Our Art project is among the finalist at Sangonet’s NGO Web Awards

June 27, 2007

Our art project, ArtMarketOnline is among the finalists at the Sangonet NGO Web Awards.


ArtMarketOnline is a project run by the OpenCafe team – it uses open source and open content tools to help its members set up their art sites, art blogs, learn to market and publish their art work online and how to take part in online collaboration projects like ccMixter and Wikipedia.
Membership is free, join us today or click here to read more about our project.

Click here to read more and see the list of finalists.


Fablab visit & plans to take part in science projects at the university

May 15, 2007

We have recently visited the new Fablab on the local campus. We are making plans to take part in the projects at the local Fablab and get involved in managing their website as well.

About Fablabs from the Wikipedia:

A Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small scale workshop with the tools to make almost anything. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.

While Fab Labs cannot compete with mass production and its associated economies of scale in fabricating widely distributed products, they have the potential to empower individuals to create smart devices for themselves. These devices can be tailored to local or personal needs in ways that are not practical or economical using mass production.

Examples of flexible manufacturing equipment within a fab lab:

The Fab Lab program is part of the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which broadly explores how the content of information relates to its physical representation.

Click here to see some photos about the lab.

Fablab photos


First OpenICDL exam passed

February 16, 2007

OpenICDLWhen we heard about the OpenICDL exams from the Geek Freedom League we decided to see if we can take the exams here in Potchefstroom.

We have encountered lots of problems while trying to find out all the info necessary – since we didn’t want to take the “normal route” and write the Windows version of the exam. Most ICDL examiners are not familiar with the open source materials – which are based on Ubuntu, OpenOffice & Mozilla.

Eventually we did find an examiner who was ready to help me take the exam using the OpenOffice and Firefox based materials. I did the exams at the local ICDL center – I did have to bring my own laptop with OpenOffice and Firefox installed. Unfortunately I did have to write Module 2 (File management) using Windows XP – but all other exam modules  were based on OpenOffice Writer, Calc, Base, Impress and Firefox.

The OpenCafe team will help anyone that plans to take the OpenICDL exams so if you are interested, send a mail (anna at opencafe.co.za ), or visit us at the cafe and we will explain the process and help you prepare.


Software Patent Workshop in January

January 11, 2007

FTISA Software Patent Workshop in January

Come & participate in a long overdue public discussion on the 19th of January 2007 on the issue of software and business method patents in South Africa. Click to visit the FTISA website to find out about the program and ways to register.


PotchefstroomFreecycle Group started

December 10, 2006

Freecycle Potchefstroom

We have started a Freecycle group to offer locals one more way of sharing within the communties of Potchefstroom. Here is what it is all about:

First, what Freecycle is NOT about:

Freecycle is NOT about giving only to the poor.
It is NOT about getting as much free stuff as we can.
It is NOT about getting things to earn money on the side.
It is NOT about getting rid of junk that would be better off in the landfill.
It is NOT about posting a “wish list” for expensive items and expecting a fairy
godmother to fulfill it for us.
It is NOT a community bulletin board for finding rentals, dentists, mechanics,
or advertising our businesses and services or special events.

What Freecycle IS about:

Freecycle IS about keeping things out of the landfill.
It IS about giving away something that has no use in our life anymore to someone
who could extend its usefulness a little longer.
It IS about giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter.
It IS about creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally aware

To find out more visit the official Freecycle site.

If you like to idea, do join the group and give on this info to those that might like the new site.


December open day – getting eco-friendly

December 3, 2006

December 2006 - open day

To find out more – see our Flickr albums about making the solar oven, and what we spent the rest of the day with.


Are you interested in attending Tech4frica’07?

November 29, 2006


The guys at www.technologyforafrica.org planning a conference in Johannesburg in 2007 and would like to find out who is interested in such an event.

The site says:

We’re convinced that there should be web and technology growth in Southern Africa, so we’re really interested in getting together a bunch of leading, internationally respected speakers and thinkers from the industry to discuss what’s happening and what’s possible.

Some of the things we’d like you to get out of the conference:

  • Hear international speakers and authors presenting in your own back yard.
  • Discuss what the global web and technology opportunities are over the next 5 years
  • Understand what technologies are making the biggest impact
  • Thrash out how the web can positively play a role in the development of (Southern) Africa
  • Create a fun, informative event where you can meet and interact with other people like you

Of course, there are loads more things that are important and that could be discussed, so this is why we’re asking for your feedback – we’re committed to a bottom up conference where you get value for money, you make new friends, and where you walk away inspired.

So if interested – visit their site and complete the form – and give the message on to those that might attend as well.


About software patents, FTISA and the Perens petition

November 28, 2006

“If you support software patents, then you might as well claim ownership of the air you breathe. The idea is preposterous, we all breathe the same air. It is society’s responsibility to create laws that sustain healthy ‘air’ and corporate ethics that comply with those laws rather than distort them under the bastardized guise of innovation.” Gregory Rundlett

The OpenCafe team actively takes part in the work of FTISA (Freedom To Innovate South Africa).


A primary objective of FTISA is to create and defend a legislative environment in South Africa which is conducive to the development of an indigenous software sector, one in which software innovation and production is allowed to flourish and the benefits of FOSS to the developing economy which relies heavily on information technology is protected. Such an environment can only exist with a complete, comprehensive, legally robust and affordable enforcement of the existing exclusion of computer software from patentable subject matter in South Africa. By acting effectively, imaginatively and constructively within our national context we intend also to contribute to the efforts of those with similar objectives internationally. (To find out more click to visit the FTISA site.)

The recent agreement between Novell and Microsoft has highlighted the plight of all of those that are strongly against the use of software patents – one of them being Bruce Perens, the creator of the open source definition. Perens has an online petition signed already by 2266 people – many of whom also included very informative and also entertaining comments on software patents and related issues.

If you are new to the topic of software patents and how they influence the software industry – use the links above to find out more, if you are interested in contributing to the work of FTISA – visit the site or contact the OpenCafe team for more information.


October open day – Audacity, Hydrogen and a solar oven

October 30, 2006

October Open DayWe had a great open day this month – this time all our open day regulars were browsing using the new Ubuntu setup.

Abri brought his newly built solar oven so all of us got a lesson on using solar energy to bake bread. We also played some music since Kagiso brought his saxophone – and experimented with Audacity and Hydrogen – the two music editing programs


Ubuntu cafe – from Mandrake to Ubuntu

October 16, 2006

Ubuntu & OpenCafeThis weekend we finally managed to say byebye to our old Mandrake setup – which worked quite well since our launch in 2004 – and said hello to Ubuntu.

We have been planning this for for quite a while but had no time since we spent a lot of time and energy on our Software Freedom day and Aardklop preparations. The new Ubuntu worked really well – most of the clients and students got used to it quickly.

We plan to document all stages of the new setup – so that others can also start their Ubuntu cafes more easily. More info on our new setup will follow soon on our blogs and wiki.