WSIS - Open source from the vending machine

Free and open source software is available through a vending machine in South Africa.

It looks like a vending machine but what it spits out is something far removed from Coke or candy: free and open source software (FOSS).

The bright orange, refrigerator-size vending machine is equipped with a computer inside that burns CDs, a process also known as "toasting" in the open source community, hence the name: Freedom Toaster.

The machine is up and running in more than 30 locations in South Africa, including schools, libraries, science centers and retail outlets, according to The Shuttleworth Foundation, which is sponsoring the project.

Launched in 2004, the project has been gaining "considerable momentum" in recent months, a foundation spokesperson said.

The device was developed by foundation member Jason Hudson.

Founder Mark Shuttleworth, a prominent figure in the GNU/Linux community, is currently funding the development of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system.

Through a touch screen interface, users can obtain for free nearly 20 FOSS programs, including Linux, Ubuntu, Firemonger and Knoppix. All they need are blank CDs.

On-screen information is available about the software users have selected, including how many CDs they'll need to copy it onto. If they don`t have enough, they can quit and return later. Some locations offer CDs for sale at a nearby stores.

With its Freedom Toaster, the foundation aims to help people in areas with limited or no bandwidth available to download the software.

The foundation cites the Internet World Stats Report from July, which lists Africa with only 1.8 percent Internet penetration.

Additional information about Freedom Toaster is available at: http://www.freedomtoaster.org.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Blau

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?