Ict@innovation: Free your IT Business in Africa/2-7

Module 2.7 CENFOSS - Using FOSS for Business







Registered Name: CENFOSS Ltd.

Founded: 2006

Staff Strength: 12

Country: Mozambique

Website: http://www.cenfoss.co.mz/

Type of business: FOSS training, software development, web hosting.



CENFOSS – CENTRO DE FORMACAO EM OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE was established in 2006 in Maputo as the first official known Free and Open Source Software Training Centre in Mozambique. By the mid of 2007 the company started to provide services in the area of Web Hosting, Web Design and FOSS Consultancy. The CENFOSS idea started after the Mozambique Workshop, in 2006. Free and Open Source in Mozambique wasn't something new. But until the date, none of the training centres, schools or universities was looking at FOSS as a business for training and services. “Me, Celso, among with another alumni from InWent, Ricardo Mario Taca, we decided to create training materials for the lessons. But a place and hardware equipment was necessary to conduct the lessons. At that point none of us, the alumni, had money enough to start it. “

CENFOSS was registered with 4 partners, Celso Timana, Eduardo Timana, Ana Soares and Olga Reina, having only one partner with experience in FOSS. The rest of the partners had given the logistical support to CENFOSS. We started FOSS lessons with two trainers, one at full time and another as part-time. From September 2006 until February 2007 CENFOSS had 3 employees. Now, two of the founders have left CENFOSS to enable more two to join: Orvalho Augusto and Rui Reina. And Since then the numbers of staff has increased to 12 employees which:

  • Two are CENFOSS partners
  • Three secretary's with switched schedules
  • Five technicians
  • Two office assistants

Since we have more than 10 employees in Mozambique this means that we are a Medium Company.

What services or software solutions are being offered?


One of the main requests that we have in our services has been mail server configuration. Nowadays, more companies, small and medium sized, are increasingly aware of the benefits of having their brand our services as domain. Without using FOSS as our main tool it wouldn't be possible to achieve our goals. We also provide network monitoring to companies that desire to control their network for bandwidth consumption. Our solution using free and open sources are:

  • Mailserver - mailrelay/filtering, and webmail (Clamav, Amavis, Postfix, SpamAssassin, Dovecot, Squirrelmail and Zimbra)
  • Web Proxy – Squid
  • Database modeling – MySQL, PostgreSQL
  • WebServer – Apache, lighttpd
  • Content Management System – Joomla, Drupal
  • Statistical Consulting
  • Aplications Design – Using programming languages such as:
  • Python
  • Java
  • PHP5
  • Perl

Beside the TCO advantages, we have the opportunity to show to our customers that it is possible doing business and having a business using the FOSS model. Our service gave us opportunity to collaborate more with other communities around FOSS.


CENFOSS has cooperation and contracts with several institutions, from government to private and NGO.

  • CodeWeavers – Is a company based in USA which develops Wine open source tool for interoperability between Windows and Linux and CrossOver Linux – commercial open source tool with the same purpose as Wine. CENFOSS is a CodeWeavers client.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affair – CENFOSS has implemented and maintain the mail server from this ministry.
  • University Eduardo Mondlane, Branch of Mathematics and Informatics - CENFOSS has a partnership with this University for training teachers. Until now we had one workshop over Free and Open Source conducted with 60 students in 2008.
  • SOCREMO – Bank of Micro finances – currently CENFOSS supports GNU/Linux on SOCREMO with a one year support contract. The work involves more than 150 computers to support and 3 servers also running GNU/Linux.
  • CEDE, AMODE, RRD, ZE Servicos - CENFOSS provides hosting of web and e-mail services for those companies and organization.

Who are the intended customers?


CENFOSS customers are categorized according to the services we offer. Universities students are those who most require our training services. At the beginning of 2008 we started to do consultancy for Free and Open Source Software. Since then we have been supporting from telecommunication companies, private banks and government institutions. The table below summarizes our current customers;

Service Offered by CENFOSS Customers Type & Service of the Company Size of the Company
MySQL and Unix/FreeBSD Training VODACOM Mozambique Private GSM provider Large Enterprise
Training and Implementation of FOSS technologies for National Domain Name Servers Telecommunication of Mozambique (TDM) Public institution for landlines communication and ISP Large Enterprise
Linux training and mail server configuration Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government Institution -
CMS training Interior Ministry Government Institution -
Linux Training Ministry of Commerce Government Institution -
MySQL training Commercial Bank of Investments – BCI Private Bank Large Enterprise
Linux Support, training SOCREMO Private Bank Large
Linux Training GSTELECOM Private ISP Large
Linux Training TROPICAL Private ISP Medium
Linux Training PANINTRA Private ISP Medium
Web & email Hosting CEDE NGO Medium
Web & email Hosting AMODE NGO Medium
Web & email Hosting RRD Design Company Small
Web & email Hosting National Institute for Navigation Public Institution Large
Web & email Hosting Ze Servicos Private Firm Small

Lessons learned


After working almost three years with FOSS we have enough experience acquired along the time. We have seen situations where FOSS alone is not the solution. Since we support lots of companies doing business and using FOSS, we will continue to accumulate experience and are better positioned to advise individuals, businesses and organizations on which technology to use where in their business and when to use that technology.



CENFOSS has established itself in the market as FOSS training and solution provider. Until now we are the only training center fully dedicated to FOSS in Mozambique. This does give us and advantages over newcomers who may also be our potential competitors. Continuing with a rigorous marketing campaign, building strong ties with older customers as well as new customer are some of our goals in the coming years.

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