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Open Source and Standards

This page contains resources on open source and standards and why they are important for sustainable development. Open source and standards represent an opportunity for developing countries to adopt affordable software and solutions toward bridging the digital divide.

Free and open source software (FOSS) has a wider perspective than a software development methodology. It not only increases access, ownership and control of information and communication technologies (ICTs), but also provides a framework for the usage and sharing of intellectual capital in a way that is applicable to many areas of development endeavour.

These include open standards for interoperable ICT applications and open content licensing for creative works. FOSS can play an important role in the application of ICTs for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The International Open Source Network (IOSN) is a Centre of Excellence for FOSS in the Asia-Pacific region. It has produced several primers that can assist policy makers in understanding more about FOSS. It also runs FOSS capacity building initiatives.

Open Development: A New Theory for ICT4D

Open development refers to an emerging set of possibilities to catalyze positive change through “open” information-networked activities in international development. While there is evidence to support the observation that these changes could be coming, we are only now beginning to glimpse their potential for developing societies. Consequently, embedded in this theory are a high level research question and hypothesis. The research question asks how these information-networked activities work, in what circumstances, and to whose benefit. The hypothesis states that these new models of networked activities can lead to development outcomes that are both inclusive and transformative.

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Open ICT4D

This paper argues that openness is especially relevant at this point in time because policy choices made in the near term will shape future socities. Only with a proper understanding, both theoretically and empirically, can we hope to influence policy in a prodevelopment direction. This paper is a first step in improving our understanding of the concept of openness and its implications for ICT4D.

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Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Programme

Open Source Competency Centre (OSCC) a Malaysian government centre which serves as the point of reference for support and guidance in the implementation of Open Source Software in the the public sector. It provides resources on various policies, guidelines, recommendations and status of OSS implementation in government agencies.

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Government Open Source Policies

This resource provides the fourth update to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Open Source Policy survey which tracks governmental policies on the use of open source software as reported in the press or other media. As with the previous efforts, this resource included only explicit statements of policy and did not count decisions by governments to use or purchase open source software, as this may only reflect a decision based on price or product.

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FOSS: Open Content

FOSS: Open Content

This e-primer introduces the idea of Open Content by placing it in a larger historical context of copyright's relation to the public domain. It focuses on implications for policy makers thinking about information policies, and the advantages that the Open Content model may offer, especially for developing countries.

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FOSS: Network Infrastructure and Security

FOSS: Network Infrastructure and Security

This e-primer introduces readers to the network concepts and architectures, and the major networking functions with free/open source software (FOSS). It also discusses network security functions with FOSS, including security best practices and to-do's. The e-primer ends with useful tips on network planning, design and development.

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Sahana: Overview of a Disaster Management System

This paper addresses the alignment between FOSS development and humanitarian applications. It then describes the anatomy of the Sahana system, a web-based, free and open source software that serves as a disaster management system dedicated to information management in relief operation, recovery and rehabilitation. The paper also discusses Sahana deployment and lessons learned.

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FOSS: Licensing

FOSS: Licensing

This e-primer examines different proprietary and free/open source software (FOSS) licenses that use copyright law to regulate the use of software, and discusses how the FOSS movement uses licenses as a way to create a different model of software development. It provides scenarios to highlight possible copyright issues regarding the use of FOSS by end-users, developers and vendors.

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FOSS: Open Standards

FOSS: Open Standards

This e-primer introduces readers to what open standards are and why they are important. It explains the standard-setting processes and provides examples of open standards policies, initiatives and formats. It also addresses the challenges faced in implementing open standards.

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APDIP e-Note 7 - Open Technologies: Catalyst for transformation

APDIP e-Note 7 - Open Technologies: Catalyst for transformation

An information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem includes not only the hardware and software but also the policies, processes, applications, partnerships and stakeholders that together make up the technology environment for a country, government or organization. This APDIP e-Note explains the value of open ICT ecosystems and elaborates on their principles and building blocks in simple terms.

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Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems

Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems

he Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems is a user-friendly guide for policy makers and technologists offerings tools for understanding, creating, and sustaining open information and communication technologies ecosystems. Inside the guide you will find: core principles for openness; best practices and case studies; practical policy guidelines; and an Openness Maturity Model.

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Policies of United Nations System Organizations Towards the Use of Open Source Software (OSS) for Development

This report is the second of a two-part review undertaken by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the policies of United Nations system organizations regarding the use of OSS. The main focus of this second report is to examine the extent to which, in the wider framework of applying ICT for development, the use of OSS can foster the achievement of some of the Millennium Development Goals.

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FOSS: Localization

FOSS: Localization

This e-primer gives a general introduction to localization, its benefits and some current localization efforts. It provides details of what is involved technically in localizing software and the standards involved. It also discusses what governments can do to encourage localization efforts and how technical individuals can get involved.

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Policies of United Nations System Organizations Towards the Use of Open Source Software for Development (OSS) in the Secretariats

This report is the first of a two-part review undertaken by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the policies of United Nations system organizations regarding the use of OSS. It is aimed at raising awareness on the potential benefits of OSS by examining software policies in the secretariats against the background of a growing trend worldwide among Member States promoting the use of OSS in their own public administrations.

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FOSS: Government Policy

FOSS: Government Policy

This e-primer examines the issues related to government policies on free/open source software (FOSS). It focuses on the motivations behind various FOSS policies in the world today, the process by which they are formulated, and suggests implementation strategies that can be utilized. Its target audience are the policy-makers who set national policies and their advisers.

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FOSS: Education

FOSS: Education

This e-primer covers the use of free/open source software (FOSS) from schools to universities. It provides a brief overview of how FOSS can help in setting up the information technology (IT) infrastructure and administration of educational institutions. It considers software (mainly proprietary) that is now used as the basis for IT curricula and FOSS alternatives that are available.

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FOSS: General Introduction

FOSS: General Introduction

This e-primer introduces free/open source software (FOSS), its philosophy, history, and the advantages and disadvantages of FOSS. It also contains a brief survey of FOSS initiatives in various countries around the world. It is meant as a basic introductory document that can be handed to a person when asked, "What is FOSS?"

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Open to development: Open source software and economic development

A paper exploring the role that open-source software can play in an economy and its development, with a focus on empirical evidence and economic logic. Unfortunately, while open-source can clearly be a viable part of a developed software industry, the available evidence does not support the position that open-source software can form the basis of an industry on its own, especially in nations where the technology sector is still embryonic.

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International Open Source Network

The International Open Source Network (IOSN) is a Center of Excellence for free and open source software (FOSS), open content and open standards in the Asia-Pacific region. Through the three centres of excellence – IOSN ASEAN+3, IOSN PIC (Pacific Island Countries), and IOSN South Asia, based in Manila, Suva and Chennai respectively, the IOSN is tasked specifically to facilitate and network FOSS advocates and human resources in the region. The vision is that developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region can achieve rapid and sustained economic and social development by using affordable yet effective FOSS ICT solutions to bridge the digital divide.

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