Open source software for low-bandwidth consumers

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Techies the world over know that open source computer operating system Linux can compete head to head with high-priced commercial counterparts such as Windows, Unix and Mac OS. While free is a great price for anyone, consumers in developing societies often don’t have access to a broadband internet connection. Which means their access to Linux and other open source software is very limited. Unless there’s a Freedom Toaster around. As those behind the South African venture explain, a Freedom Toaster is much like a candy vending machine. Users insert a CD, follow the easy instructions on the touch-screen monitor and—presto—a copy of Linux is “toasted” by the unit’s internal CD burner. Since copies of the software come from the kiosk’s own hard drive, there’s no need to hook the Toaster up to the web, a major plus in areas where broadband access is scarce.

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