Silicon Valley Event Raises Funds For Calico 2018 Students

Palisadoes Foundation Treasurer, Tennyson Williams explains the goals of the Calico Challenge.

The Palisadoes Foundation had its first Silicon Valley fundraising event on June 9, 2018 in San Jose. Enough funds were raised via social media, email campaigns and the event itself to fully sponsor one of our 2018 Calico Challenge students.

Catering was donated by two stellar Bay Area establishments, Kingston 11 Cuisine whose jerk chicken and fried plantains were cherished by all, and Flavas Jamaican Grill, who provided delicious rice and peas.

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

It is hard to believe that this is our third full year of being a charitable organization. We have come a long way. The donations received today will help Jamaican university students transition seamlessly into the work world through our Calico Challenge mentorship program.

Peter Harrison, President of The Palisadoes Foundation.

I’m very encouraged by the turn out for the event. It shows the great commitment of the community to our cause that is truly helping the development of the island. We have often spoken about expanding Calico to the rest of the Caribbean, the time to do so is getting closer by the day.

KG Charles-Harris, Company Secretary of The Palisadoes Foundation

We continue to increase our donation base through these sorts of events, and look forward to even better outreach programs in 2019. Our core volunteer team is growing and I’m confident that we’ll be able to expand regionally in the near future.

Tennyson Williams, Treasures of The Palisadoes Foundation

Stay tuned to the Palisadoes Foundation website’s news feed for updates on our activities.

 


Donations were eagerly provided by keen attendees who understood our core mission.

Denise McCalla-Creary and Cassandra Campbell enjoy the moment

Palisadoes Foundation Treasurer, Tennyson Williams and the Foundation’s Company Secretary, KG Charles-Harris discuss plans for 2019.

Donors learning how the Palisadoes Foundation uses its funds to help prepare Jamaican students.


About Kingston 11

Kingston 11 Cuisine is an environmentally friendly, community-oriented, innovative restaurant. Its mission is to provide consistent high-quality, delicious blends of Jamaican and Californian cuisines using local and organic ingredients. It is a contemporary urban dining oasis known for great service, cultural exchange and the nexus of great relationships. Our goal is to use these qualities to positively transform the lives of our patrons, employees, and greater community.

the restaurant has been the lifelong dream of Owner and Chef, Nigel Jones. Growing up in Kingston 11, one zip code away from Trenchtown, Nigel was surrounded by the smells, sounds, culture, and taste of urban Kingston. He was trained in the kitchen of his beloved grandmother, Gwen “Miss Gwen” Larmond who taught him to cook by balancing the flavors of the most local of ingredients—fruits and vegetables from the yard. His extensive travels also taught him that the kitchen innovations of poorer communities—the hearty home cooked meals—are the best, most flavorful and therefore most satisfying. For years he has sought to bring his appreciation for his native food and culture together with his desire for a sophisticated dining and lounge experience where all are welcome. Kingston 11 Cuisine has become that place. From their days as a pop-up restaurant in Berkeley, CA to the new space in Oakland’s Uptown, Nigel and his partner Adrian Henderson have seamlessly combined Miss Gwen’s legacy of simple home cooking, Jamaica’s rich culinary tradition, and the global practice of community-building around food, drink, and music.

About Flavas Grill
Flavas Jamaican Grill is a mid-scale restaurant established with a mission to serve delicious authentic Jamaican cuisine in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

The Chef has a passion for flavor and a desire to satisfy the taste buds of all lovers of Jamaican food. You may have tasted some of these dishes on a vacation to the Island, or if you are just exploring for something new to savor, the Chef will guarantee your return to Flavas for more delicious Jerk & sweet reggae music.

Flavas owner, Leroy Douglas began his cooking career at the early age of ten, at home in Jamaica cooking for his family. That early love of cooking led him to one of the top local colleges in Jamaica. After a few years in the industry, Chef Leroy went to further his studies in the field at the George Brown College in Toronto and Hocking College in Ohio. In Jamaica he worked as a chef at the Super Club Resorts, Sandals Resorts and Swept Away Resort. In America his work at the Skyline Club in Southfield Michigan; the Marriot Hotel Renaissance, Detroit and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Detroit is known.

