[Zope] Plone at Highway Africa

Jean Jordaan jean@upfrontsystems.co.za
Wed, 28 Aug 2002 12:04:39 +0200

Hi all

On the 22 August 2002 we (me and Roch=E9 Compaan) introduced journalists
at the Highway Africa conference (http://www.highwayafrica.org.za) to
the Plone CMF during a 3-hour workshop. Highway Africa was (a small)
part of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, taking place in
Johannesburg, South Africa, at the moment.

The workshop was a lot of fun: we nursed the roomful of journalists,
some young, some veterans, from all over Africa, through the process of
joining the portal, customizing their homepages, visiting each others'
homepages, and adding a news item. Then half of them got the "Reviewer"
role, and rejected the news item of the person next to them with a
comment. The author revised their article, resubmitted, and the
reviewers published it. For most of the participants, this was their
first encounter with collaborative online publishing, and *almost* too
good to be true. They wanted to continue using it. A big barrier is
simply knowledge and connectivity --- there are many online publishing
forums, but if your only access is via expensive dialup at a semi-legal
internet cafe, then you're not in the position to figure out which ones
are good and reliable, and how to use them.

"Open Source" was a recurring refrain during the conference, but for the
majority of people it was a buzzword without substance. In his
presentation, Roch=E9 told where the movement comes from, and gave some
definitions. Many people came to us afterwards, asking for more names,
papers and sources of information about Open Source, its acceptance,
business models and economic viability studies about it. It was clear
that there is a great deal of sober interest among policy makers who are
beginning to see Open Source as a valuable resource, both as
infrastructure and as community. Among the organisations who expressed
interest or support were the Acacia Project
(http://www.idrc.ca/ACACIA/), the Association for Progressive
Communications (http://www.apc.org/), the European Centre for
Development Policy Management (http://www.ecdpm.org/) and the Department
of Communications (http://docweb.pwv.gov.za/). In their presentation,
the DoC spoke of moving the Department's operations to Open Source, and
of advocating Open Source at other government departments. They also
want to look for appropriate channels to promote Open Source in the
private sector, but were unsure how this might best be approached.

According to Bridget McBean of the ECDPM, Torped's Easy Publisher is
doing very well in Europe. She isn't familiar with Zope, Open Source,
online publishing or whatever, but she does know that many organizations
use Easy Publisher.

Roch=E9's talk is online at:


We'd like to try building on the publishing platform that we presented
during our workshop. About the workshop: as it was done live on the
internet, it's still accessible. Here it is:


Besides the finger exercises, there are a couple of good articles. Look
at this one:


We aim to contact the workshop attendees and invite them to continue
using the portal for publishing. It would be great if a real space for
collaboration could emerge.

Jean Jordaan
Upfront Systems                         http://www.upfrontsystems.co.za