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Free/Libre Open-Source-Software in Development Cooperation – Theory and Challenges

D i s s e r t a t i o n

Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades

doctor rerum agriculturarum

(Dr. rer. agr.)

eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen Fakultät der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

von

Dipl. Phys. Martin Voß, MBA geb. 24.3.1970, Preetz/Holst.

Präsident der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Prof. Dr. Christoph Markschies

Dekan der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen Fakultät Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Otto Kaufmann

Gutachter 1. Herr Prof. Dr. Hans E. Jahnke 2. Herr Dr. Michael La Rosa Pérez

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FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

TABLE OF CONTENT

List of Figures

III

List of Tables

IV

VI

VII

VIII

Abstract

Zusammenfassung

Acknowledgements

Preface ...............................................................................................IX Introduction

1

...............................................................................

1

1.1

The Problem

1

1.2

Objectives of the study

...............................................................

3

1.3

Approach and Methodology

........................................................

4

2

Free/Libre and Open-Source-Software

7

  • 2.1 History

.......................................................................................

7

  • 2.2 Open-Source-Software status

.....................................................

9

  • 2.2.1 Motivation for participation in FLOSS projects

11

  • 2.2.2 Organization and communication

12

  • 2.2.3 The role of firms

.......................................................................

13

2.3

Advantages and Disadvantages to users

...................................

16

3

Information and communication technology as an instrument

in development cooperation

......................................................

19

  • 3.1 Development policy objectives ..................................................

19

  • 3.2 Development policy strategies

..................................................

21

  • 3.3 The status of ICT in less developed countries

27

  • 3.4 ICT for development

.................................................................

29

  • 3.4.1 ICT and the MDGs

...................................................................

29

  • 3.4.2 ICT for growth and empowerment

31

3.5

Examples of ICT in development cooperation

............................

37

  • 3.5.1 Radio based service

..................................................................

37

  • 3.5.2 Mobile phone based project

......................................................

38

  • 3.5.3 Individual computing

...............................................................

39

4

FLOSS within development cooperation

...................................

42

4.1

Special aspects of Open-Source-Software in development

cooperation

..............................................................................

42

  • 4.1.1 ICT sustainability and autonomy

44

Security

  • 4.1.2 ...................................................................................

46

  • 4.1.3 Intellectual property rights

.......................................................

47

4.2

The Status of FLOSS in development cooperation

.....................

48

  • 4.2.1 Country ICT policies options

....................................................

48

  • 4.2.2 Examples of FLOSS ICT policies

...............................................

53

  • 4.2.3 Case studies of FLOSS in development cooperation

..................

54

  • 4.2.4 Experiences and "Lessons Learned"

56

5

Implications of FLOSS strategies for development cooperation

..

58

5.1

Creating an enabling environment for FLOSS

...........................

58

  • 5.1.1 FLOSS advocacy and education

59

  • 5.1.2 Market demand

.......................................................................

59

5.2

Readiness and awareness of actors in development

cooperation

..............................................................................

60

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Readiness

  • 5.2.1 ................................................................................

60

  • 5.2.2 ...............................................................................

Awareness

62

  • 5.2.3 Examples of projects in development cooperation which are

not using and promoting FLOSS

63

6

Awareness of actors of development cooperation for FLOSS

......

66

6.1

Survey Design

..........................................................................

66

Methodology

  • 6.1.1 ............................................................................

66

  • 6.1.2 Questionnaire Design

...............................................................

67

  • 6.2 Survey realization

71

Data analysis

  • 6.3 ...........................................................................

73

  • 6.3.1 Data overview

73

  • 6.3.2 Quantitative analysis

76

  • 6.3.3 Qualitative analysis

88

7

Discussion

...............................................................................

94

7.1

Literature

................................................................................

94

  • 7.1.1 FLOSS in general

.....................................................................

94

  • 7.1.2 ICT application in development cooperation

96

  • 7.1.3 FLOSS application in development cooperation

97

7.2

Survey Results

.......................................................................

100

  • 7.2.1 Quantitative results

101

  • 7.2.2 Qualitative results

102

  • 7.2.3 Common findings

...................................................................

104

8

Conclusions and Outlook

.......................................................

107

Appendix

.........................................................................................

110

A

Millennium Development Goals

..............................................

110

B

Open Source Definition

..........................................................

111

  • C Questionnaire ........................................................................

113

  • D Maps

115

References

.......................................................................................

120

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Population Trends in Developing Regions

..............................

3

Figure 2: Brief history of FLOSS Figure 3: Porter 5 Forces Analysis

8

14

..........................................................

.....................................................

Figure 4: Growth & Empowerment Development Figure 5: The determinants of empowerment

Strategy..................

..................................... Figure 6: Telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, Africa 1995- 2004 ................................................................................. Figure 7: Influence of ICT on development strategy components

........

23

26

29

32

Figure 8: NRI 2003–2004 vs GDP per Capita, Partial Log Regression

..

33

Figure 9: NRI and HDI, 2003

............................................................. Figure 10: Developments of Telecommunications in Peru Figure 11: Range of technologies and users relevance

...................

........................ Figure 12: Schematic Diagram of SIMpill Service Delivery

..................

34

36

37

39

Figure 13: Simputer and 100$ Laptop

............................................... Figure 14: IT-Strategy Map for Developing Countries

.........................

40

43

Figure 15: Operationalization of ‘awareness and perception of software’

68

........................................................................... Figure 16: Operationalization of ‘awareness and perception of FLOSS’69

Figure 17: Operationalization of ‘actors in development cooperation‘

..

70

Figure 18: Response over time of the FLOSS survey

...........................

73

Figure 19: Age distribution of participants

......................................... Figure 20: Distribution of experience of participants

.......................... Figure 21: Distribution of gender and origin of participants

...............

74

75

76

Figure 22: Histogram for ‘country of origin’ for participants not

coming from Germany

....................................................... Figure 23: Recoding of variables ‘Age’ and ‘Years experience’

.............

76

77

Figure 24: Frequencies for prospects and risks of software Figure 25: Frequencies for prospects and risks of FLOSS

................

...................

78

80

Figure 26: Frequencies for prospects and risks of FLOSS, only for

participants who used FLOSS

........................................... Figure 27: Crosstabulation of ‘Used FLOSS’ and age

..........................

82

83

Figure 28: Crosstabulation of ‘FLOSS reduces costs’ and ‘years

experience’

........................................................................

85

Figure 29: Crosstabulation of ‘increases human capital’ and ‘fosters

participation’

....................................................................

86

Figure 30: Frequencies of ‘Know FLOSS’ and ‘Used FLOSS’ with 95%

confidence intervals

..........................................................

87

Figure 31: Frequencies for provision of answers to open questions

....

88

Figure 32: Rural Population in Total Population (2004)

....................

115

Figure 33: World by Income - GDP per capita

..................................

Figure 34: Internet Users Worldwide

................................................

116

117

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Figure 35: Router and population density

........................................

118

Figure 36: Human Development Index

.............................................

119

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Crosstabulation of “Years experience” and “Age” Table 2: Frequencies for prospects and risks of software .................... Table 3: Frequencies for selected questions, only for participants without experience with software in development cooperation ....................................................................... Table 4: Frequencies for prospects and risks of FLOSS

...................

......................

75

77

79

80

Table 5: Frequencies for prospects and risks of FLOSS, only for

participants who used FLOSS

........................................... Table 6: Crosstabulation of “Used FLOSS” and “Age”

.........................

81

83

Table 7: Crosstabulation of “FLOSS reduces costs” and “Years

experience”

.......................................................................

84

Table 8: Crosstabulation of “Increases human capital” and “Fosters participation”

.................................................................... Table 9: Levels of significance and strengths of associations

..............

85

87

IV

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Acronyms

CSS

Closed source software

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

FDI

Foreign direct investment

FLOSS

Free/Libre and Open-Source-Software, in the literature

FLOSS4D

FOSS is used synonymously for FLOSS Free/Libre and Open-Source-Software for development

FOSSFA

Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa

FSF

Free Software Foundation

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GPL

General Public License

GPT

General Purpose Technology

GTZ

Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit

HDI

Human Development Index

ICT

Information and communication technology

ICT4D

Information and communication technology for

IPR

development Intellectual property rights

IT

Information technology

ITU

International Telecommunication Unit

LDC

Least Developed Country

LLDC

Landlocked Developing Country

MDG

Millennium Development Goals

NGO

Non-government organization

NRI

Networked readiness index

OSI

Open Source Initiative

PRA

Participatory Rural Appraisal

SIDC

Small Island Developing Country

TCO

Total cost of ownership

UNCTAD

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNDP

United Nations Development Program

UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

WTO

Organization World Trade Organization

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Abstract

Agriculture in development regions is often characterized by rural and remote settings, poverty, low levels of education and high degrees of il- literacy. Against this background the theoretical framework for the ap- plication of information and communication technologies and in par- ticular the application of Free/Libre Open-Source-Software (FLOSS) in development regions is being outlined and the challenges for the appli- cation analyzed.