Chef Leroy has participated in many food shows and competitions and has won several medals. He uses his experience and skills to tantalize the taste buds of South San Francisco with the freshest ingredients and tastiest Jamaican style preparations. Whatever the occasion, Chef Leroy will customize your menu exactly to your specifications.

Focus on Cleon Mullings – 2018 Calico Challenge Participant

Today we feature Cleon Mullings one of our 2018 Calico Challenge participants. Here is some insight into Cleon’s views on technology.

“My name is Cleon J. Mullings, a first year student at the University of the West Indies who is pursuing a double major in Software Engineering and Medical Physics. I enjoy math, and tinkering with electronics. I also enjoy learning new skills that might be useful in the future. Recently I started learning LATEX, and Jupyter Notebooks, which will be useful in the future for my second-year physics courses which will require, me to do graphs and other types of data analysis. I am looking forward to my second-year as I will begin the courses specific to my majors , begin my tenure as the Technical Advisor for the UWI Computing Society and pass on my knowledge to the incoming first years. In the future I plan to use my experiences and knowledge in Software and Medical Physics to contribute to the respective fields in Jamaica.”


About The Calico Challenge

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to  various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and  publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

Focus on Jhamali Vassell – 2018 Calico Challenge Participant

Today we feature Jhamali Vassell one of our 2018 Calico Challenge participants. Here is some insight into Jhamali’s views on technology.

“My name is Jhamali Devante Vassell, 22. I went Glenmuir High from 2008 t0 2015. I currently attend the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, Majoring in Computer Science and Electronics.

I became a volunteer for the Palisadoes Foundation September 2017.
My interests cover a wide range, but my main goal is to get into the field of robotics and AI development. Though most people are still skeptical about smart machines, I believe they are necessary for continued advancement, which may eventually become stagnate due to human limitations. If designed well, machines would be able to complete task with more precision and speed than humans, allowing the research and development process to go by more quickly. Another thing I’m quite interested in is robotic body parts, for the disabled, such as spine alignment technology, new limbs, and even eyes.
Currently I’m mainly focused on low level development, embedded systems and communication between them. I’m hoping to eventually go to Japan, where Robotic development is occurring on a large scale, and at a fairly fast pace. Other places I’m interested in are DeepMind, Google, Open AI, Tesla, IRobot, Touch Bionics.”


About The Calico Challenge

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

Interview with Javon Davis, Jamaican Software Engineer

We interview software engineer, Javon Davis, a past participant in the Calico Challenge. He speaks about his impressions of the Jamaican software industry focusing on how both employees and companies can become globally competitive given the online resources now available.

Javon also discusses job search strategies to be recognized by international companies as potential employees or contract customers. He explains the concept of new massively open online courses (MOOCs) offered by leading universities and their impact on education and the industry. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also shown to be valuable tools when seeking contract or permanent jobs.

The discussion is engaging and informative.

Can you Market a Nonprofit on Social Media?

The Palisadoes Foundation was conceived by a group of Jamaican technology professionals interested in assisting in the continued development new and existing technologies in Jamaica. We know Jamaica can produce world class software engineers and have been proving this in our outreach activities since 2014. A signature program of our nonprofit is the annual Calico Challenge where software engineering students in Jamaican universities are awarded an internship to work on open source projects over the summer under the guidance of an industry mentor. Students are paid a stipend based on the achievement of predefined goals. To date over 18 students have graduated.

Even with our success, our public awareness and donation base needs to be improved. Our presence on our website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram needs to be more effectively used to target persons interested in our philanthropic goals. We are seeking a part-time contractor to assist us in creating and implementing the marketing campaigns to do this.

The person will need to present a plan that outlines:

  • Recommended approaches to improve our existing portfolio of social media properties.
  • Strategies to be used for each type of social media platform based on the audience each attracts.
  • The appropriate use and creation of audio, video and still images
  • Expected quarterly targets for success based on either experience or data found on the web. This would include, but not necessarily limited to, the numbers of followers and inbound donation dollar amounts.
  • The categorizations of posts for each platform. We have seen where tailored combinations of industry, technical, career and fun categories of posts are required for success on each platform.
  • Social media calendars with weekly targets for posts for each identified category
  • Ways to attract influencers to the cause
  • Maintaining private and public donor relationships
  • The sources to be used in re-posting the content on social media.
  • A reevaluation of our blogging strategy to see if there may be ways to make the content more engaging, if at all.
  • Methods to create a steady stream Jamaican imagery of software engineering students and professionals for use in our posts with targets.
  • Possible new approaches to email. We have a general monthly newsletter. We are open to having more targeted email audiences.
  • Promoting opinion pieces found on the Internet related to the Foundation’s work
  • Ways to better use our LinkedIn company page and interest group with over 800 members.

