Open Source in the Arab world

Open Source can become an integral part of our lives in the Arab World by helping us to be more developed in one of the most important fields which are: Education, Research & Business.

In the education field, adopting an Open Source way of work can help students get access to knowledge and technology at very low prices and for free in most cases. In the Arab World, not everyone has a good level in English (or French for the MENA region), and because Arabic content in the web is still very poor, a lot of students can be stopped from accessing to knowledge. So Let’s take just one minute to imagine this situation: What if students and teachers in the Arab World had a way to easily share their knowledge in Arabic and thus help billion of people to access it all over the world. What if they could also use educational tools to do this without having to pay for them (or at least not very much).

Open source can be very useful in making such tools that people can customize like they want and adapt them to what they need, so they can use it to share their knowledge and learn new things.

So if we need technological tools to do that, there has to be developers to make them. And that’s the point with “Research”. If we (as IT geeks and developers) stop having as our first objective to make money, and think more about innovation and how we can use our knowledge to develop new things and specially help the others do the same. Adopting Open Source in universities for examples can help students create communities that will be exploring new ways and create such a competition between them that will lead to innovation. So starting to use Open Source as a way of working and thinking can really push everyone in the IT domain to do better and therefore will have such a benefit for our countries by having less brain-drain and thus helping them be better in both social and economical way by having more start-ups. And this is my last point in this essay.

If university students have this way of thinking and this kind of competition, we will have certainly more start-ups and thus improve our economy. Students will have more things to show through their innovative products. So, this has of course another benefit. When making a start-up, people often have to buy expensive products to do the basic things. But when using Open Source products, they’ll never need that. Those kind of products are already there with very low prices or free and they can customize them as they want depending on their needs. In addition to that, imagine if we expand this open source way of thinking to governments, costs will be reduced in a huge way. Administrations and public school will get access to technology by using open source tools – that can even be made by their compatriot.

 The Arab World is really needing something to push it forward and regain its ancient rank between the powerful countries at least in science and education, and Open Source can be one of the most effective way to do this without countries having to pay very much. So for when an “Open Source” Revolution?

Amine Zafri picture

My name is Amine Zafri, I’m a product designer & web developer from Morocco. I worked previously at Facebook in London as a Product Design Intern, and I recently designed & helped build… more

↑ Back to top