Wasta-Linux is a Linux operating system which is currently used by numerous translators, literacy specialists, and others in our organization worldwide.  The key advantages to a Linux system are that it is free, in many senses of the word.  In general, Linux provides it users the following freedoms:

  • Free of cost for ALL users – organization owned computers, national users personal computers, expat consultants, partner organizations, etc. (yet it is also genuine software, in locations where pirated software is a huge problem)
  • Free of viruses (big benefit in NE Africa!)
  • Free to re-customize to a location’s needs (partners in multiple countries have re-customized Wasta-Linux for their location: with different software choices, language keyboards, fonts, etc.)

For more on these freedoms that Linux provides, Mr. Rikshaw has written up a case-study on the reason for the switch from Windows to Linux in the Sandbox.  Currently, all Sandbox “work computers” have been migrated to wasta-Linux.  There are many good Linux options that already exist, but wasta-Linux has been customized to help in the transition for many that are new to Linux, with a focus on beginning computer users coming from low education backgrounds (but it is a great fit for advanced users also).  The “just works” mentality (while being “familiar”) are the cornerstones of wasta-Linux development decisions.  From the Wasta-Linux homepage:

For many colleagues and partners here in NE Africa, and presumably for others around the world, considering Linux is a big change and can be very intimidating. Having a Linux desktop option that looks and feels familiar is quite important to help the transition.

The intention of Wasta-Linux is to provide a good balance between familiarity and functionality for beginning computer users that are coming to Linux from a Windows XP / Windows 7 background.