September 29, 2014

New computing centers for Afghanistan with UCS

The center for international and intercultural communication (ZiiK) at the Technical University Berlin (TU) is dedicated to offering students from developing countries long-term perspectives focussing hereby on sustainable help in information technology.

Since 2002, Dr. Nazir Peroz, born in Afghanistan and Director of the Ziik, supervised the setup of new IT centers in five Afghan universities with the use of open source software. “From the beginning, our aim was always to create something that will continue to help Afghanistan in the long term as well, something which opens up perspectives for the future for the nation, and offers the people hope”, explained Peroz. “The IT sector is ideal for achieving these goals because it is indispensable for modern economy on the one hand and requires lower investments in hardware than other branches of trade on the other.”

When the team arrived in Kabul first in 2002, the situation was dreadful. After decades of war and the tyranny of the Taliban, there was not much of the academic education system left. In the whole of the capital’s college there were just a handful of old computers, some of which didn’t even work anymore. When establishing the computer centers, the Germano-Afghan project employed Open Source software right from the start. “Naturally, the license costs were the most important reason for choosing Open Source software”, said Daniel Tippmann, Project Planner and Coordinator at the ZiiK.

As to the operating system to use, the team wanted a system, which puts the Afghan staff in a position to perform all the necessary work with as little training as possible and if possible without our support. Over the years, the ZiiK team and its Afghan partners tried out numerous different operating systems, primarily different Linux distributions. The youngest of the computer centers, the IT Center Kandahar (ITCQ), was the first to set up all the servers on the basis of Univention Corporate Server (UCS), which proved to be the best for them in terms of ease of use, flexibility and scope of action due to its App Center, which offers the installation and integration of numerous other proven open source solutions. Until the end of 2015, the other four universities will follow and migrate completely to UCS.

More information at: IT for Afghanistan: German project supports the training of young IT professionals

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