhibiting more care and caution and doing more testing and cost-benefit calculations as they consider deploying Linux more extensively.