Public schools and community e-centers throughout the Philippines have free access to basic computer applications thanks to the Last Mile Initiative-Philippines (LMIP), a component of the Nathan-managed EMERGE project.
LMIP has distributed 500 free and open source software (FOSS) kits, which consist of office productivity programs and development applications on one compact disc. Programs and applications include OpenOffice, an internet browser, web authoring tools, graphic design applications, a project planner, and accounting programs—all features comparable to commercial products but developed under the free and open source licensing models.
Because the kits avoid the high setup costs associated with branded or proprietary software, community centers will be able to lower the fees charged to center users. Previously, users had to search for and download such tools from the Internet—assuming they knew where to look and had broadband connectivity. Now, even centers without an Internet connection are offering valuable tools on the spot. The kits are not only raising awareness and use of software programs, but also promoting respect for intellectual property rights through their use of open source licensing models.