Open Source Software: A Developing Country View

Open Source Software: A Developing Country View

Jennifer Papin-Ramcharan (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and St. Augustine Campus, Tobago, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and St. Augustine Campus, Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-060-8.ch115
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Abstract

This chapter presents issues that relate to developing countries’ use of open source software (OSS) and the experience of these countries with OSS. Here the terms open source software (OSS), free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) and free software (FS) are used interchangeably. It describes the benefits of FLOSS including its superior quality and stability. Challenges to FLOSS use particularly for developing countries are described. It indicates that despite the greater benefits to developing countries of technology transfer of software development skills and the fostering of information and communication technology (ICT) innovation, the initial cost of acquiring FLOSS has been the key motivation for many developing countries adopting FLOSS solutions. It illustrates this by looking at the experience of a university in a developing country, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. Strategies for developing countries to benefit “fully” from FLOSS are presented including the implementation of formal organized programmes to educate and build awareness of FLOSS. The authors hope that by understanding some of the developing country issues that relate to OSS, solutions can be found. These countries could then fully benefit from OSS use, resulting in an increase in size of the global FLOSS development community that could potentially improve the quality of FLOSS and indeed all software.

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