It is elaborated that FLOSS supports current development objectives. In addition the special situation of rural development regions is supported. Improved means of communication, additional sources of household income and distant learning programs are just a few examples for rural development where FLOSS is applicable.

One challenge which is derived from the literature research is the ap- propriate awareness of actors for the application of FLOSS in develop- ment cooperation. This aspect is further analyzed by an expert survey. The results suggest that the awareness and perception of FLOSS by ac- tors in development cooperation can be described as uneven. This re- lates to the level of knowledge about FLOSS itself as well as to the per- ception of the suggested prospects and risks.

Key words: Information technology, development regions, ICT strate- gies, Free/Libre Open-Source-Software, rural development

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Zusammenfassung

Die Landwirtschaft in den Entwicklungsregionen wird oft durch ländli- che und abgelegene Situationen, Armut sowie geringes Bildungsniveau einhergehend mit einer hohen Rate von Analphabetismus charakteri- siert. Vor diesem Hintergrund werden die theoretischen Rahmenbedin- gungen für die Anwendung von Free/Libre Open-Source-Software (FLOSS) in den Entwicklungsregionen aufgezeigt sowie die Herausforde- rungen analysiert.

Es wird aufgezeigt, dass mit Hilfe von FLOSS aktuelle Entwicklungszie- le, insbesondere auch für die ländliche Entwicklung, unterstützt wer- den können. Exemplarische Beispiele dafür sind Verbesserung der Kommunikationsinfrastruktur, Schaffung von zusätzlichen Einkom- mensmöglichkeiten und Fernbildungsprogramme.

Aus der Literaturrecherche wird als eine wesentliche Herausforderung die angemessene Wahrnehmung der Anwendung von FLOSS durch Ak- teure der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit abgeleitet. Dieser Aspekt wird durch eine schriftliche Expertenbefragung weiter analysiert. Die Ergeb- nisse legen nahe, dass das Bewusstsein und Wahrnehmung als unein- heitlich innerhalb der Gruppe der Akteure beschrieben werden kann. Dieses Ergebnis bezieht sich sowohl auf den Wissensgrad über FLOSS im Allgemeinen als auch auf die Wahrnehmung der abgeleiteten Per- spektiven.

Schlagworte: Informationstechnologie, Entwicklungsregionen, IKT Stra- tegien, Free/Libre Open-Source-Software, ländliche Entwicklung

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Acknowledgements

Only the help of many people made it possible that I was able to finish this thesis. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of them.

First of all I want to thank Prof. Dr. Jahnke who enabled me to pursue the idea of this interdisciplinary subject. Without his continuous sup- port and suggestions this work would not have been possible.

I also received much support from all members of the department De- velopment Planning and Project Management. Especially the expertise of Mrs. Nowak was very helpful during the planning, execution and analysis of the survey.

Further I would like to express my gratitude towards all individuals and organizations supporting my survey. In particular Dr. Hülsebusch, member of the organizing committee of the Tropentag 2005 in Hohen- heim, Mrs. Grundmann, member of SLE and Prof. Dr. Hoffmann, from the University Hohenheim and director of ATSAF, provided much help.

Last but not least I want to thank my beloved wife Cissa for her sup- port, patience and never ending encouragement as well as my son Henry who, despite of his young age of four months, had a big influence on the completion of this thesis.

Martin Voß

November 2006

FREE/LIBRE OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION – THEORY AND CHALLENGES

Preface

At the beginning was an idea. In this case the “beginning” was a discus- sion with Prof. Dr. Jahnke. Within this conversation the idea was born to analyze relationships between development cooperation and new technologies. At a request of Prof. Dr. Jahnke I started to investigate the subject and after additional dialogues the topic evolved: Free/Libre Open-Source-Software in Development Cooperation – Theory and Chal- lenges. I enjoyed this interdisciplinary work very much and I feel grate- ful that I was given the chance for this thesis.

IX

INTRODUCTION

1 Introduction

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have gained a con- siderable importance in many aspects of nowadays life. The end of the last century has seen a boom in the spread of internet technologies. Even though stock markets overvalued many of the newly emerging companies with the well known consequences, the trend has not stopped.

Alongside with the spread of the internet, Free/Libre Open-Source- Software (FLOSS) has acquired a noteworthy market share in many seg- ments of the software industry. 1 The most famous examples for FLOSS include Linux in the operating system segment and the Apache web- server as a middleware product. 2 The openly available software products also had an important impact on the momentum of the newly estab- lished internet based businesses during the boom phase in the late 1990’s. Without license fees for operating systems and server software, market entry barriers have been lowered significantly.

1.1 The Problem

As one result of the growing integration of global business and the spread of internet access and technologies the global society has trans- formed into a knowledge society. It has become increasingly important for all economic actors to participate in the global knowledge network. For actors from less developed and transitioning countries this is still a big challenge. Availability of ICT infrastructure is just one aspect. Other limiting factors include the education of actors, both in terms of aware- ness as well as in terms of capabilities to utilize information and com-

  • 1 Within this document, except otherwise noted, the term ‘FLOSS’ represents all Software which has been published under a license that complies to the Open Source Definition published by the Open-Source-Initiative (OSI). A copy of that definition can be found in Appendix B. FLOSS and Open-Source-Software are used as synonyms.

  • 2 Netcraft (2005)

INTRODUCTION

munication technologies. This phenomenon of “haves” and “have-nots” with regards to ICT access is commonly referred to as ‘digital divide’. 3

The elimination of this digital divide is already at the center of many ac- tivities in international development cooperation. The United Nations Millennium Development Declaration states explicitly that the global community will try to “ensure that the benefits of new technologies, es- pecially information and communication technologies […] are available to all.” 4 There are also guarded hopes that investments in ICT foster im- provements of other objectives of development cooperation. These goals include poverty reduction in general, gender issues, good governance and improvement of education and participation.

One special aspect of ICT for development cooperation (ICT4D) is the utilization of FLOSS (FLOSS4D). 5 The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) discusses the application of FLOSS in development cooperation 6 and the UNDP 7 together with UNESCO 8 view FLOSS as “an avenue for economic and technological empower- ment”. 9 It is regarded as a tool which can help providing sustainable ICT solutions in development cooperation. In addition common barriers like high license fees and intellectual property issues can be tackled.

In order to promote Open-Source-Software in development cooperation effectively it could be advantageous to foster shared ideas about the benefits and modes of application. Local actors as well as international consultants and agencies would have to be empowered to utilize FLOSS and generate the anticipated benefits.

  • 3 Dutta et al. (2004), page 65

  • 4 General Assembly of the United Nations (2000), page 6

  • 5 4D is the abbreviation of “for development (cooperation)”

  • 6 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), pages 95 ff.

  • 7 United Nations Development Program

  • 8 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  • 9 UNDP/UNESCO (2003), page 2

INTRODUCTION

1.2 Objectives of the study

Less developed countries are among other things characterized by low levels of income. Most of these countries are located in the tropical and subtropical regions, as illustrated in Figure 33. In these areas high rates of rural population can be observed, on average 50% of the popu- lation (Figure 32). The majority is engaged in agriculture but accounts only for about one quarter of the income. Considering poor people it is estimated that even three quarters live in rural situations. 10 Despite ur- banization 60% are expected to be still rural in 2020. Within the next three decades it is predicted that the majority of the population in de- veloping countries will be rural. 11 “However, as a result of the con- stantly increasing proportion of urban dwellers (40 percent in 2000 ris- ing to 56 percent in 2030), the total rural population is actually ex- pected to decline after 2020” (Figure 1). 12 A more or less constant level of population in agriculture has to provide an increasing urban popula- tion with food. Dixon emphasizes though, that rural to urban migration rates are hard to predict as they depend on international commodity prices, urban employment growth, and real exchange rates.

I NTRODUCTION 1.2 Objectives of the study Less developed countries are among other things characterized by

Figure 1: Population Trends in Developing Regions 13

  • 10 International Fund for Agricultural Development (2001)

  • 11 Gasperini (2004)

  • 12 Dixon (2001), page 3f.

  • 13 Dixon (2001), page 4

INTRODUCTION

The outlined population development underpins the importance of rural development. Thereby rural areas in developing countries are commonly characterized by high importance of agriculture, long distances, pov- erty, lack of services and institutions, low levels of education and high rates of illiteracy, missing access to markets and poor health facilities. The following discussion of the challenge of applying information and communication technologies in development cooperation takes this spe- cial situation into account. The considerations are supplemented by a review of potentials and limits of FLOSS application in this context. This also includes an analysis of the awareness and perception for the poten- tials and limits by actors of development cooperation.

This study has two main objectives. The first one is to underpin the ap- plicability of software in general and FLOSS in particular in develop- ment cooperation. Especially the compatibility of Open-Source-Software strategies with latest development policy approaches will be illustrated.

Secondly this thesis aims to shed light on the question of awareness and perception of ICT and FLOSS of actors of development cooperation.

The key questions to be answered in this study are:

1. Can FLOSS be regarded as a valid tool in development coopera- tion supporting latest development strategies and objectives?

