Free and open source software (FOSS) technologies transcend geographical and cultural boundaries to usher in a new paradigm where volunteers collaboratively develop software for the commons. The political economy of FOSS technologies has far-reaching implications because of the centrality of information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D). The global trend in the diffusion and adoption of FOSS technologies is a testimony to the socio-economic and technological impact the software has for both developed and developing economies. While FOSS development, education and business potentials may appear as a phenomenon for the developed world, a sizable number of developing countries have undertaken bold measures to bring about innovation, sustainable ICT development and technology independence.
Empirical and anecdotal evidence continues to demonstrate the potential of FOSS technologies in empowering individuals and communities, giving technology users ownership rights and facilitating collaboration among technology partners. These characteristics have the intrinsic value of giving people the opportunity to participate actively in the development and shaping of their own technology, stimulating industry growth and local employment and lowering technology acquisition and deployment costs.
The book aims to raise awareness, increase the deployment and capture the impacts of FOSS for sustainable development. The chapters cover the theoretical and practical implications of FOSS technologies, with contributions from expert researchers and practitioners in both developing and developed countries. It is targeted at ICT4D experts, FOSS developers and users, policymakers, technology-oriented SMEs and NGOs, as well as practitioners and institutions interested in the pedagogical aspects of FOSS technologies.
Sulayman K. Sowe is a JSPS-UNU Fellow in the Science and Technology for Sustainable Societies Programme at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Japan.
Govindan Parayil is Vice-Rector of the United Nations University and Director of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Japan.
Atsushi Sunami is Associate Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan.
Introduction, Sulayman K. Sowe, Govindan Parayil and Atsushi Sunami
Part I: FOSS research, theory, technology adoption and practice
Making sustainable open source software infrastructures by
federating and learning in the global context, Gianluca Miscione
Innovative tools for sustainable agriculture in developing
countries: The impact of open source biotechnology, Ademola A. Adenle and Obijiofor Aginam
FOSS as a driver: Perspectives from the ICT development agenda, Tomonari Takeuchi
A participatory service learning process for FOSS-based solidarity projects, David Franquesa, David López, Leandro Navarro and Fermín Sánchez
Open source software migration: Capturing best practices using process reference models, Onkgopotse Molefe and Thomas Fogwill
Exploring FOSS opportunities in natural hazard risk assessment and disaster management, Coley Zephenia
Open source software adoption best practices: Myths, realities, processes and economic growth, Carlo Daffara
Language data as a foundation for developing countries: The ANLoc 100 African Locales, Martin Benjamin
Part II: FOSS case studies, surveys, policy development and experience reports
The open source ecosystem in Tunisia: An empirical study, Imed Hammouda
Adoption and diffusion patterns of FOSS in Jamaican SMEs: A study of perceptions, attitudes and barriers, Maurice McNaughton, Sheryl Thompson and Evan W. Duggan
Development NGOs as potential groups for expansion of FOSS: The case of Iran, Saeid Nouri Neshat, Parvin Pakzadmanesh, Mehdi Almasi and Mohammad Amin Ameri
Improving public healthcare systems in developing countries using FOSS: The EHAS Foundation case, Carlos Rey-Moreno, Inés Bebea-González, Ignacio Prieto-Egido, Seth Cochran, Ignacio Foche-Pérez, Jose García-Múñoz, Andrés Martínez-Fernández and Javier Simó-Reigadas
FOSS in school communities: An experience report from Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana, Caroline Hardin
Part III: Conclusion
Conclusion, Sulayman K. Sowe