Open source is one of the most active movements in IT today. Linux and Apache power more Web Sites than does Windows and IIS. Linux is most probably more secure than Windows and many other operating systems. As an added benefit linux is FREE.
If Linux and open source is growing rapidly worldwide why is it not doing so in Egypt. Well the answer is simple, piracy.
Yes one of the main reasons for many corporations to use Linux is that it is cheaper than windows. But when windows is free ( by piracy ) why switch?
You can say that there are many corporations in Egypt that use original software and pay for it and still they do not switch to Linux even for their servers and infer that the demand for Linux is not there in Egypt, but then you would be oversimplifying things. The real reason is that since end users and hobbyists use Microsoft products and pay nothing, they have no incentive to try Linux. Having no incentive, to try Linux reduces the number of people that know not only how to install and run Linux but even know that it exists.
This is seriously affecting Egypt’s ability to compete in the international market for IT related jobs and contracts. Linux is growing. Most web servers use and depend on open source programs.
What can be done to promote Linux in Egypt.
There are only a few viable venues to promoting Linux in Egypt on the long run. The educational system is the most effective of such venues. Universities have to embrace the use of open source and promote its learning, this will attack the problem at the roots. Open source software should be used not only in computer science but also in all engineering disciplines. This will on the long run create an entire generation that is well versed in Linux and other opens source programs. Computer science proffers should also encourage the students to not only use but actually participate in the writing of open source projects, many of which accept volunteers from any part of the globe and use the Internet as a collaboration medium.
The other possible venue for increasing the penetration of Linux and other open source technologies is the government. Government IT requests for proposals should suggest Linux and open source software as a viable and preferable solution. Governments specifically should prefer to use Linux to the other closed source operating systems since strategically in a time of war it is beneficial to have the flexibility and ability to change and patch you operating system even if embargoes are put or if closed source operating system help waring governments by providing access to your computing resources by their proprietary knowledge of the operating system. It is thus imperative that mission critical military computer server run on open source platforms and that the military should train it IT to better understand and be able to study the source of OS software to check it for security holes in a way that is impossible to do with closed source software. Even if gradually large closed source companies like Microsoft will open their source to governments for inspection, Linux will be a better alternative since its source is more adaptive since it is a product of thousands of opinions of people rather than the strategic brain child of a single corporation with commercial goals.
There are a few Linux distributions today that you can try that have close to 80% arabization. Search around and you will find. One of these is located at www.arabeyes.org.
Remember that the open source revolution is bid and fast and is thus a perfect opportunity.