2. What is the awareness and perception of actors in development cooperation of Open-Source-Software?

For one the questions help to provide the theoretical framework of the application of FLOSS in development cooperation. For the other they aim to highlight the theoretical and practical challenges for FLOSS ap- plication in development regions.

1.3 Approach and Methodology

In order to asses the applicability of FLOSS in development cooperation a comprehensive literature review was conducted. This also includes the

INTRODUCTION

origin and development of the FLOSS software model and the applica- tion of ICT in general in development cooperation.

Chapter 2 summarizes the development of the Open-Source-Software phenomenon and its impact on the IT industry. Special attention is drawn to the current status of FLOSS including organizational issues as well as the increasingly important role of commercial firms.

The illustration of ICT in development cooperation in chapter 3 includes an analysis of recent development strategies as well as a discussion of development objectives which are aided by the appropriate application of ICT. The chapter is concluded by case studies of ICT in development cooperation.

Chapter 4 takes up the discussion about the application of FLOSS within development cooperation. In addition to a presentation of pros and cons and experiences from the past, countries’ ICT policy options for FLOSS are described.

The

analysis in chapters

2

to

4

is

mainly based on

my master

thesis. 14 I am using parts of that work without additional citation.

From the findings based on the literature review implications of the ap- plication of FLOSS in development cooperation are derived in chapter 5. FLOSS strategies make demands on various levels. From a country’s perspective an enabling environment has to be established. From an actors view readiness and awareness for FLOSS itself and its expected advantages have to be assured.

These implications are the basis for the analysis in Chapter 6. A ques- tionnaire is used to determine if FLOSS is perceived as a valid tool by experts of international development cooperation. In addition light is shed on the homogeneity of the perception of Open-Source-Software us- ing qualitative and quantitative analysis of the collected data.

  • 14 Voss (2006) “Potential Analysis of Open-Source-Software as an Instrument in De- velopment Cooperation”

INTRODUCTION

Chapter 7 discusses the findings from the literature review as well as from the empirical study. This also includes an assessment of the meth- ods and results of this thesis.

Concluding remarks and future prospects round off the thesis.

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

  • 2 Free/Libre and Open-Source-Software

This chapter provides an introductory overview about Open-Source- Software. More comprehensive presentations can be found in the litera- ture. 15

Open-Source-Software has gained considerable importance within the last couple of years. An increasing number of companies are participat- ing in Open-Source projects or are using FLOSS products. This is par- ticularly evident in the case of the operating system Linux which is one of the most successful FLOSS projects. 16 More and more companies utilize Linux even for the very core of their business. Unilever, as one example, announced that by 2006 all IT applications will run on Linux while IBM agreed to provide the technical support for this shift. 17 In ad- dition to commercial companies many public authorities are switching their IT infrastructure to FLOSS. 18

FLOSS products are also successful in other market segments. The Net- craft web server survey indicates an almost 70% market share for the Open-Source Apache web server. 19

2.1 History

The FLOSS phenomena itself is nothing new. The roots of Open-Source- Software development can be found in the computer departments of American universities (Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and MIT) in the 1960’s and 1970’s. 20 By that time the small software developer community exchanged source code and improvements of existing pro- grams freely for mutual benefits. But with the rising software industry an increasing number of programs became proprietary and the aca-

  • 15 E.g. Brügge et al. (2004), Grassmuck (2004) and Weber (2004) as a starting point for discussions about Open-Source-Software.

  • 16 In the general public Linux is used instead of the proper term “GNU/Linux”. In this document the term “Linux” is meant to denote “GNU/Linux”.

  • 17 Heise Online (2003a)

  • 18 Bundestux (2005)

  • 19 Netcraft 2005

  • 20 Rasch (2000)

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

demic code sharing ceased. Coming from the collegial background at the MIT computer labs in the 1970’s Richard Stallman founded the GNU-Project, which in 1985 evolved into the creation of the Free Soft- ware Foundation (FSF). This organization was set up to promote GNU and other Free Software licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Although other projects created free software as well (e.g. X- Consortium or the Perl project) the FSF was the most visible by that time.

Stallman and his fellow developers realized an important set of essential tools but were missing an operating system. Though work started on a kernel project called HURD it progressed very slowly. In 1991 Linus Torvalds published a Unix-like kernel to various mailing lists for review and received very positive feedback. Other programmers started to mod- ify and enhance that kernel and Linux (Linus + UNIX) became the de- facto kernel for the GNU operating system. With GNU/Linux the first Unix-like free operating system became available.

1991 1998 2000 FSF Foundation 1985 R. Stallmann: L. Torvalds: Linux-Kernel E. Raymond: IBM supports OSI
1991
1998
2000
FSF Foundation
1985
R. Stallmann:
L. Torvalds:
Linux-Kernel
E. Raymond:
IBM supports
OSI Foundation
Linux

Figure 2: Brief history of FLOSS

Another milestone in the history of FLOSS was the publication of Eric Raymond’s “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” in 1997. 21 In his essay, which spread quickly through the developer community, Raymond ar- gues that Open-Source licenses result in higher quality and less expen-

21 Raymond (2001)

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

sive software. In the same year Netscape faced enormous losses in mar- ket shares for its browser software Netscape Navigator. Influenced by Raymond’s article Netscape decided to open its browser software to the Open-Source community in early 1998. Following Netscape’s decision Raymond and fellow Open-Source evangelists founded the Open- Source-Initiative (OSI). The main idea was to promote free software to the business community in a more pragmatic way than the FSF and to provide a body for certification of Free/Open-Source licenses. The com- mon rules for these licenses are articulated in the Open-Source- Definition (refer to Appendix B, Open Source Definition).

This pragmatic approach resulted in additional interest of the business community and an increasing number of companies announced sup- port for the Linux operating system. E.g. in 2000 IBM planned to invest one billion dollars in Linux. 22

2.2 Open-Source-Software status

Today FLOSS is an important part of the software industry. Big compa- nies like IBM and HP are investing in FLOSS projects, both by funding as well as by active participation. The German Federal Government is taking part in this development model and the European Union is ana- lyzing possibilities for the application of Open-Source-Software. 23

At the same time the FLOSS model is discussed controversially and emotionally. Naturally companies like Microsoft, whose business model traditionally relies on license fees, try to emphasize the disadvantages of the FLOSS model. 24 On the other side “Open-Source-Evangelists” de- scribe in an almost romantic way the Open-Source-Movement as an al-

  • 22 Linux Today (2000)

  • 23 The German Government financed the development of a free groupware solution, which was released in June 2004 under the GNU General Public License (http://kroupware.org/faq/faq.html#General2), on the activities of the European Union see Schmitz/Castiaux (2002).

  • 24 Heise Online (2003b)

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

ternative system of values. 25 For a more detailed discussion of FLOSS pros and cons see chapter 2.3.

In addition the FLOSS phenomenon became a subject of scientific re- search in the last couple of years. Researchers are trying to explain the motivation of individuals for their participation in FLOSS projects with economic theories or are developing models for knowledge transfer in Open-Source-Software projects. 26 The EU initiated a FLOSS report which concentrates on economic aspects and questions: 27

How and to what extent are companies and public authorities us- ing Open-Source-Software and why did they decide to do so?

Which business models for Open-Source based companies do really work?

Why are especially the big players in the software industry in- volved in Open-Source-Software projects and which are the politi- cal implications of that engagement?

Apart from the extensive final report the survey data collected is freely available and is used as the basis for additional research. The main re- sults of the study are that FLOSS was mainly used on the server side as operating system (e.g. Linux), for databases and web server applica- tions. The distribution on the desktop was low at the time of the survey. In addition it was stated that companies utilize FLOSS products mainly because of cost and license issues. Further important reasons are secu- rity concerns and the stability of selected Open-Source-Software prod- ucts.

The high investments of private companies and public authorities make Open-Source-Software an interesting research subject. But as Baake and Wichmann point out, the main focus of research is on individuals

  • 25 “As a professional computer science educator, I see a danger in romanticizing the OSS world, especially for college audiences.”, Bezroukov (1999).

  • 26 E.g. Lerner/Tirole (2002) and Lanzara/Morner (2003).

  • 27 University of Maastricht /Berlecon Research GmbH (2002).

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

participating in Open-Source-Software projects. 28 The contribution of private companies which seems to be very important for the huge suc- cess of FLOSS is just slowly gaining more attention.

2.2.1 Motivation for participation in FLOSS projects

The impressive success of FLOSS raises the question why programmers spend their time and efforts on the creation of non-profit software in- stead of taking a career in a closed source software (CSS) company. The motivation of the individual programmer is the topic of many articles about the Open-Source phenomenon. Lerner and Tirole analyze the mo- tivation using traditional economic theory. 29 Using a net benefit analy- sis they conclude that the motivation is mainly based on the delayed benefits “career concern incentives” and “ego gratification incentives”. The former relates to future professional advantages like job offers or venture capital while the latter refers to an aspiration for peer recogni- tion. Lerner and Tirole argue that from an economic view these motiva- tions can be grouped together to the “signaling incentive”. This encour- agement is stronger for Open-Source-Software than for CSS projects.

