Face to Face with (a) Gnu

by David Sklar

I just got back from a weeklong trip to South Africa. My only brush with technology that's even remotely relevant to the O'Reilly Network was the personal video on demand system on the plane. The system of the woman sitting next to me crashed and had to be rebooted, so I was treated to the blue screen of death peering out from the seatback above her tray table.

I don't mean to say that there isn't open source software in South Africa -- I just wasn't looking for it (that's what vacation is for.) I did see, however, a lot of computer training facilities, especially in smaller towns and in Soweto. Technology skills are definitely on the radar there as a path for economic improvement.

Less technologically relevant but more amusing was the wildlife in Kruger National Park. Among other marvelous creatures, I saw plenty of wildebeest, or as they're also known, Gnu. They seemed more interested in grazing than intellectual property, but that may be because they already have plenty of freedom.