Public Sector Participation in Open Communities

Public Sector Participation in Open Communities

Andrea B. Baker (University at Albany, SUNY, USA), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico), Donna Canestraro (University at Albany, SUNY, USA), Jim Costello (University at Albany, SUNY, USA) and Derek Werthmuller (University at Albany, SUNY, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-857-4.ch005
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As new Internet-based products, services, and resources are developed, private companies and government agencies are exploring the use of these open standards and open source software for their daily operations. One of the main advantages of the open paradigm is interoperability and re-usability of code. Another significant advantage is data longevity, which means that the data created by these products are not constrained by future technology or vendor changes. They will be compatible with new document formats, applications, or specific pieces of software. However, there are also challenges associated with open standards and open software, particularly for public sector organizations. Issues such as technical training and support services can be a major concern for government agencies. Another issue that must be explored is associated with participating in online development communities and how this is constrained by the current legal framework and personnel practices.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GNU General Public License: Is the most permissive of open source licenses that requires all code is openly accessible.

Online Development Community: Community comprised of individuals, generally programmers, who contribute code and information relating to applications and software. These communities are commonly created to support open source software.

Open Standards: simple language data descriptions that are uniform in a discipline so that other programmers and machines can understand their logic.

Network: A decentralized governance structure that consists of a community of individuals who are contributing to the organization without rigidly defined roles and responsibilities.

Lesser GPL: License that offers less protection for users, but more for authors because users may be prohibited from accessing some of the code.

Governance Structure: Organizational structure that defines relationships and roles of individuals working toward a collective goal.

Open Source Library/Repository: A library/repository that contains portions of software or entire software applications. The applications are generally offered to the public to use and modify, but may have various restrictions, which are dependant on the license.

Hierarchy: A governance structure where rules and roles are clearly defined.

Interoperability: The ability for machines to exchange data without the intervention of human agents.

BSD Or MIT License: Most restrictive license that does not require that modified source code be openly accessible.

Open source License: Licenses related to open source software. More permissive licenses require that source code and all modification of code be open to all users. More restrictive licenses require only that source code be accessible to all users.

Hybrid: A governance structure that requires that roles and responsibilities are clearly understood, but provides the flexibility of a network structure.

XML: extensible markup language. Consists of text and tags which allow content to be separate from style. The tags provide rules that structure the document.

XML For Web Site Management: The use of XML to manage Web Site content; accomplished by separating content from style, which allows publication of content in various formats.

Open Source Software: Software that provides source code and possibly modifications. Its use may have various restrictions, which are dependant on the license. Software can be developed by an individual author or a collaborative community.

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