Opennigeria… the time is now!


It is comforting to know we have great software craftsmen who are passionate about what they do and are willing to make a change. The Nigerian software sector, though nascent, is slowly growing and gaining momentum. There are developer events, meetups, startups and competitions. However; despite several boot camps, developer meetups, hackathons and several cool products; there has been NO single EVENT to promote open source in Nigeria ( well, I don’t know of any yet… ).

Eek! It makes me cringe that we can’t boast of our own  Ubuntu and Ushahidi. Yes! It’s shameful! Africa‘s most populous black nation, several world-class software engineers, lots of mobile/web developers and designers and no open-source solution. What’s wrong? Don’t ask me; ask yourself.

How do we expect our ecosystem to develop when we have NOTHING to show off yet? Engaging in a native open-source project will give us the collaborative culture of problem solving and might have implications far outside the realm of software. Isn’t it enough that we are seen as contributing to knowledge and not just consumers? Moreover, it gives us the platform to prove the quality of our software… (no more jobs going to India? :D)

Why don’t we – Nigerian developers – come together and work on an open-source project that’ll provide solutions to some of the major problems Nigerians face? It could be in education, poverty alleviation, health, security or environmental monitoring. A way to authenticate malaria drugs? Great! Education through mobile-social platforms? Lovely!! Some crowdsourcing platform that’ll pay people to answer questions? Marvelous!!!

Revoda worked so we have the skills, the experience and the manpower to develop world-class IT solutions. The only question is “are we willing to make this change?”

Let’s build something great!!! Interested? Start a discussion in the comments. Else, please pass it on to someone who might be interested!

Thank you all for helping.

21 Comments

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  1. That you haven’t heard of any tech event doesn’t mean it’s not holding. I personally have been organizing Drupal Camps for the past three years and organized the first Cloud Camp in Africa in Lagos on the 27th of May this year (cloudcamp.org/lagos).

    Talking about collaboration, I have worked with a number of Nigerian developers and it’s shameful to say that we still have a lot to learn about team work/management as what most of them do is talk and there’s this clique/gang of thing within the community which is very disgusting.

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  2. Great work Ayoola; however one of the main issues is collaboration on a unique project we can give to the world.
    I know there are lot of events however there seem to be few end products.
    The goal is to get Nigerian developers to collaborate and produce open-source software. What do you think?

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  3. arrrrg!!! We have WAZOBIA linux since when again? 2006, 2007. I am even using it.
    As per collaboration….I have been collaborating since when again? 2008? Of late I am working with a Nigerian to build an erlang based SMPP gateway, something similar to kannel.

    I am the leader of Nigerian JUG, we are organizing a 2 day workshop in Unilag, it will hold on 28th and 29th of October. I have another friend who have been hosting python events for ages.

    Ol’boy Nigerians dey do things, all you need do is ask.

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    • Nice to know; heard about WAZOBIA in 2006; so what happened to that project? Is it still alive? Good work on the SMPP gateway;

      I checked the WAZOBIA site and there seems to be nothing telling developers how to contribute code.

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  4. Great try bro. At least you are asking questions! Positive. I have been around the software thing for some 12/12 years now. Maybe I am at the opposite end from you.. thinking so much is happening!

    Like we see.. perspectives are always from individual standpoints! Kindly check http://www.ispon.org/nsc/
    http://www.osfon.org.ng
    http://www.idlelo.net

    Do you know of MoMO Nigeria? Guys who are doing mobile dev

    On your own personal level, what are you willing to contribute? What can you do? Some of us put in 5 – 7 hours a day for community advancement..

    Just saying

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  5. You people are not touching where its itching!

    The answer is that Nigerian Developers won’t engage much in building free/opensource projects due to entrepreneurial and propriety needs not yet fulfilled.

    Which of the few Developers that we have would dedicate fully to build something that pays little when they are massively needed by corporations to build things that sells and pays more?

    Nigeria will not see that any time soon, until the propriety business gets saturated.

    To cut it short, Developers are actually running to where the pay is for now… Until when that gets chocked, then we’ll see a shift.

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  6. Nice, Abdul. We’re starting small but we’ll get there someday. It may not just work for Nigeria the way it works elsewhere, we just need to carve our own niche and find what suits us.

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  7. I guess this was more of a rant post written out of a frustration of not seeing so much collaboration and contributions by Nigerian developers but I think you’re bit wrong there. A quick search on collaboration platforms like Github and Bitbucket will reveal much. There are Nigerians doing a lot of open source work – may be not as much as there should be but it does exist.

    My organization has made contributions to the RapidSMS (http://www.rapidsms.org/) project and quite a number of other open source projects and I know a handful other developers (personally) that do as well.

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  8. Interesting topic we have here, i have leant a lot from the comments didn’t know we had so much going on already in the world of Open source. I was particularly interested in the “Wazobia” linux distro but from the site i can see the founders intend to make it a one man show thing and the is no room for community style development hence it doesn’t qualify as a open source project.

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  9. Awesome post, thought-provoking comments, great job guys! Unfortunately, no one seem to have address what in my own view, is the fundamental challenge – Patent! If I team up with a few guys and we create an amazing ‘stuff’ that in our own minds would change the way we do things, how do we protect such intellectual property that even if we do decide to throw it open, contributors will show some acknowlegement?
    I work everyday on Apache and other Open Source tools boy, patent is the fundamental thing we consider. If we can’t acknoledge it, we simply don’t use it. Because the courts are there and are ‘unbribable’.
    Lots of folks in naija have got dreams, and thus hold several events to pitch thier ideas and get people on board, but sorry to acknolege, we have a looooooooooooong way to go when it comes to team work. It’s not our fault though, but that which i call…”the fault of our ancestors” – “respect” whoever is older than you. Will leave that to us to ponder how much sense that makes…

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  10. Well…Abdul fatah raised a very strong issue that affects us as a nation…but i feel d major problem is what someone said earlier about people coding or developing to make money….poverty is ravaging this country n its not paving way for collaboratns. People are also skeptical about sharing thier ideas with another person but i feel as time goes on, there will be changes in d way people perceive thngs with d help of programs like MoMo, enough publicity n awareness of such programs n r encouraged to attend. GOD BLESS NIGERIA

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  11. This post has helped open up information about Nigeria tech projects I never heard about. Like @fowe said in Ife on thursday we need to “make noise” about our products whether for profit or not. Better days ahead for us all.

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