I'm catching up on my podcast backlog, and listened to Episode 62 of Spark
from a couple weeks ago. On of the segments in this show focuses on a computer virus pandemic is Sierra Leone. Evidently, the availability of computers has increased dramatically in recent years since the end of the civil war. Software, though, is hard to come by. Street prices are exorbitant for even pirated copies of commercial software. Much of this software is virus-laden, and the cost of commercial anti-virus software puts it out of reach.
They also mentioned that many of the computers are provided by NGOs. While they come pre-loaded with software, when problems develop with the computers, the software has to be reloaded. It's at this point that they have to turn to pirated software, because they don't have the ability to reinstall the software that came on the devices.
I don't know whether we face similar challenges in South Africa or Kenya, but if there is an emphasis on using Windows rather than Linux, it may be something we should try to address. There are certainly free solutions available for antivirus (AVG
, among others). It may also be worthwhile to investigate whether there are practical solutions for hard drive imaging using free or open source products. If they can restore systems easily, it can help cut down on the support problems.