Lee et al. continue this argument and develop a quantitative model. The main results from this quantitative analysis are: 30

1. FLOSS and CSS systems can coexist. FLOSS cannot exist alone but CSS can.

  • 2. FLOSS needs a critical mass of excellent programmers to become visible and reach a level of sufficient quality.

  • 3. An environment which is able to signal the capabilities of the in- dividual programmers is an essential prerequisite for FLOSS.

  • 4. Even if wages are set strategically in a CSS system there is a probability for a FLOSS system to emerge.

  • 28 Baake/Wichmann (2004), page 3

  • 29 Lerner/Tirole (2002)

  • 30 Lee et al. (2003), pages 21f.

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

An interesting argument provided is that mediocre programmers in CSS systems can receive wages that exceed their capabilities. This can also be viewed as free-riding, a problem commonly only attributed to FLOSS. Lee et al. conclude that an equilibrium exists in which Open-Source- Software and closed source software can co-exist.

In addition to these economic arguments von Hippel brings forward the point of lead user innovation. 31 Even before FLOSS, users revealed their innovations freely, e.g. in the 18 th century iron industry. The differences to Open-Source-Software are mainly the clear policies that demand pro- ject contributors to publish their code.

Though much research on motivation for participation in FLOSS pro- jects concentrates on individual programmers the results can be care- fully transferred to the corporate world. An investment of a company in Open-Source-Software can also be considered as signaling to attract the best programmers available.

2.2.2 Organization and communication

As stated above the success of FLOSS started at the beginning of the 1990’s with the evolution of Linux. 32 Coinciding with the diffusion of the internet it became possible for developers spread across the world to participate in the development of Linux and other Open-Source- Software projects. Another important aspect of the availability of inter- net access was the possibility for quick release cycles and cheap ad-hoc communication technologies like electronic mail. 33 The pure number of distributed developers and the complexity of the software (Linux in this example) can be regarded as a new phenomenon. In ‘traditional’ soft- ware development Brooks’ law predicts an increasing communication overhead by a rising number of developers on a team. 34 Raymond ar- gues in his essay “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” that Brooks’ law does

  • 31 Von Hippel (2005), pages 9 f.

  • 32 Weber (2004), pages 94 ff.

  • 33 “During this period there were updates and re-releases almost every couple of days.” Weber (2004), page 103

  • 34 Brooks’ law is often phrased as “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later"

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

not apply to the Open-Source-Process with its internet based develop- ment model. 35 Bezroukov on the other hand reasons that “the non- applicability of the ‘mythical man-month postulate’ and Brooks' law is limited only to projects for which a fully functional prototype already exists and most or all architectural problems are solved”. 36 Furthermore the project needs a strong leader who manages the tasks and develop- ers. Even though Open-Source-Software development is sometimes de- scribed as a democratic process large FLOSS projects have central structures for decision making. E.g. the Apache Foundation introduced “a formal de facto constitution” and Linus Torvalds used to take all final decisions for Linux. 37

The organizational form of many FLOSS projects since apache web server and Linux is a virtual and distributed team. The developers and many users are members of a virtual community whose communication is mainly based on mailing lists. At the beginning of the analysis of the Open-Source phenomenon the idea of a single community prevailed. Today the modularization of large projects like Linux supports the im- pression of an “ecology of development communities”. 38

2.2.3 The role of firms

In order to discuss the role of the corporate world, the economic impact of Open-Source-Software has to be analyzed. The application of Porter’s 5 forces analysis framework highlights the dramatic effects of FLOSS on the software market (Figure 3). This analysis can be carried out for dif- ferent sectors. In the case of software producing companies the major threats are substitute products from the Open-Source world, rising cus- tomer power due to FLOSS alternatives and new entrants as financial entry barriers were lowered by FLOSS products. Another very important aspect is the rising intra-market competition. With successful FLOSS software providers in the sector, the market shares of CSS companies

  • 35 Raymond (2001), pages 61 ff.

  • 36 Bezroukov (1999)

  • 37 Weber (2004), page 64

  • 38 Tuomi (2001)

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

are seriously at stake. An example for this situation is Oracle and its database product which is competing against the Open-Source MySQL database. As reaction to MySQL’s success Oracle has tried to shift its main revenue source from the database product to new territories. The acquisition of Innobase on the other hand is likely to be intended to weaken the Open-Source rival. 39 It is noteworthy that one of the biggest software corporations in the world could have been challenged by a small start-up company. This is even more noteworthy as the complex- ity of a product usually imposes high entry barriers which demand high investments to overcome.

New Entrants
New Entrants
The bargaining suppliers power of
The bargaining
suppliers
power of
Suppliers
Suppliers
The bargaining suppliers power of Suppliers
New Entrants The bargaining suppliers power of Suppliers The threat of new entrants Competitive Rivalry Customers

The threat of new

entrants

New Entrants The bargaining suppliers power of Suppliers The threat of new entrants Competitive Rivalry Customers
Competitive Rivalry
Competitive
Rivalry
Customers
Customers
New Entrants The bargaining suppliers power of Suppliers The threat of new entrants Competitive Rivalry Customers
New Entrants The bargaining suppliers power of Suppliers The threat of new entrants Competitive Rivalry Customers

The intensity of competitive rivalry

power of customers

The bargaining

Substitute Products
Substitute
Products

The threat of substitute products

Figure 3: Porter 5 Forces Analysis 40

Also interesting is the analysis of the impact of FLOSS on the compa- nies using the internet as their main business environment. The com- plete dot.com boom of the late 1990’s would have probably not been possible without Open-Source-Software. Entry barriers were lowered tremendously by FLOSS applications. Linux as operating system, MySQL as database backend, the apache web-server as middle-ware product and freely available programming languages provided a cheap infrastructure for web-based businesses that allowed the use of cheap personal computers.

  • 39 Heise Online (2005)

  • 40 Figure following Porter (1980), page 4

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

Another important aspect is the rationale of firms for the participation in FLOSS projects or for the release of the source code as Open-Source. Hawkins was one of the first researchers addressing the issue whether a firm should publish its software under an Open-Source-License. 41 He concludes that such behavior is in line with standard economic theory as firms “will consume the software available at the lowest costs, and will participate in the production of commodity components of their product line as a method of reducing costs”. 42 IBM’s involvement in the eclipse consortium is a good example for this rationale. While the basic product is available under an Open-Source-License, IBM sells an en- hanced version as part of the application-server product suite. Henkel argues that the main benefits are “increased sales of complementary goods” and “pricing pressure on competitors”. 43 These arguments also explain the strategy of MySQL mentioned above.

In the case of utility programs and modules the publication as Open- Source-Software guarantees the continuous maintenance of code even if the original developers left the company. Cisco’s release of CEPS, an enterprise printing system, followed this rationale. 44

In-house tools have never been developed to create revenue by selling licenses. This is an important reason for releasing those tools as FLOSS, since passing it to the Open-Source-Community does not result in missed sales opportunities. Henkel’s example of the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein demonstrates that an Open-Source- Strategy can be reasonable, especially for non-technical companies. If the developed software does not provide a competitive advantage it might be more expensive to keep it proprietary. 45

Baake and Wichmann extend the analysis for the motivation of com- mercial companies to release software as Open-Source by developing a

  • 41 Hawkins (2002), page 2

  • 42 Hawkins (2002), page 16

  • 43 Henkel (2003), page 15

  • 44 Henkel (2003), page 16

  • 45 Henkel (2003), page 17

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

simple quantitative model. They conclude that not only the standard arguments like cost reduction have to be considered but rather “strate- gic considerations with respect to actual and potential competitors” have to be taken into account. 46 Again the case of MySQL serves as a good example for these findings.

2.3 Advantages and Disadvantages to users

Open-Source-Software is currently widely discussed and often at the center of emotional and heated debates. The most common advantages and disadvantages of FLOSS are shortly summarized. A more detailed discussion can be found in the literature. 47

Advantages

Lower Price

Without any doubt FLOSS is cheaper to get hold of as no license fees have to be paid. For the analysis of the total cost of owner- ship (TCO) all costs resulting from procurement, installation and maintenance have to be considered. Though a detailed TCO analysis depends on the concrete circumstances, evidence is pro- vided by the literature that FLOSS has some advantages over CSS. 48

Re-use of source code

One of the big advantages of FLOSS is the possibility for code re- use. As the complete code is published, developers do not have to re-invent existing features but can integrate modules in their own work. By that means software development can become much more efficient. 49

  • 46 Baake/Wichmann (2004), page 20

  • 47 E.g. Hang/Hohensohn (2003) and Mendys-Kamphorst (2002)

  • 48 Hang/Hohensohn (2003), pages 39 f.