The person will need to be based in the Kinston corporate area of Jamaica. Please contact us though our website if you are interested in making a proposal.

Jhamali Vassell – Palisadoes Student Volunteer at UWI

My name is Jhamali Devante Vassell. I went Glenmuir High, established in 1955, and remains one of the top performing schools in Jamaica. I currently attend the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, majoring in Computer Science and Electronics.

I became a volunteer for the Palisadoes Foundation September 2017. I became familiar with the organization through the Calico Program, a venture started by the them to help students gain experience in software development and get a feel for the industry at a professional level. Currently, my task is being an intermediary, along with another student, between the Palisadoes Foundation, and UWI as well as the UWI Computing Society. So far, we’ve mainly assisted, in confirming and organizing events, and relaying necessary messages from the Palisadoes Foundation to some personnel at UWI or the Computing Society.

My interests are varied, but my main goal is to get into the field of robotics and AI development. Though most people are still skeptical about smart machines, I believe they are necessary for continued advancement, which may eventually become stagnate due to human limitations. If designed well, machines would be able to complete tasks with more precision and speed than humans, allowing the research and development process to go by more quickly. I’m also interested in is robotic body parts for the disabled, such as spine alignment technology, new limbs, and even eyes.

Currently I’m mainly focused on low level development, embedded systems and communication between them. I’m hoping to eventually go to Japan, where Robotic development is occurring on a large scale, and at a fairly fast pace.

UTech and UWI receive JA$12M* computer network equipment from Palisadoes Foundation

Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer article: UTech and UWI receive $12-m computer network equipment from Palisadoes Foundation. (PDF)


The University of Technology, Jamaica

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) and t he University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, campus, last week received a donation of computer network equipment valued at over JA$12 million* from the Palisadoes Foundation.

The foundation is a registered company in the state of California, USA, established by ICT professionals in the Jamaica Diaspora Technology Taskforce, to promote the use and production of ICT services in Jamaica.

The network equipment was formally handed over by Palisadoes Foundation President Peter Harrison to UTech President Professor Stephen Vasciannie, and Dr Gunjan Mansingh, head, Department of Computing, Faculty o15f Science and Technology, UWI, at a special ceremony held at the UTech’s Papine campus.

“This donation of equipment will facilitate Jamaican universities in creating an environment that encourages students and faculty to research, create and use open-source software,” a UTech news release quotes Harrison, a Jamaican who is chief technical officer and co-founder of Silicon Valley company, Colovore.

According to the release, Harrison has built the core web infrastructure for several of Silicon Valley’s Internet titans and previously worked in IT at Google and Netflix.

He pointed out that global companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, Cisco and others are leaders in the open-source software movement, adding that “success in open-source will open many doors”.

Open-source software is free to download, access, modify and use. Harrison expressed confidence that Jamaica can compete with the best in the world and have the capacity to create globally competitive software engineers and companies through exposure to open-source software. He pledged the support of the Palisadoes Foundation in continued partnership with Jamaican universities and the IT industry, towards this goal.

Professor Vasciannie, in welcoming the valuable donation and the partnership forged between UTech, UWI and the Palisadoes Foundation, said that “it will support IT operations in all 34 laboratories across the UTech, Jamaica Papine campus,” adding that “the new network will certainly go a far way in enhancing the university’s capacity to provide our students with every opportunity for knowledge-sharing, development of technical competencies, and experience in applying knowledge to problem-solving”.

Dr Mansingh, in her remarks, asserted that Jamaican IT students are among the best in the world despite being less resourced than their counterparts in larger economies. Noting that one of the major challenges with open-source adoption is the lack of trained IT personnel, Dr Mansingh called for both UWI and UTech “to collectively work to train an appropriately skilled workforce in technology that satisfies not only the needs of the region but also competes internationally”.

