Well, it has been 4 months since cybera 1.9.rc1 came out, and lately I have
been getting worried mails asking when the next release was due. Have no
fear, here it is!
The main reason behind the longer period between the two releases is that I
have a real job that is taking up more of my time now. I started Cybera in
2004 when working full time in Africa as a technical assistant to local
NGOs. In that capacity, the development of Cybera was part of my job and I
could spend a lot of time on it.
This is no longer the case now that I am back in Europe and have gone back
to my main job in IT R&D.
This means that from now on I will be spending much less time on Cybera and
more making a living. This also means that any time I do spend on Cybera
will come out of my spare time, so I need to juggle Cybera and having a
private familly life :)
When I published Cybera as a sourceforge project it was mostly in order to
provide a simple (well not so simple any more) cyber cafe management system
for small cyber cafes. In developing countries, cyber cafes are appearing
but the general business model is bad because 1) fixed overhead is generall=
very high (electricity, phone bills, etc), 2) competition plentiful and 3)
technical knowledge, so crucial for maintenance is either non existant or
provided at extortionate prices. The bottom line is that, in my experience
of Burkina Faso, investing lagre amounts of money in the software needed to
run the cyber cafe is not realistic. For this reason I published Cybera as
open source. This said, I also activated the Sourceforge donation system an=
any donations made to the project (none have been made to date) will be
entirely used in aid of the original Cybera user: Association Tin Tua.
Cybera was developed in Burkina Faso, West Africa for a local NGO (Non
Governmental Organisation) called Tin Tua (www.tintua.org) wishing to
facilitate the access to information for the young.
In small and medium African towns, Internet access is as expensive as
slow... if existent at all. Only people working for companies or big NGOs
have Internet access. People get information through the governmental TV,
radios and more rarely newspapers. Young rural Africans are often excluded
from the Web and have no idea of the amount of information and knowledge
available. In order to train the young in the usage of new technology, Tin
Tua decided in 2004, with the financial help of a Canadian NGO (www.2tiers.=
to build cyber cafes. These are equipped with 4 to 7 second hand computers
and a young manager running the business and training people. When looking
of Internet cafe software I found that most were expensive and not adapted
to the local context so I developed Cybera (since October 2004). Presently,
Tin Tua is running 2 cybercafes and would like to open another in a very
small town called Bilanga in the north east of Burkina Faso. Any donations
to Cybera will be used to help fit out this and subsequent Cyber cafes.
Regards to all,