  • 49 Neumann/Breidert (2005)

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

Higher quality and reliability

Generally FLOSS is considered to have a higher product quality and reliability than CSS counterparts. Raymond argues that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. 50 Additionally most FLOSS projects have the advantage that they do not face any pressure from market entry dates. Usually FLOSS gets released when a developer considers his piece of work finished. Further- more Wheeler provides a compilation of relations of FLOSS and CSS for various categories, e.g. reliability and scalability. 51

Possibility of customization and independent bug fixing - Open- ness and Flexibility 52

If a CSS product does not fit the customer’s needs he has two op- tions: live with the restrictions or search for a different product. FLOSS provides a third option. The customer can modify the product to fit his needs. This is especially interesting in the case of bug fixing. CSS customers rely on the producer of the software to fix the bug. In the case of FLOSS any user might fix the bug or the customer itself is able to correct any errors.

Disadvantages

Limited warranty and liability

FLOSS is usually provided “as is” and without any warranty. There is no possibility for compensation if the usage of the pro- gram caused any damage. Furthermore no agent exists in the case of FLOSS who can be made responsible for errors and con- sulted for support.

Poor Documentation

  • 50 Raymond (2002), page 30

  • 51 Wheeler (2005)

  • 52 Programming errors are commonly referred to as “bugs”.

FREE/LIBRE AND OPEN-SOURCE-SOFTWARE

As FLOSS is commonly produced by programmers the amount and quality of available documentation is often smaller than for CSS products.

Data exchange

The lack of reliable data exchange interfaces is often raised in the discussion about FLOSS and commonly refers to the exchange of Microsoft Office documents. As the format is proprietary and closed, Open-Source-Software office suites still fail to handle these files correctly. While this is a drawback the origin for the problem is the closed document format.

Lower user-friendliness, poor usability

The origins of most Open-Source-Software applications are tech- nically trained developers. Therefore the user friendly control of many applications has not been a large issue. But in the recent years efforts have been made to improve the usability, e.g. by pro- jects like KDE and Gnome, which provide graphical user inter- faces similar to Windows for the Linux operating system. 53

Summarizing these arguments it has to be noted that the FLOSS com- munity as well as many companies involved in the development of Open-Source-Software are successfully working on these issues. E.g. the number of applications for Linux hugely increased in the last few years. Other arguments like limited warranty for FLOSS products are put into perspective by the serious commitment of many big players of the software industry.

  • 53 http://www.kde.org and http://www.gnome.org

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

  • 3 Information and communication technology as an instrument in development cooperation

For a more detailed discussion of the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in development cooperation common objectives and strategies of development policy have to be analyzed.

3.1 Development policy objectives

The leaders of 189 nations adopted a common declaration of develop- ment goals in September 2000. These objectives are commonly referred to as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 54 They consist of eight goals which are further divided into 18 targets. Combined with indica- tors for each target they outline the roadmap for further action. 55

The goals themselves are not new but the common vigorous efforts of the global community to fight poverty and hunger is unprecedented. They are based on the experience from development cooperation in the last 50 years and though all were an issue in the past they have not been outlined in such detail before. The goals are: 56

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

About two thirds of the 1.2 billion people who have to live on less than one dollar a day reside in Asia. As poverty reduction in India and China is making good progress the subgoal of cutting poverty by half until 2015 is still possible on a global average. Admittedly for Sub-Saharan Africa the situation is critical.

MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education

Primary school education for all children by 2015 is the target of this goal. On average today 80% of all children of the poorest countries visit primary schools. But again Sub-Saharan Africa falls behind with a rate

  • 54 General Assembly of the United Nations (2000), see also Appendix A, page 110

  • 55 United Nations Statistics Division (2005)

  • 56 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (2004), pages 511 ff., applies to all MDGs and Appendix A

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

of only 60%. Nevertheless outlooks are commonly good and successful projects are signs for improvements.

MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

The means to promote gender equality is to create equal chances for boys and girls in education. Referring to primary school education the situation is already promising. For the context of political rights and empowerment of women progress is slow and coming from a weak initial position.

MDG 4: Reduce child mortality

The target is to reduce child mortality by two thirds until 2015. While mortality was cut in half between 1960 and 1990 still 11 million chil- dren are dying in developing countries before they reach an age of five years. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest improvements in the recent years, where child mortality is the highest in the world.

MDG 5: Improve maternal health

The objective is to reduce maternal mortality rates by increasing the number of births conducted by trained medical personnel. There are big differences in mortality rates. The probability for maternal death in Sub-Saharan Africa is 175 times higher than in a developed country. While the number of births conducted by birth attendants has risen in many parts, especially East-Asia, the level remained static in Sub- Saharan Africa.

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

The community committed itself to work on the termination of increas- ing infection rates and on a starting trend reversal of serious diseases.

While there are some good examples for successfully limiting HIV/AIDS infections the problem remains fatal for many regions. Furthermore ma- laria and tuberculosis continue to have increasing rates.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

On the one hand this goal aims at a sustainable use of limited environ- mental resources. On the other hand access to drinking water and hygi- enic improvements for more than 100 million inhabitants of slums are aspired.

Access to pure water has improved in many regions across the world with Sub-Saharan Africa falling behind and staying at a constant level of supply.

MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Part of this goal is to improve an open and non discriminatory trade and finance system. This includes the propagation of good governance to foster a sustainable development and eradicate poverty. The special economic needs of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDCs as well as efforts for the re- duction of debts are also covered. 57 In addition to these predominantly economic targets social aspects are taken into consideration as well. These include the development and implementation of strategies for the creation of employment possibilities for young people as well as a guar- anty for affordable access to important drugs. Last but not least the community agreed to create opportunities for the application of new technologies, especially of ICT. The access to the new technologies should be provided by cooperation with the private sector.

3.2 Development policy strategies

The agreed objectives are the foundation for today’s development coop- eration. While the targets themselves have not changed substantially in the past the strategies to achieve them did. In the 1950s and 1960s many countries followed an interventionist approach which was fol- lowed by a free market orientation in the 1980s and early 1990s. 58 The

  • 57 Least Developed Country (LDC), Landlocked Developing Country (LLDC) and Small Island Developing Country (SIDC). For more information on the UNCTAD country classification see http://www.un.org/special-rep/ohrlls/ohrlls/default.htm

  • 58 Stern et al. (2005), page 88

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

latter is commonly referred to as the Washington Consensus and char- acterizes the post-Cold War approach to development. In the mid 1990s critics began to arise.

Stiglitz as one prominent example states that studies tried but failed to prove a relationship between globalization, growth and poverty reduc- tion. He argues that the “debate is not about whether growth is good or bad, but whether certain policies – including policies that may lead to closer global integration – lead to growth; and whether those policies lead to the kind of growth that improves the welfare of poor people”. 59 He underlines his views by analyzing the most successful countries in terms of growth and poverty reduction. China as well as many other East Asian countries experienced remarkable growth as well as poverty reduction without adhering to the Washington Consensus. Especially China was slow to remove trade barriers and is yet not fully liberalized. Chile as another example introduced a tax on short term capital inflows in the early 1990s, a period of high growth for the country. Stiglitz sug- gests that instead of following the Washington Consensus these coun- tries implemented policies which avoided economic instability and inse- curity. Therefore a policy should not only concentrate on trade liberali- zation but also on an environment which avoids asymmetric effects of globalization.

Stern et al. pick up these thoughts in a brief review of the history of de- velopment policies. According to them it is not a question of determining the best balance between states and markets. “These ways of defining the role of the state suggest that states and markets are substitutes, when in fact they are usually complements.” 60 Stern develops the idea of a state which focuses on education, health, infrastructure, protection of poor people and development of an environment that fosters (new) businesses. Hemmer concludes that the main regulatory task of the state is to strive for a relationship of private and public activities which

  • 59 UNDP (2003), page 80

  • 60 Stern et al. (2005), page 88

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

best reflect a country’s tradition and fits the economic and socio- cultural conditions. 61

These ideas are accompanied by a change in the perception of develop- ment policy objectives of the international community. The Monterrey Consensus, which emerged at the International Conference on Financ- ing for Development in Monterrey and replaced the Washington Con- sensus, emphasizes the responsibility of the individual countries to achieve the MDGs. Furthermore the international community agreed to support these countries by multilateral cooperation and an increase in official development assistance. The Monterrey Consensus and the MDGs are the corner stones for today’s development cooperation. These ideas are not only shared within the UN organizations. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the WTO, demands an international consensus which reflects the benefits of open trade but takes social values into ac- count. 62

Investment Climate Growth & Empowerment Strategy for Development Poverty Reduction Institutions trade policies Infrastructure Governance and
Investment Climate
Growth & Empowerment
Strategy for Development
Poverty Reduction
Institutions
trade policies
Infrastructure
Governance and
Macroeconomic and
Internal Constraints
Individual Capital
Empowerment
External Constraints

Figure 4: Growth & Empowerment Development Strategy

  • 61 Hemmer (2002), pages 354 f.

  • 62 Pascal Lamy in a speech in Santiago, Chile, http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/sppl_e/sppl16_e.htm

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Based on theses concepts Stern et al. propose a strategy as illustrated in Figure 4. 63 It combines the latest ideas of open markets with the con- sideration of social aspects. As it is also one of the latest published strategies for development the following discussions of ICT in develop- ment cooperation will refer to this approach. Therefore a more detailed analysis of Stern’s proposal is necessary.

