From FOSS to BAKE : Open Source Software and a Bloggers Association

Last Saturday 17th September was the much anticipated #POWOSept at Nairobi’s Tech hub. The event comes every 2nd month on the 3rd Saturday and it aimed at encouraging creative writers and budding bloggers to go online and use the internet as the publish platform.

Wanjiku Mwaurah performing to the POWO audience

The event this month was focusing on Free and Open Source Software(FOSS) as well as a presentation on the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

To give the talk on FOSS was Alex Gakuru a man who wears man hats but most importantly, one who believes that FOSS is the future for Africa.

The event started shortly after 11.30 with a few poetry videos from Kanye West, Common and KRS 1.The MC for the day, Ndanu, who went on to introduce the feature poet, Wanjiku Mwaura.

A truly talented young lady, Wanjiku performed some of her pieces that are both entertaining and though provoking with poems such as Vocally bold, Continental and the ever fresh ‘I just don’t like you’ among others.

Alex Gakuru & Kachwanya taking questions

Next was Alex Gakuru who started off by mentioning many untapped opportunities as well as the immense resources available. As he put it ” There’s so much creativity in Kenya that has not been tapped”. He gave an example of Avatar in which, one Kenyan Artist was involved in the making. He confirmed that the Kenyan Government had set up a task force to help develop local content as well as create market for it both online and offline. With the move to digital broadcasting, there will be a huge demand for content and CCK will require all stations to have atleast 40% local content. is the main source of free and open source software. He delved into what was driving more and more countries towards FOSS. Excessive Capitalism became a global crisis in the rest of the world except in China. He described Open Source as being more communist in style. He also likened it to use of Mathematical formulas where one does not pay a license every time they apply a certain formula to their calculations.

He informed the POWO audience that he had just come from a COMESA conference in which 12 recommendations were adopted on FOSS On Open Source operating systems, he stated that there are many though the most popular is Linux which in turn has many variants e.g Ubuntu, Redhat, Sues. One can the code but they are obligated to release it(code) to others.

Open Source softwares are usually free to download and one only needs to worry about bandwidth and storage. Android is an example of Open Source software.

Sudan have modified it to a localized version which included local languages and renamed it to Nildroid. 70% of users online are usually looking for local content thus, it is wise for us to develop blogs, websites and even local applications to serve this need.

After Gakuru’s insightful presentation was Kachwanya the chair of Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) Kachwanya started off on a light note making fun of those who leave FB to twitter and then refer to it as MKZ(Mukuru Kwa Zuckerberg)

BAKE is an online community based association that seeks to syndicate bloggers content, create networks among bloggers, get legal and communal representation. Before starting his presentation. He challenged the audience on the variety of content on Kenyan Blogs.
There are no agricultural, fisheries or livestock bloggers.

Content: Kenyan bloggers are the highest producers of local content

Traffic: By joining BAKE, bloggers will gain the critical mass required by most advertisers.

Engagement: ability to engage ones readers both online and offline via twitter, facebook and events

Kachwanya’s enlightening presentation gave way to a Q&A session. Some of the interesting questions posed to Gakuru and Kachwanya were; is BAKE likely to become another CCK to which Kachwanya clarified that BAKE will not seek to monitor or even dictate what or how bloggers write but he also clarified that there will be terms and conditions to be met before one can become a member.
POWO attendees also wanted to find out why the cost of a domain remains so expensive.

As the Q&A session came to an end, Alex informed the crowd that there would be an Internet Governance forum starting 27th Sept.

After the morning session, Wanjiku offered an entertaining break with more of her poetry leading to the afternoon session which was a training workshop.

The following topics were covered during training workshop

– How to generate revenue from Blogging
– Registering a domain and choosing a host
– Migrating from BlogSpot to wordpress or to own website

Richard Wanjohi 
– Using and interpreting analytics
– SEO and enlisting on aggregator sites

– Starting a blog on wordpress
– Uploading text, photos,
– Embedding Videos, audio
– Creating twitter and FB accounts
– Anonymous blogging

Njeri Wangari 
– Creating a podcast
– Uploading and marketing a podcast
– Increasing traffic to ones site
– Creating an account on youtube
– Uploading videos
– Creating an own channel

The event came to an end at 3.30pm. We thank all those who attended. The next meetup which will be the last one for this year will be on 19th Nov at the same venue. See you for POWONov.

(Check back for a slide show with more photos)

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