Dr Sean Thorpe, head, School of Computing and Information Technology, UTech, Jamaica ,who was instrumental in spearheading the acquisition of the IT equipment for both universities, said that it will support the continuous development of open- source software projects and will enable the establishment of a local area network for students that is separate from the UTech, Jamaica campus student WiFi network, which will enhance student customer experience. He noted Internet access for the equipment will be provided through a dedicated 200 Mbps data circuit.

The equipment donation was facilitated through the Jamaica Computer Society, which has historically collaborated with the Palisadoes Foundation. President of the computer society, Sheldon Powe, said “Jamaica is a lot better for the equipment donation”, and thanked the foundation for giving back to Jamaica.


* Based on the estimated original purchase value. The equipment was donated by a Palisadoes Foundation benefactor after the equipment was replaced during a technology refresh.

UTech Jamaica and UWI, Mona Receive JA$12M* Computer Network Equipment from Palisadoes Foundation

Reposted from the UTech website. (PDF).


Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD (4th left), President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Mr. Peter Harrison (3rd left), President, The Palisadoes Foundation shake hands following the official handing over of network equipment valued at $12M*  by The Palisadoes Foundation to UTech, Jamaica and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus at an official handing over ceremony held Friday, January 19, 2018 at the UTech, Ja. Papine campus. Participating in the presentation (from left) are Dr. Sean Thorpe, Head, School of Computing and Information Technology, UTech, Prof. Nizla Aples, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, UTech, Dr. Gunjan Mansingh, Head, Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI, Mona and Mr. Sheldon Powe, President, Jamaica Computer Society.

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Jamaica) and the University of the West Indies (Mona) campus today, Friday, January 19, received a donation of computer network equipment valued at over JA$12M* from the USA based Palisadoes Foundation (LLC). The Palisadoes Foundation is a registered company in the state of California, USA, established by ICT professionals in the Jamaica Diaspora’s Technology Taskforce to promote the use and production of ICT services in Jamaica.

The network equipment was formally handed over by Palisadoes Foundation President, Mr. Peter Harrison to UTech, Jamaica President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD and to Dr. Gunjan Mansingh, Head, Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI (Mona) campus at a special ceremony held at the UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus.

According to Harrison, a Jamaican who is Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of leading Silicon Valley company, Colovore, “this donation of equipment will facilitate Jamaican universities in creating an environment that encourages students and faculty to research, create and use Open Source software.”

Harrison who has built the core web infrastructure for several of Silicon Valley’s internet titans and previously worked in IT at Google and Netflix, pointed out that global companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, Cisco and others are leaders in the Open Source software movement, adding that “success in Open Source will open many doors.” Open source software is free to download, access, modify and use. Harrison expressed confidence that Jamaica can compete with the best in the world and have the capacity to create globally competitive software engineers and companies through exposure to Open Source software. He pledged the support of the Palisadoes Foundation in continued partnership with Jamaican universities and the IT industry towards this goal.

Prof. Stephen Vasciannie in welcoming the valuable donation and the partnership forged among UTech, UWI and the Palisadoes Foundation said that “it will support IT operations in all 34 laboratories across the UTech, Ja. Papine campus,” adding that “the new network will certainly go a far way in enhancing the University’s capacity to provide our students with every opportunity for knowledge sharing, development of technical competencies and experience in applying knowledge to problem-solving.”

Dr. Gunjan Mansingh in her remarks asserted that Jamaican IT students are among the best in the world despite being less resourced than larger economies. Noting that one of the major challenges with Open Source adoption is the lack of trained IT personnel, Dr. Mansingh called for both UWI and UTech, Jamaica “to collectively work to train an appropriately skilled workforce in technology that satisfies not only the needs of the region but also competes internationally.”

Dr. Sean Thorpe, Head, School of Computing and Information Technology, UTech, Jamaica who was instrumental in spearheading the acquisition of the IT equipment for both universities, said that it will support the continuous development of Open Source software projects and will enable the establishment of a Local Area Network (LAN) for students that is separate from the UTech, Ja campus student WiFi network which will enhance student customer experience. He noted Internet access for the equipment will be provided through a dedicated 200 Mbps data circuit.

The equipment donation was facilitated through the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) which has historically collaborated with the Palisadoes Foundation. President of the JCS, Mr. Sheldon Powe said “Jamaica is a lot better for the equipment donation,” and thanked the Foundation for giving back to Jamaica.

Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD, (2nd right), President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Mr. Peter Harrison (2nd left), President, The Palisadoes Foundation shake hands following the donation of network equipment worth $12M* dollars to UTech, Jamaica and UWI, Mona. Sharing in the presentation from left are students Mr. Agyei Masters, School of Computing and Information Technology, UTech, Jamaica and and Mr. Mathew Stone, UWI graduate student.

 

Examining the Network Equipment located at the Server Room in the main lab of the SCIT Building (from left) are Prof. Nizla Aples, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, UTech, Ja., Mr. Sheldon Powe, President, Jamaica Computer Society, Dr. Sean Thorpe, Head, School of Computing and Information Technology, UTech, Ja., Dr. Gunjan Mansingh, Head, Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI, Mona, Mr. Peter Harrison, President, The Palisadoes Foundation and Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD, President, University of Technology, Jamaica.


* Based on the estimated original purchase value. The equipment was donated by a Palisadoes Foundation benefactor after the equipment was replaced during a technology refresh.

The Best of the Different

The text of the speech by Peter Harrison, President, The Palisadoes Foundation at the formal handing over ceremony of a donation of server equipment to the University of Technology, Jamaica and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.


I was a teenage Reggae fan, and Reggae music wasn’t played on Sunday radio. Sundays were for country and western music and old R&B classics. Peter was distressed.

One of the most popular singers was Tammy Wynette, a famous Nashville star, who would visit the island for sold out concerts at the National Stadium. I heard her being interviewed on the radio one afternoon and I decided to open my mind and listen. She was certainly not Reggae music, but she had the respect of the nation. Maybe I could learn something.

She was asked, “How did you become a success?”

She surprised me. She replied, “You have to be first, best or different.”

When it comes to information and communication technology (ICT), some would say Jamaica can’t be first, Jamaica can’t be best, Jamaica can’t be different.

I say we can be first in being the best of the different.

  • Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Andrew Isaacs, Vice Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing
  • Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, President, University of Technology, Jamaica
  • Prof. Nilza Aples, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing
  • Mr. Sheldon Powe, President, Jamaica Computer Society
  • Dr. Gunjan Mansingh, Head, Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI, Mona Campus
  • Deans
  • Vice Deans
  • Dr. Sean Thorpe, Head, School of Computing and Information Technology
  • Other Heads of Schools
  • Members of faculty, staff and students, UTech, Jamaica and UWI, Mona
  • Members of the press

Last but not least, the Palisadoes Foundation’s student volunteers, Collette Bailey, Yanika Miller, DoNeil Scott, Jhamali Vassel and Kevon Graham.

Agyei Masters, Head of the IEEE student branch at Utech, Shanielle Williams head of the UWI Computing Society club.

Rohan Mallet and Oneil Pinnock in the UTech IT staff. Karlene Black, lecturer at Utech.

I ask all of you to surprise yourself like Tammy Wynette surprised me.

Be the best of the different.

When I worked at Google, I was one of the first to join a very successful division. And one day at a team lunch someone decided to go around the table in an effort to know everyone and asked “which university did you go to?” I was the only one who hadn’t gone to a US based Ivey league or top tier school. I had been to UWI, not once, but twice. Why weren’t there more Jamaicans at the table?

When I look around this room, there may not be that same exposure to massive scale ICT, but in terms of character, you can all compete with the best.

The Palisadoes Foundation collaborates with Jamaican tertiary education, the IT industry and overseas Jamaicans to make this so. We were formed in response to the creation of the Jamaican Diaspora technology taskforce. We are headed by Jamaicans in tech, based in the USA.

We focus on ICT in areas we feel our limited resources can be successful.

ICT requires science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. According to Cisco systems:

  • Projected job growth for STEM careers is nearly double Non-STEM
  • The top 10 highest paid careers are in STEM
  • 60% of US job openings require STEM literacy, 42% require advanced STEM knowledge.

Technology is often used to advance society. As in the fields of tourism, entertainment and sports, where the Caribbean competes globally and effectively, The Palisadoes Foundation feels that the region can do the same with STEM. We can be globally competitive.

Together we can prove this by being the best of the different in software engineering, especially in the area of free to use and modify Open Source software.

