Trailblazer: Jason Hudson

Creator: Freedom Toaster

Why is Jason Hudson a Trailblazer?

Jason is one of those smart guys with a good heart. Realising that the restrictive telecommunications environment in South Africa hinders people from accessing open source software and Linux programmes, he decided to create a user-friendly “bring and burn” vending machine that would allow people to access a range of software – including business plans, software, photography, music and literature – at public spaces like libraries and shopping malls.

The result was surprising, even to him. When the first Freedom Toaster was put up, people queued right around the block just to get their turn on this cool invention.

The beauty about the machine is that it can be used in many ways and for many application purposes. And more than simply giving people the chance to download cool free stuff, Jason’s idea is proving that technology can and should be accessible to everyone who needs it.

In his own words …

“The freedom to choose is actually a basic human right, so we think that should extend to software as well, which is what the open source community is all about.”

Fast Facts

  • There are over 27 freedom toasters in South Africa, in public spaces ranging from libraries to universities to shopping centres.
  • Freedom Toaster was first created for the Shuttleworth Foundation.
  • Linux users call burning CDs “toasting” them, thus Freedom Toaster.
  • In 2006 the Freedom Toaster was invited to the Stockholm Challenge, which aims to counteract social and economic disadvantage by promoting the use of ICT for development.
  • The freedom Toaster team comprises Jason Hudson and Brett Simpson.
  • Jason has just finished designing the new, improved Freedom Toaster.

How can I find out more?

To find out where to find a Freedom Toaster in your area, and more, visit the Freedom Toaster website. If you want to contact Jason, perhaps to get a Freedom Toaster for your business, school, university etc, phone him on 021 970 1218.

Story published on SAinfo on 25 July 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa