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[News] South Africans Say Corpo-Government Harms Free(dom) Software

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Govt regulations threaten innovation, free software, say opponents 

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| Keats and the African Commons project are not alone in their concerns over 
| the IP regulations. Eve Gray, honorary research associate in the Centre for 
| Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town writes on her blog 
| that “the Regulations (that are) designed to enforce - and ‘force’ is an 
| appropriate word here - are some 30 years out of date and completely out of 
| tune with the way research is being conducted in the world’s leading 
| universities in the 21st century, with high levels of collaboration.”      
| Similarly, Andrew Rens, legal lead of Creative Commons, South Africa and 
| Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, says that the regulations 
| are “unworkable” and “unconstitutional”.  



Microsoft muscles in on Unisa students

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| Students at the correspondence-based University of South Africa (Unisa) will
| be required to sign up for a Microsoft-provided email address before they are
| able to receive correspondence from the university.
| The required email address is part of the first phase to build the MyLife
| portal to foster a “sense of belonging” among students, the university says.
| Phase two of the project will see the university encouraging students to use
| other “Microsoft live services such as social networking facilities … online
| file storage, and Office Live workspace”.


We’re more committed to ODF than ever: SA government

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| Open standards are critical in ensuring that the South African government
| both avoids vendor lock-in and promotes democracy. This is according to South
| Africa’s minister of home affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
| In a prepared speech for the opening of the recent Second International ODF
| conference in Pretoria, Mapisa-Nqakula said that the department of home
| affairs was “forging ahead to make open standards a priority” to ensure
| future ability to process and share documents “using formats which have
| significant impact on the efficiency, interoperability and accessibility of
| public services”.


ODF Workshop in South Africa

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| I attended last week’s ODF Workshop in South Africa, and I really enjoyed the
| event. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people who work with ODF in
| governments around the world, exchange experiences on migration, talk about
| the new features on ODF 1.2 and talk a lot about other things that I really
| appreciate as interoperability and open standards adoption worldwide.
| Brazil was represented by Paul Maia, from Caixa Economica Federal and Carlos
| Machado of SERPRO. I had the opportunity to make a brief presentation about
| the main features of ODF 1.2 that we’re developing at the OASIS ODF TC.

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