Open Source Technology and Ideology in the Nonprofi t Context

Open Source Technology and Ideology in the Nonprofi t Context

Jonathan Peizer (Internaut Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-999-1.ch036
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Abstract

This chapter contextualizes open source development and deployment in the nonprofit sector and discusses issues of ideology that often accompany it. The chapter separates and defines the ideologies of application development, selection and use, describing the different issues and impacts each creates in the nonprofit context. The purpose of the article is to clearly articulate the unique dynamics of application development and deployment in the nonprofit or social value context and where to apply ideological considerations for best effect.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Application-Use Ideology: The context in which a user chooses to use a software application. It can be for constructive or destructive purposes, to meet a social need, a business requirement or any other utilitarian purpose.

Mission Sensitive Nonprofit Open Source Applications: Applications specifically designed to promote and further the mission objectives of a nonprofit such as case management for domestic violence or human rights monitoring applications. These applications are typically not mainstream, with a harder business case for supporting developers to create and maintain applications.

Application-Development Ideology: The context in which a software developer chooses to develop his application, it can be for gain, glory or to meet a social good.

Open Source’s Social Value Equation: An argument that through its collaborative development methodology and fee sharing of intellectual property among users, Open Source can be equated to the best principles of the nonprofit sector.

Destructive Application Ideologies: Ideology that may occur in the process of development, selection or use creating applications dedicated to create disruption, or selecting and using applications specifically to cause disruption regardless of the reason for developing them.

Application-Selection Ideology: The context is which applications are selected for use. Historically, applications have been chosen to meet practical business requirements. However, the introduction of open source has ledd to a movement of some, particularly in the nonprofit community, advocating selection of software weighted more heavily on open source development ideology.

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