Two pillars, one regarding the improvement of the investment climate and the other one aiming at the empowerment of the individual, are the foundation for “pro-poor” growth and empowerment resulting in poverty reduction. The strategy embodies the idea of an active state which is complementary to the markets. Furthermore Stern et al. consider the strategy to be “pro-poor” in terms of poor people being enabled to par- ticipate in growth and being the driver of growth in participatory proc- esses.

The first of the two pillars symbolizes the importance of a good invest- ment climate. Firms must be encouraged to invest, create jobs and con- tribute to overall growth. Within the described strategy the investment climate can be broken down to the three elements “macroeconomic and trade policies”, “infrastructure” and “governance and institutions”.

Many efforts have been spent on the analysis of macroeconomic aspects of the investment climate and there is much evidence for a relationship between growth and low inflation, openness to trade and foreign direct investments. Most developing countries worked on the improvement of macroeconomic stability. But for many countries this topic is still an issue. It seems important though that the macroeconomic improve- ments are accompanied by complementary actions from the govern- ment. Otherwise participatory growth and environmental protection could face fierce pressure and might be opposing the intended objec- tives of the strategy.

  • 63 Stern et al. (2005), pages 127 ff.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

The second element of the “investment climate pillar” symbolizes the quantity and quality of available infrastructure. This includes physical and financial structures, e.g. power, transportation, telecommunica- tions and banking. Reliable power availability, transportation times and access to ICT services are often highlighted as especially important fac- tors for companies in developing countries. It is obvious that an insuffi- cient infrastructure results in higher costs for firms to conduct busi- ness. Furthermore there is evidence that small companies in particular suffer most from infrastructure shortages. 64

Governance and institutions is the third element of the strategy’s first pillar. The main topics are bureaucratic hurdles and corruption which increases entry barriers and costs to conduct business. The key factors according to Stern et al. are: 65

Competitiveness of output markets with conditions for entry and exit

Functioning of labor and capital markets, especially strong finan- cial institutions

Application of legal structures, including taxation and property rights

Style of enforcement of rules that are of public interest, such as those protecting the environment, health and safety

The importance of these aspects is backed by empirical research which allows deriving a relationship between “governance and institutions” indicators and development outcomes. Though in general small and large firms are affected, the impact for small firms is higher due to their credit constraints and missing possibilities for political influence.

Empowerment is at the heart of the strategy’s second pillar. In this con- text empowerment “is defined at the individual level as having the abil-

  • 64 Stern et al. (2005), page 133

  • 65 Stern et al. (2005), page 137

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

ity to shape one’s life”. 66 The core elements of empowerment according to Stern et al. are outlined in Figure 5. Investing in poor people to in- crease health, education, security and mechanisms for improved par- ticipation is the main focus of this pillar. The integration of poor peo- ple’s assets and resources is pushed forward to help to foster economic growth.

The first determinant of empowerment refers to the individual capital. This includes education and skills providing opportunities for the peo- ple, health characteristics and physical assets, e.g. land use rights or animals.

External constraints are the second group of factors affecting the way people live their lives. They are shaped by the social environment which influences the capabilities of the individual. Examples for improvements of these constraints include the expansion of women’s rights or partici- pation in the management of public goods, e.g. schools.

External constraints ∑ Family ∑ Community (caste, religion) What the individual owns: Internal constraints ∑ Perception
External constraints
∑ Family
∑ Community (caste, religion)
What the individual owns:
Internal constraints
∑ Perception of own role
∑ Preferences
∑ Capacity to aspire
∑ Assets
∑ Human capital
Empowerment
∑ Society
∑ Governance

Figure 5: The determinants of empowerment 67

  • 66 Stern et al. (2005), page 102

  • 67 Stern et al. (2005), page 102

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

The third aspect of empowerment as used by Stern et al. relates to in- ternal constraints. This determinant describes the perception of an in- dividual’s role and the capacity to aspire. In terms of a person’s contri- bution to growth it is strongly related to the ability and willingness to take risks and to innovate.

Obviously there are interdependencies between the determinants of em- powerment. E.g. the kind of governance may influence the accumula- tion of assets or determine the quality of education. The same is true for the two main pillars of the strategy. While the first deals with aspects on the firm level the second focuses on challenges of the individual. But both have in common that the governance aspect is an essential and vital part of each pillar. Furthermore both pillars share that progress and future development occur through (dramatic) changes. These changes affect the investment climate and its determinants as well as the individual level. The latter also includes changes of preferences, e.g. the willingness to invest in primary education of girls.

3.3 The status of ICT in less developed countries

With these policy objectives and this strategy in mind it stands to rea- son if and how ICT can help in development cooperation. But before a deeper analysis of the possibilities of ICT is made the current situation in developing countries will be illustrated.

Historically less developed countries face technological gaps and uneven diffusion of ICT. This gap between haves and have-nots of ICT is com- monly referred to as digital divide. But even within countries a gap be- tween rural and urban areas can be observed.

Figure 34 and Figure 35 in Appendix C give an impression of the asymmetrical distribution of internet access technologies (i.e. router density) and the resulting internet usage in relation to the population density. It is noteworthy that India, which commonly serves as the prominent good example for the positive impact of ICT on national growth, has a comparably low rate of population with online access. But

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

given its high population the absolute number is comparable or higher than in most Western European countries. China is another example for this phenomenon. The highly industrialized areas in combination with the high population density result in a large share of the world’s internet users. But for the rest of the less developed countries internet access and usage is generally not correlating to population density. Again this is particularly true for Africa where on average less than two percent of a country’s population is online. But the maps do not only highlight international gaps. They also show domestic asymmetries, which are again best visible for China and India but Brazil and Latin America are good examples as well.

The UNCTAD e-Commerce and Development Report 2004 concludes that the gap seems to close on an international level though the pro- gress is slow and countries in the most difficult situations do not seem to benefit from this development. 68 On the other hand this process may not result from an increased performance of the developing countries but may be the result from saturation effects. As growth rates for base technologies like PCs and internet slow down in developed countries the gap seems to be closing as the underserved still increase baseline tech- nology adoption. 69

The most noteworthy progress has been achieved in the mobile phone sector. While the landline diffusion is still growing it has been outpaced by the rate of cellular phone spread. 70 In Africa mobile phone subscrip- tion numbers leveled landline usage in 2001 (Figure 6). While this looks promising on the first sight the diffusion is not even within Africa. 71 In 2004 the teledensity in Sub-Saharan Africa (without South Africa) was ten times lower than in North Africa. In addition 75% of the continent’s landlines were found in 6 of the 55 countries. This situation can also be regarded as an intra-continental digital divide.

  • 68 UNCTAD (2004), page 11

  • 69 bridges.org (2001), page 13

  • 70 Sciadas (2003), page 17

  • 71 International Telecommunication Unit (2006)

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION Figure 6: Telephone subscribers per

Figure 6: Telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, Africa 1995-2004 72

3.4 ICT for development

The brief overview about the diffusion of ICT in less developed countries raises the question if improvements can help to foster sustainable growth and reduce poverty. This requires an analysis of the relationship between ICT and the MDGs.

3.4.1 ICT and the MDGs

ICT is also often referred to as a general purpose technology (GPT) in terms of the range of application scenarios in multiple sectors. 73 It is obvious that ICT directly supports the last target oft the MDG:

In cooperation with the private sector, make available the bene- fits of new technologies, especially information and communi- cations (target 18 of the MDG).

But as a general purpose technology ICT has the potential to support many of the agreed targets of the MDG declaration. 74 The first MDG, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, can be affected in multiple

  • 72 Source: International Telecommunication Unit (2006)

  • 73 Indjikian/Siegel (2005), page 689

  • 74 The following details are mainly based on United Nations ICT Task Force (2003), pages 8 ff. and Tamimi (2005)

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

ways. Access to market information and reduction of transaction costs may help poor farmers and traders. Firms in less developed countries may also benefit from ICT by enhancing their efficiency, competitiveness and market access.

Universal primary education, the second MDG, offers a variety of possi- bilities for ICT application. Distant learning, ICT enhanced teaching methodologies, continued education of teachers and improved availabil- ity of quality educational material are examples for a promising usage of ICT. Virtual schools and universities, networks for teachers and stu- dents as well as supply of localized teaching materials are additional areas of ICT application to support the enhancement of this goal.

As universal primary education supports gender equality and the em- powerment of women the above mentioned ICT measures apply to the third Millennium Goal as well. Additional usage of ICT includes applica- tions which help to influence the public opinion on gender issues.

The reduction of child mortality, the improvement of maternal health and the combat of HIV and other diseases (MDGs 4-5) are all best sup- ported by ICT in the same way. Monitoring and information sharing can also be increased by utilizing ICT systems. The provided material ought to contain locally relevant information and be provided in local lan- guages to maximize efficiency. The use of radio and television for the diffusion of education on health and diseases is essential in areas with low internet penetration or high illiteracy rates.

Environmental sustainability (MDG 7) can as well be supported by the appropriate application of ICT. Information sharing is again an impor- tant part but remote sensing and monitoring are also fundamental ar- eas of ICT adoption.

