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By 7 May 2009 | Categories: interviews

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We love free stuff, and if it is free software we can get without downloading it from the Internet even the better. The Freedom Toaster kiosks do just that – give you useful free software and content. We talk to Brett Simpson, MD of Breadbin ­Interactive, the ­distributors of the Freedom Toasters.

What exactly is a ­Freedom Toaster?

The Freedom Toaster is a content delivery kiosk that allows users to conveniently choose and burn relevant digital content onto CDs, DVDs and USB flash drives, using an easy touch screen interface. This without incurring the cost of downloading it off the Internet. The Freedom Toaster, originally built to distribute the most popular Linux distributions, has evolved to the point where the technology behind it is used to burn almost anything digital – from electronic textbooks and music to software and beyond.

How did you come up with the idea?

The project was first conceived when Jason Hudson (previously of the Shuttleworth Foundation and now a director of Breadbin Interactive) realised that while ‘open source’ represents the future of software, South Africans face significant barriers in terms of its distribution due to the high cost of bandwidth in this country. The fact is that there seems little point in offering freely available alternatives to proprietary software, when they cost too much in bandwidth to distribute or download.
The solution? Software, media, courseware, or any digital content, loaded onto a computer or terminal, which allows end users to bring a disc or flash drive and burn what they want straight onto it. For free!

 


So it grew from there?


While today the Freedom Toaster is an independent ­commercial undertaking by Breadbin ­Interactive, the initiative was first developed and prototyped with the support of the ­Shuttleworth Foundation.

So successful was the undertaking that the Freedom Toaster quickly grew into a highly ­effective digital content ­distribution initiative that reaches across South Africa and is being ­replicated internationally in countries like Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, India and Canada, to name but a few.

What types of content can be distributed on the ­machines?

Our focus regarding content is a based on user feedback which is an ongoing process. Our most popular content is still Free and Open Source Software but we have introduced with great feedback Ted Talks (inspirational message from world and thought leaders like Branson, Gore and the Google guys), the full South African school curriculum from grade R to 12, E-books, music (local artists) etc...
We are also dealing with SEDA for entrepreneurial content, MINDSET for educational material, LOVE LIFE for life orientation and many more partnerships to add more value to our users.

For more info on the Freedom Toaster or ordering your own go to www.breadbin.co.za.

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