Kogaion and Argent OS: the interview - Part 2
If in Part 1 of the interview we've seen how it all started, now it's time to talk about adoption rate, mobile devices and future plans. So what do you say, shall we start?
SBP: We've installed a copy of the Kogaion XFCE OS. The UI choice makes navigation simple and familiar for novice users whose usage extends to Email client usage, web browsing and media viewing. What adoption rate do you expect Kogaion to have for home users?
Stefan: I cannot be sure of the adoption rate, since we're quite new to this. I think it mostly depends on the level of documentation and communication we have with the public. It also depends on the interface, how appealing it is to the regular PC / Laptop users, and so forth.
For the moment we are steadily growing with 3 new external and static IPs per day that download packages from our servers, and we have around 50 to 100 external static IPs that download packages everyday from our deposits and repository.
SBP: The Kogaion XFCE offers the basic features one needs for a home system upon install and allows for custom package download through Ringo Application Browser. While this makes the OS light weight and highly customizable, are you planning on bundling the OS with additional software in the future? I'm referring here to a productivity suite, IDEs etc. for a full offline installation?
Stefan: Yes, we're planning to do exactly that, the moment public institutions have a plan for us. On the other hand, we're planning to support a full productivity suite for complete offline usage, such as: programs for many of the regularly used file types (PDF, DOCX, TXT, MP3, MKV etc.). That's an assurance!
SBP: In recent years, there have been a lot of attempts at a global scale to switch from proprietary software, such as Microsoft OS-es and products, to open / GNU licensed products in order to cut down on expenses. However, there have also been a lot of cases where new problems (generated by document compatibility or changes to workflow patterns) have made the switch back to Microsoft solutions less expensive that training and troubleshooting on the alternative product.
Do you feel this might be an issue for your operating systems as well, or do you intend to offer a solution that will make a transition viable?
Stefan: I think that with a proper product (free of charges and licenses), and with the proper visual documentation, everything can be adapted to everything. Also, I'm convinced that our OS will be used, as long as we maintain the documentation in a clear, humane way. For example: nowadays, every program that's being used in public administration (even Windows executables) can be used in our distributions in a safe way. We just need to build a proper visual documentation.
As we see it, public administrations want to use and would definitely benefit from a robust and easily configurable GPL licensed OS, and a bit of tech support :) The public administration employees don't want to get their "hands dirty" with all sorts of operations on their operating systems. We can assure safety of use against lots of cases, once we've gathered the feedback for what they need ( i.e. feedback with required content and usage flow from local councils, and so forth).
It's Stefan's opinion that reaching out to Regional levels of public administration with their products can ultimately determine nation wide adoption of Kogaion and Argent.
SBP: We've noticed that you plan to release an ARM based OS for mobile devices. What device types / manufacturers are you planning on offering support for? I ask this because current out of the box OSs come with a lot of proprietary bloatware. How much freedom / control will the user have with the Argos OS?
Stefan: First things first - Argos is just a plan, a concept. It will be adapted firstly to Rapsberry PI, to help us create the Argos Box. The OS will be fully FOSS, maybe even licensed as GPL v3 / AGPL v3., so that everything that's being modified can never become proprietary.
Everything that can be linked with our programs will have to be fully FOSS compliant. So, yeah, "from each according to his abilities for each according to his needs" on this one (just the software part) :).
SBP: Is there anything you'd like to add to this article that you think readers might find interesting?
Stefan: Well, sincerely, we lack devs. If you can share what I've said above to every known IT guy, no matter the level of experience, I hope we'll be more. We actually have flat organization and development anarchy as a model of development. We don't quite love to have leaders that do appointments for the coders in the group. Each has his / her own responsibility. This gives total freedom of expression, speech and tech innovation to each of the members, including their own scripts / programs, if they develop them for themselves, but on condition of a free license for their software.
Another thing on the "to do" list is to create pilot-projects all over the country. Lots of teachers contacted us to do a partnership and create pilot-projects. Others wanted to teach Kogaion to their students and get "certified' by us for that purpose. SHARE Federation will spearhead another project on networking between high schools in Cluj-Napoca with Argent Linux, and so forth.
The plans are made, the tools are prepared, we need more interested people. They can be part of the council after constant development :-)
So there you have it. The beginning stages of what could be an interesting step in Romanian IT evolution into a free, community driven environment, from which all can benefit, and which all can enhance through their own tech skills and feedback. Feel free to share and distribute this content to all, spread the word and support a growing community that's already doing its part for us.
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