On the Role of Public Policies Supporting Free/Open Source Software

On the Role of Public Policies Supporting Free/Open Source Software

Stefano Comino (University of Trento, Italy), Fabio M. Manenti (University of Padua, Italy) and Alessandro Rossi (University of Trento, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-060-8.ch007
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Abstract

Governments’ interest in free/open source software is steadily increasing. Several policies aimed at supporting free/open source software have been taken or are currently under discussion all around the world. In this chapter, we review the basic (economic) rationales for such policy interventions and we present some summary statistics on policies taken within the European countries. We claim that in order to evaluate correctly the consequences of such interventions one has to consider both the role and the administrative level at which such decisions are taken as well as the typology of software that is involved. Moreover, we argue that the level playing field cannot be taken for granted in software markets. Therefore, non-intrusive public policies that currently prevail at the European level in terms, for instance, of the promotion of open standards or in terms of campaigns aimed at informing IT decision-makers, are likely to be welfare enhancing.

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