WORLD INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FORUM
Today in the world between different countries, regions, social groups exists DIGITAL DIVIDE. The initiators of WITFOR, which will take place in Vilnius on August 27-29, 2003, see that as an overall problem. So the aim of WITFOR event is to bring representatives from both economically strong and developing countries together, as well as to prepare information society development strategies and projects for developing nations and economically growing countries. This forum, as well as the adoption of the Vilnius Declaration during the event, should comprise the first steps toward solving problems in information technology and inequality of knowledge.
For more information about forum please refer to www.witfor.lt
"Atviras Kodas Lietuvai" at WITFOR
Thanks to "Infobalt" Association we have two small stands at the exhibition at WITFOR event. We present free and open source software solutions also our initiatives for raising ICT awareness and computer literacy.
With the help of our sponsors (we call them our partners) we are able to participate at WITFOR and present our ideas for DIGITAL COHESION:
"IBM Lithuania", Association "Infobalt", UAB "Lema", UAB "Patikimi sprendimai", Personal Enterprise "Viae Ventus".
Please, visit our photo gallery.
During our brainstorming process about the aim of AKL participation at WITFOR we came to an idea: today between different countries and inside countries exists digital divide. And why not digital cohesion? So, we have developed a concept of digital cohesion and how to achieve it. Digital cohesion is the theme of AKL participation at WITFOR.
LIBRE SOFTWARE FOR DIGITAL COHESION
Computer in Mother-tongue
Easy take-off for beginners
A high percentage of Lithuanians don't know the English language, especially in rural areas. As the main commercial computer programs (office, Internet, mail) are in English, many people feel psychological discomfort to start using a computer. And for many users there is still a language barrier.
Computer in mother-tongue increases work productivity, the learning process is much faster and software is used more efficiently. Also, computer terminology in the native language doesn't bring jargons and encourages using correct mother-tongue in the digital world.
Today we already have the most popular computer programs translated – free software as well as some
commercial software. But translation into Lithuanian doesn't guarantee a software producer an overall profit. So, it is possible that the next release will not be translated. A solution is to localize and translate free software on a community effort basis that might be substantially supported by the government and funds.
Cost-effective Legal Software
Easy take-off for beginners
Information technologies are developing faster and getting cheaper but the lack of financial resources is still a problem for someone intending to purchase a computer. In Lithuania, about 70 percent of people in rural areas don’t have a possibility of buying a computer because of its high cost.
Up to 40 percent of computer cost is software. That is why so many people choose second-hand computers and install illegal software. Computer users still don't realize what threats they face when using illegal software. And they have no information about an alternative way to be legal - free software. Free and open source software lowers the barrier of computer purchase and its cost at least by 500 EUR.
Activities that must be initiated and accomplished to have a computer in the native language and to use it efficiently:
- localize and translate free and open source software (it is easier, cheaper and simpler to translate)
- prepare a coding system for the native language
- publish computer user's guidelines
- ensure national sources of high quality open source products and new releases
- ensure availability of professional and high quality services and training
- publish a dictionary of computer terminology
- develop spellcheck and hyphenation programs
- encourage enterprises to provide services for open source software users
- prepare study programs at schools of higher education for specialists
- inform citizens, SMEs and educational institutions about free and open source software and the sources for download
- prepare an ECDL training and testing program for free and open source software users
- use open standards as de facto standards for software development, data exchange and publishing information
RAISING ICT AWARENESS AND COMPUTER LITERACY
eVitamins for growth and wealthy business
eVitamins for SMEs
Owners of small and medium enterprises are still afraid to use computers in their day life and business. Some of them already use them, but only as typewriters. Information and telecommunication technologies can do much more. SMEs need to be informed, educated and consulted about the advantages brought by ICT. Also, some small ICT companies need to be encouraged to provide technical support services for free software users.
eVitamins for Local Governments
Open standards for data and documents exchange in the communication with citizens, SMEs, educational institutions, other administrations, also for public information are a prerequisite for healthy communication, information dissemination, and eDemocracy.
eVitamins for Local Communities
Citizens, members of local communities need be encouraged to participate in eDemocracy and become involved in the information society. There is a need to inform them about information technologies, legal software.
eVitamins for Education
Free software for schools is the best choice. An open source of free software encourages students to look inside the programs, their functionality. And these programs allow to do that.
eVitamins for NGOs
The first and the main thing for any organization is to have a website for information dissemination, an e-mail address for communication, and a virtual place for discussions with members. They need to be instructed about fundraising, how to apply for fundraising, how to fill in applications and find partners. They need to be educated and consulted.
eVitamins Roadshow – for raising ICT awareness and computer literacy
- travel around Lithuania's rural areas
- special bus
- 40 towns
- 3 days at the location
- 5 eVitamins seminars
- technical consulting
- 1-2 ICT partners per location
Also, we have a brochure where we have put all our ideas. You can download it (JPG format): first page, second page