The final MDG, development of a global partnership for development, also offers a variety of use cases for the application of ICT. With respect to the improvement of the situation for LDC, LLDC and SIDC similar measures as for the reduction of poverty and hunger can be taken. It is

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

important to enable these countries to integrate their markets in the global economy and to utilize potential comparative advantages. E- government can help to increase efficiency and transparency of public agencies which could result among others in an improvement of the in- vestment climate.

Decent and productive work opportunities for the youth, another target of this goal, are best supported by educational measures as described above. Additional possibilities include the establishment of decentral- ized working opportunities which rely on ICT. Examples for such possi- bilities include call centers as well as data entry and processing ser- vices.

3.4.2 ICT for growth and empowerment

Having outlined the possible benefits of ICT application for the MDGs it stands to reason if and how ICT can support the strategy which has been described above. Therefore possible contributions of ICT to growth and empowerment have to be analyzed. While doing so “it is important to be aware of the fact that sustainable poverty reduction is not achieved by short-sighted miracle cures, such as country-wide Internet access.” 75 In order to implement sustainable ICT solutions the needs have to be thoroughly identified and the many indirect benefits of ICT for growth and empowerment have to be taken into account. Figure 7 illustrates the effect of ICT on growth and empowerment by influencing the components of the two pillars. E.g. ICT may improve the infrastruc- ture which in turn may result in higher growth and empowerment and thus can help to promote poverty reduction.

The basic arguments and usage scenarios for the application of ICT for growth and empowerment are similar to those listed above in relation to the MDGs. Thus only additional benefits will be analyzed and a possible impact assessment of ICT for growth and empowerment will be high- lighted.

  • 75 Gerster/Zimmermann (2003), page 14

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

ICT is used in different kinds of projects for different sectors as one tool among others to improve performance and efficiency. This makes it dif- ficult to identify or quantify the ICT share of such projects.

Internal Individual Infrastructure Constraints ICT Capital Governance and Institutions Growth & Empowerment Macroeconomic and trade policies
Internal
Individual
Infrastructure
Constraints
ICT
Capital
Governance and
Institutions
Growth &
Empowerment
Macroeconomic
and trade
policies
External Con-
straints

Figure 7: Influence of ICT on development strategy components

One approach is to compare indicators for overall development and ICT diffusion. An obvious indicator for growth would be the gross domestic product (GDP). Another indicator is the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a three dimensional figure. It is a compound from the GDP, the life expectancy index and the education index. Thus the HDI is more expressive in terms of empowerment and emphasizes the social development. Figure 36 (Appendix D) shows the world map with the dis- tribution of the HDI.

The degree of preparation and usage of ICT can be measured by the Networked Readiness Index (NRI). 76 As for the HDI it is a three dimen- sional index which is defined as the sum of the environmental index, the readiness index and the usage index. The environmental sub-index is determined by a country’s or community’s market and regulatory en- vironment and the infrastructure in place. The readiness sub-index re- lates to the key stakeholders’ (individuals, businesses, and govern- ments) ability to apply ICT. Finally the usage sub-index indicates the actual application of ICT of these stakeholders.

  • 76 Dutta et al. (2004), page 4

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION Figure 8: NRI 2003–2004 vs

Figure 8: NRI 2003–2004 vs GDP per Capita, Partial Log Regression 77

Relating the GDP per capita and the NRI shows a wide spread (Figure 8). 78 E.g. Estonia and Venezuela both have a similar GDP per capita but show very different results for the NRI index. Despite the variances the plot allows to analyze the trends. Most notably the effect of a rising GDP per capita has the highest impact on the NRI for low values of GDP per capita. The increase of the NRI drops sharply at a GDP per capita level around USD 6000 to 9000. For higher GDP per capita values other factors are more important for the NRI.

A different situation can be observed by analyzing the relationship be- tween the NRI and the HDI (Figure 9). The correlation between the two indexes has a positive gradient, meaning that the NRI grows with larger HDI values. Thus the NRI is positively correlated to the two sub-indexes life expectancy and education which complement the GDP per capita index within the HDI. While the influence of the GDP per capita is pre- dominant for low NRI values, social factors become more important for larger NRI indexes.

77 Source: Dutta et al. (2004), page 14

  • 78 Dutta et al. (2004), page 12

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

With this evidence for the positive impact of ICT on growth as well as on social aspects the relationship between the components of the two pil- lars of the outlined strategy will be highlighted.

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION With this evidence for the

Figure 9: NRI and HDI, 2003 79

ICT for growth

The determinants for growth had been outlined as “macroeconomic and trade policies”, “infrastructure” and “governance and institutions” (refer to Figure 4, page 23). Various scenarios are possible for the support of a country’s macroeconomic and trade policies by the application of ICT. A study of the economies of 15 states of the European Union and 10 states of Central Europe provides evidence that investment in ICT is an important source of growth. 80 There also seem to be higher returns for investment in IT than for other traditional sectors. In general the pro- motion of an ICT sector can have positive effects. E.g. Tanzania launched a short-term campaign with an emphasis on ICT skills. 81

Even if emerging businesses are not owned by the very poor they are likely to provide new job opportunities. It has been stated though that “the high costs of initial IT implementation, management buy-in and

  • 79 Source: Dutta et al. (2004), page 63

  • 80 Indjikian/Siegel (2005), page 683

  • 81 Kelles-Viitanen (2003), page 86

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

commitment to change, and the ability of citizens to access this re- source have hampered several e-government initiatives”. 82 The example of an improved land registration process on the other side highlights the potential benefits. The new process is faster and bypasses corrupt bro- kers.

To be able to participate in global trade as an equal partner it is impor- tant to have appropriate infrastructure in place. The ability to get in- formation about their markets is crucial also for small businesses. The information infrastructure varies from mobile phones to integrated internet applications. Typical examples include small scale businesses selling their products online and programs connecting remote villages by mobile phones and smart antennas.

Governance and institutions, the third element of the investment cli- mate pillar, can be crucially supported by ICT as well. The measures go in the same direction as for the support of macroeconomic and trade policies. Stable institutions with transparent processes help to create a favorable business environment and fight corruption.

ICT for empowerment

Besides the outlined benefits of ICT for the investment climate there is a variety of potential applications to increase empowerment. The most obvious applications for increasing the individual capital are again in line with the measures described above. They especially include educa- tion and health related programs. The shear availability of free informa- tion can foster empowerment and enables minorities to get their voices heard. 83 Measures go from radio and television based projects to inter- net based services. E.g. in Mexico the Zapatista minority was able to get international public awareness utilizing an email based information net- work. 84 Poor urban women in Kenya use video technology to document

  • 82 bridges.org (2001), page 58

  • 83 Marker et al. (2002), page 8

  • 84 Skuse (2001), page 4

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

their activities. The produced clips are being broadcasted and help to raise the awareness in society and with policy makers. 85

Enabling environment

In order to promote ICT application it is vital for a country that the gov- ernment provides an enabling environment. This includes openness to foreign direct investments (FDI) and deregulation of telecommunication markets. Independent from ICT, foreign direct investments have proven to be an important source of growth and often go along with openness to international trade. 86 “ICTs can help both improve the environment for FDI and trade (both by enhancing the performance of domestic firms, markets and governments and by improving vital infrastructure) and increase the impact of FDI (by helping to disseminate and main- stream the innovations that FDI brings), but ICTs cannot substitute for the policy frameworks and the human, firm and institutional capacity necessary to attract FDI.” 87 Concentrating on openness to FDI China can serve as a good example. It became a highly competitive producer of ICT hard- and software. With its WTO membership China has become an even more attractive location. 88

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION their activities. The produced clips

Figure 10: Developments of Telecommunications in Peru 89

  • 85 Gerster/Zimmermann (2003), page 25

  • 86 McNamara (2003), page 39

  • 87 McNamara (2003), page 39

  • 88 Indjikian/Siegel (2005), page 695

  • 89 Source: GTZ (2002), page 13

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

In addition proper regulation of telecommunication markets is vital. Evidence is available that competition and participation of the private sector promote the diffusion of the new technologies. The example of the privatization and later deregulation of the telecommunication market in Peru indicates these positive effects (see also Figure 10). 90

3.5 Examples of ICT in development cooperation

Weigel and Waldburger outline the possible range of information and communication technologies and their respective relevance for develop- ment (Figure 11).

While radio and television are without doubt important especially for the very poor the significance of mobile phones seems to be underesti- mated. Considering the situation in Africa as outlined above, mobile phones have gained a tremendous diffusion among the poor and are an important tool for development, also of the very poor.

The following case studies give an impression of ICT efforts in develop- ment cooperation. The selection picks examples from the whole range of technologies.

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION In addition proper regulation of

Figure 11: Range of technologies and users relevance 91

3.5.1 Radio based service

CEMINA (Communication, Education and Information on Gender) is a Brazilian non-government organization (NGO) which is working to strengthen women’s leadership in community development. The project

  • 90 GTZ (2002), page 13

  • 91 Source: Weigel/Waldburger (2004), page 19

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

utilizes a combination of internet and radio technology. 92 Radio pro- grams are created locally and delivered online via broadband internet links to regional radio stations. These have been integrated into a net- work exchanging the locally produced content and transmitting the pro- grams via internet and radio.

