Issues and Aspects of Open Source Software Usage and Adoption in the Public Sector

Issues and Aspects of Open Source Software Usage and Adoption in the Public Sector

Gabor Laszlo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-999-1.ch034
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This chapter introduces L-PEST model as the proposed tool for better understanding the fi elds are influenced by motivations and adaptation policy on FLOSS of public authorities and governments. Software usage in the public sector is a highly complex topic. In the confines of this chapter the selected case studies will show consideration to the vastly different needs and capacities and the different approaches and motivations towards the utilization of FLOSS by governments and/or local authorities. The primary objective of this chapter is to identify and describe the actors associated to the usage of FLOSS within and by the public sector. This chapter has made an attempt to fill this research gap and place the different actors into one complex model. It is hoped the proposed model assists better clarifying the intricate relationship between relevant factors. Nevertheless, much more research work is needed in the years to come. According to Michel Sapin, French Minister in charge of Public Administration and e-Government (2001), “The next generation e-government has two requirements: interoperability and transparency. These are the two strengths of open source software. Therefore, I am taking little risk when I predict that open source software will take a crucial part in the development of e-Government in the years to come.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): A financial estimate for such things as (but not limited to) computer software or hardware. TCO is commonly used to support acquisition and planning decisions for a wide range of assets that bring significant maintenance or operating costs across a usable life of several years or more. TCO analysis is not a complete cost-benefit analysis. It pays no attention to business benefits other than cost savings.

Piracy/Copyright Infringement: The software piracy refers to the duplication, distribution, or use of software without the permission of the copyright holder.

Return on Investment (ROI): Generally, a ratio of the benefit or profit received from a given investment to the cost of the investment itself. This approach also focuses on the benefits and the measurement of the value of making an investment, not only the cost savings.

Dependency: In this context, dependency means that the users are dependent on the software vendor for products and services so that he or she cannot move to another vendor without substantial cost.

Transparency: Transparency involves openness, communication, and accountability. In this context it refers to the fact that, when software is developed, the original source code is available (or not) to public (or user) review.

Localization: Means more than simply the translation of software; it refers to the customization of the software for local needs and demands.

Interoperability: Means the ability of systems to operate effectively together independently of different software or hardware vendors.

Lock-In Vendor Lock-In: In technical terms it means that, if the data is stored in closed format using proprietary software, the information will only be available and retrievable with difficulty. The term also refers to dependency of different types of lock-in, such as when the users are ‘locked-in’ when trained for a specific technology or the dependency of the specific vendor.

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