Why?

  • Creating globally accepted software engineering products is relatively fast and cheap compared with the equivalents in other areas of engineering.
  • These other areas of engineering are increasingly relying on software solutions to their problems.
  • There is no need for the limitations of traditional import and export controls.
  • It is a natural extension of the Caribbean region’s success in the call center service sector.
  • Global companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, Cisco, HP, Dell and IBM are leaders in the Open Source software movement.
  • Open Source software is free to download, access, modify and use. The licensing required for Microsoft Windows and other proprietary software is not there.
  • Open Source expertise is the cornerstone of any foray into modern software engineering.

We use it every day in the form of Google Chrome, Firefox and Android. Even Microsoft uses it in their Cloud services. Jamaica has its own Open Source projects, they may not be widely known but they are out there.

The Palisadoes Foundation aims to help create globally competitive software engineers and companies through exposure to Open Source software. Our annual Calico Challenge is evidence of our commitment to this goal. It offers stipends to students wanting to contribute to the Open Source community while being guided by a mentor.

This donation of equipment will facilitate Jamaican universities in creating an environment that encourages students and faculty to research, create and use Open Source software. We hope it will not be the last as the photos, press releases, media coverage and experiences of today will be used to encourage our benefactors to donate more.

We, the Foundation, the universities and students have been collaborating for almost four years now. Next year it will be half a decade. This is a long term partnership beyond the various glories of today.

In this time we have seen:

  • Student awards for contributions to Open Source.
  • Open Source projects as part of university coursework.
  • Use of Open Source software as part of the business of running the university. We are already working with staff on creating additional disk space for students with this software on the donated equipment.
  • Active medium scale Jamaican Open Source projects
  • The beginnings of opening up higher speed internet links to the campuses.

In the next five years it would be good to see:

  • True high speed internet made available to all students, faculty and staff on campus. This would facilitate remote access to campus resources, research, and distance learning.
  • Faculty and staff awards for contributions to Open Source
  • Grants, small and large, to pursue the expansion of existing and new Open Source projects from both the private, and public sectors.
  • The use of Open Source software all across campuses, especially where there are constrained budgets.
    The possibility of hiring full time software engineers to update existing Open Source software for the benefit of Jamaica.
  • The possibility of universities actively contributing to freely available Open Source software, while earning income from the support and consulting services related to it.
  • Making research into or with Jamaican Open Source software by local academics, part of their dissertations.

Many of these things are beyond the Foundation’s capabilities, but not yours.

The Palisadoes Foundation’s aim isn’t to change everything, but to expose ICT professionals and researchers to opportunity, to open their minds, just like I decided to do with Tammy Wynette.

Success in Open Source will open many doors. We want our partners to be globally recognized innovators, academics, entrepreneurs, and executives. We feel that embracing the use and creation of Open Source software is the fastest way to get there.

Open Source software isn’t appropriate in all cases, but where it is competitive it must be tried. When we feel we can make it competitive, it must be tried. That’s the only way to know if it is appropriate. That’s the only way we can be the best of the different.

I have spoken a lot about collaboration. There will also need to be a lot of independent activity without Palisadoes.

Praise of accomplishments will need to be expansive and selfless. Assistance versus resistance should dominate, kill analysis paralysis, and trust will need to be held dear. Make intentions and language clear. Encourage quiet champions. Expectations, milestones and timelines will need to be realistic, while dreams are achieved. And dream you must, achieve you must. Remember, the Open Source audience is Planet Earth.

Like the song says:

Of course you can’t become,
if you only say what you would have done.

In other words, surprise yourselves.

Thank You

Kevon Graham – Palisadoes Student Volunteer at UTech

Kevon Graham is a final year student at the University of Technology Jamaica (UTech) where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computing with a major in Computer Science. He is a member of the Global Leadership Interlink (GLI), a global professional organization of university students and professionals, focused on ethical and values based leadership incorporated in professionalism. He is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(IEEE) where he leads the ethics division at the student branch and a member of the software team. He has conducted research on DNA Conserved Genome Sequences and the role computers play in their analysis at the IEEE South East Conference and the Jamaica Institution of Engineers Conference. Kevon has a huge interest in research and development with the aid of technology and wishes to take his career along this path.