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This is a consolidation of a discussion on I-Network Mailing list 

Dear Members

I am borrowing a thread from the LUG list for us to discuss.

The Bank of Uganda commissioned a website that cost them US$ 50,000 in 2007. But todate, the website has never been online. http://www.bou.or.ug

Archives on this issue online are here
http://technology.mswahili.org/
Scroll down towards the bottom.

Now, some questions to sincerely ask the BOU IT department:
1. What were the TORs for that website to justify the cost in 2007?
2. Why is the website online?
3. Did the country get value for money?

Wire James

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Highlighted contributions received with thanks from

James, maybe you added a zero by mistake...Probably you meant $5,000. I have been in web development for quite a while; I imagine a site with a price tag like that probably has air conditioning and an online massage facility; if you look at it close enough, it massages you. I can't see any other way that money can be accounted for...

Peter Kakoma

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Peter,

That is the actual price of that website. $50,000. We received a Request for Proposal around that time, but the requirements were tougher than an Acholi getting into Mi6. For a small firm like ours anyways.

My sources in BOU say it was eventually done by a Kenyan firm, and BOU is far from happy with the outcome (At least that's what their PR people told me some time back) I'm sure a lot of us are interested in this particular project went (or didn't). Maybe someone more involved in the project here could give us an analysis?

Benge Solomon King

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Hi Peter,

You didn’t click the link, obviously. He meant 50.000USD http://technology.mswahili.org/index.php#post-12
This is a big figure, and its unfortunately we can not say if it was worth it. (well we can, at this moment it isn’t) But smart sites, with a lot of functionality that can handle a LOT of users might indeed cost a lot of money. Or as the expression goes: facebook wasn't built in one day.

rgds,
Reinier Battenberg

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Hi guys,

In their defense, the website was actually up. I cannot give specifics but there was a time someone from BOU who I was assisting with another project requested me for an unofficial audit.

I can confirm that the website was up from 4th April 2009 (when I first accessed it) to about mid July (when I last accessed it). And yes, it was running on OpenCMS, although I was never given access to the back end. So I believe the website was up for a considerable period of time.But here's the catch:

According to the person who requested my assistance, people abroad (and outside their local hosting ISP, which I will not name) where complaining that they couldn't access the website. I did a few simple global ping checks over a few days and they always showed the website as unreachable (time-outs, no-response from server, DNS errors, etc) from anywhere except Uganda.

Truth is, from what I saw, justifying the $50,000 cost was impossible. The most complex thing I saw was a document directory, which they said they had to update manually. I'd honestly value the cost of the actual website I saw (front end) at less than $2,000. Include a (Open Source) backend for the exact functionality I saw and maybe, just maybe you might reach $5,000. $50,000? I don't think so.

James, I cannot give you the contacts/name of the person I dealt with, as I respect people's privacy a whole lot. I'll dig up contacts of their PR/Communications department though and hopefully you can take it on from there.

Douglas, I do not have those documents any longer, unfortunately. Perhaps Mr. Edward Baliddawa should be able to help? Around that time he had informed me that Uganda Homepages had submitted a bid-interest and had received the full TOR.

Benge Solomon King


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All Contributions received with thanks from

1. Peter Kakoma
2. Derek Sejjuko
3. Douglas Onyango
4. Francis Okoboi
5. James Wire
6. Mukalazi George
7. Mutaremwa Frank
8. Reinier Battenberg
9. Solomon King Benge
10. Tamale Tom
11. Esther Nakkazi
12. Julius Kateega
13. Dumba Nicholas
14. Gimei Nagimesi
15. Michael Nampala
16. Mugume Collins

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More information on Website development

What is Open CMS?
OpenCms Software is a professional, easy to use website content management system. OpenCms helps content managers worldwide to create and maintain websites fast and efficiently. It is a fully browser based user interface. Content can be created using an integrated WYSIWYG editor similar to well known office applications.

OpenCms is based on Java and XML technology. It can be deployed in an open source environment (e.g. Linux, Apache, Tomcat, MySQL) as well as on commercial components (e.g.  Windows NT, IIS, BEA Weblogic, Oracle). As true open source software, OpenCms is free of licensing costs.

More information on OpenCMS

Accessing websites / what is a global ping request?
Ping is a computer network tool used to test whether a particular host is reachable across an IP network. It works by sending ICMP “echo request” packets to the target host and listening for ICMP “echo response” replies. Ping measures the round-trip time and records any packet loss, and prints when finished a statistical summary of the echo response packets received, the minimum, mean, max and in some versions the standard deviation of the round trip time.

To ping your website, do the following (windows users):
1. Go to Programs - Accessories - command prompt
2. At the C prompt type ping website url (e.g. www.i-network.or.ug) and then press enter
3. It will provide the statistics for you. ideally you should receive 4 packets of data with no data loss

A Global Ping checks the availability of a host via the Internet from multiple locations around the world. It allows you ensure that your website or connection to the internet is reachable.

More information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ping

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