By 2003 eleven community radio stations were producing local pro- grams with information on gender issues. 1500 women from all over Brazil were trained to participate in the production of radio programs. The main objective of CEMINA was to increase the education on gender issues by enhancing the use of community radios by low income women in Brazil. In addition the isolation of women has been tackled and social integration enhanced.

3.5.2 Mobile phone based project

Tuberculosis is a widespread disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. 93 In 2002 80% of the global tuberculosis infections occurred in three African countries. The disease effects people’s lives and puts massive economic and social burdens on those affected. Though South Africa, being among the highly affected regions, provides free medication the compli- ance of the patients leaves room for improvements. This is even more important as unsteady intake of tuberculosis drugs results in patients becoming “multi drug resistant”. The treatment of this kind of tubercu- losis is approximately 50 times more expensive (USD 100/month vs. USD 5000/month).

The company SIMpill in cooperation with the City of Cape Town ad- dresses this issue of non-compliance. The provided service consists of a pill box which, when opened, sends an electronic text message (SMS) to a central server (Figure 12). Thus drug intake can be automatically ob- served and when non-compliance is detected predefined measures can be taken. Though the collected data from the pilot phase does not allow deriving evidence for significant improvements the prospects for future

  • 92 infoDev (2003), page 14

  • 93 infoDev (2005), pages 11 ff.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

growth is high, given the high number of incidences in the region. In addition the social benefit of tackling tuberculosis may also exceed the costs for infrastructure and maintenance of the service. This case study is furthermore a good example for the innovative usage of existing and proven technologies in the context of development cooperation.

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION growth is high, given the

Figure 12: Schematic diagram of SIMpill service delivery 94

3.5.3 Individual computing

Besides community telecenters which provide internet access and sometimes also additional services, efforts have been undertaken to close the digital divide. One early approach was the development of a simple, low-cost handheld computer by the Indian Institute of Science. 95 This simputer (Simple Inexpensive Mobile People’s Computer) was intended to be used as a shared community or individual device. The Simputer offers internet and email connections, support for local languages and touch screen support. This, in conjunction with text to speech facilities, also allows the usage by illiterate users. Pilot projects

  • 94 Source: http://www.simpill.com

  • 95 http://www.simputer.org

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

successfully used the Simputer to empower rural farmers by giving them access to commodity market prices. 96

I NFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION successfully used the Simputer to

Figure 13: Simputer and 100$ Laptop

A more recent effort aims at providing computers for education at schools. The ‘One laptop per Child’ (OLPC) project at the MIT media lab is working to provide cheap laptops for poor children. In November 2005 a working prototype was presented at the World Summit on Information Society (Figure 13). The laptop is a very robust, inexpensive device which was designed to have low power consumption. Even if power supply is not available the laptop can also be powered with a hand cranking. Another interesting feature is the ability to build ad-hoc peer- to-peer networks with other laptops allowing them to communicate with each other and share a single point of internet access.

The UNDP announced at the World Economic Forum in January 2006 their support for the OLPC program. In addition OLPC is privately sup- ported by companies like Google, AMD or Red Hat. 97 The next project phase is to implement the program in seven large countries. Involved governments are supposed to buy the laptops and to pass them to stu- dents free of charge.

The production of the laptops, which will be done by Quanta Com- puters, will start as soon as five million devices have been ordered and

  • 96 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page72

  • 97 UNDP (2006) and http://laptop.media.mit.edu

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT IN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

paid for. Currently shipment of the first laptops is estimated for early

2007.

After failing to reach an agreement with Microsoft to include Windows on the computers, the laptop will utilize Open-Source-Software with Linux as the operating system. 98 Microsoft’s reaction was to publish plans to develop an alternative computing system based on a mobile phone which can be connected to a TV and a keyboard. It is question- able however if such an approach meets the requirements of many less developed regions, where TVs a rare and power supply is often not avail- able.

  • 98 The Financial Times (2006)

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  • 4 FLOSS within development cooperation

It was demonstrated that ICT is an important part of today’s set of tools in development cooperation. But looking at Open-Source-Software takes the arguments provided above one step further. The following chapters are analyzing the case of FLOSS within development cooperation in more detail. Differences to ICT in development cooperation in general and the current status will be outlined before the implications for the actors of development cooperation will be discussed.

4.1 Special aspects of Open-Source-Software in development cooperation

The topic of FLOSS as an instrument in development cooperation was brought up by various organizations. The most prominent are the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and UNDP. 99

As for ICT in general Open-Source-Software has to support the outlined goals and strategy. Furthermore it has to provide additional advantages compared to proprietary software to justify its application. In this dis- cussion the emphasis is not only on growth but on the pursuit of the MDGs in general.

Obviously the same arguments apply to FLOSS as for ICT in general. In addition core values of the Open-Source-Definition are in line with the MDGs. Namely these are freedom (to modify and distribute the soft- ware), equality (same access to the software for all) and solidarity (shar- ing of software). Instead of analyzing the MDGs individually regarding possible impacts of FLOSS, the main arguments raised in the literature will be picked up.

Weerawarana et al. state that “if open source is to make sense for devel- oping countries, it must constitute a key part or prong of the country’s

  • 99 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003) and “International Open Source Network”, http://www.iosn.net/foss

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IT strategy which creates value or wealth in the economy”. 100 They iden- tify three areas for this value creation: enhanced business opportunities in the ICT sector, reduced ICT costs for private firms and the govern- ment and finally improved effectiveness and efficiency of the govern- ment. Figure 14 illustrates the initiatives serving the described value creating objectives.

Reduce the Cost of IT Investment in the Economy IT Policy Framework Create Business Opportunities in

Reduce the Cost of IT Investment in the Economy

Reduce the Cost of IT Investment in the Economy IT Policy Framework Create Business Opportunities in
IT Policy Framework Create Business Opportunities in IT Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness of Government through IT
IT Policy Framework
Create Business
Opportunities in IT
Improve Efficiency and
Effectiveness of
Government through IT
Create Value in the
Economy through IT
Reduce the Cost of IT Investment in the Economy IT Policy Framework Create Business Opportunities in

Building Brand Equity in Software Development

Building Capacity and Skills in IT

Advocacy and Educa- tion Private Sector OS initiatives and business models
Advocacy and Educa-
tion
Private Sector OS
initiatives and business
models

E-Government

Figure 14: IT-Strategy Map for Developing Countries 101

The benefits for private firms as well as for the governments have been discussed by other authors as well. 102 The following summarizes the main arguments raised in the discussion about Open-Source-Software application in developing countries.

  • 100 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 32

  • 101 Source: Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 33

  • 102 E.g. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), Dravis (2004) or Weber (2003)

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4.1.1 ICT sustainability and autonomy

The most cited arguments for Open-Source-Software are missing license fees and cost issues in general. Though the total cost of ownership de- pends on the specific situation this argument is usually raised at first. In the case of a developing country the question is not whether FLOSS has a slight cost advantage over a proprietary solution. The main point is that ICT investments in support and training for FLOSS allow flexible contracts also to local providers. This in turn results in national money circuits fostering economic growth not only in the primary field of ICT investment.

At the same time the money spent on training and support increases the local human capital. A good example for this scenario is the Lanka Software Foundation. It is an “illustration of pragmatic strategy in building the brand equity of individual developers and the countries in which they reside through participation in OS development projects (E.g. committers to Apache Foundation)”. 103 This in turn can lead to an increased attractiveness for foreign investments as well as to increased exports of local ICT services or products.

Another important point raised by Dravis is the increased competition in the software sector due to Open-Source-Software. 104 New FLOSS pro- jects are emerging every day addressing requirements of users either in a narrow local environment or with a global scope. While the latter form a market which is attractive to many proprietary software vendors the niche markets of small communities are often underserved. FLOSS is one approach to satisfy these markets as the examples of localized ver- sions of OpenOffice demonstrate. 105 The reduced barriers of entry in the case of FLOSS also increase the competition in the ICT service and

  • 103 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 33

  • 104 Dravis (2004), page 20

  • 105 E.g. see http://translate.org.za for a project translating OpenOffice into South- African languages. Chapter 4.2.3 on page 54 introduces translate.org.za shortly.

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training sector. In turn efficiency and effectiveness are likely to increase and thus lead to lower prices and higher quality. 106

Closely related to the argument of increased competition is the avoid- ance of vendor lock-in situations and aspiration of technological self re- liance. 107 The reduced number of market participants for some ICT product categories (e.g. operating systems or word processing software) can result in substantial dependencies. The release of new versions and discontinued support for older ones forces users to participate in up- grade cycles implicating new license fees and potential upgrades of computer hardware.

Another important issue looking at a country’s autonomy regards open standards. A good example is the proprietary document format of Mi- crosoft Office Suite files. Even after switching to a more generic docu- ment format based on XML, the format is not open in terms of free availability. Microsoft reserves the right to charge a fee for the usage of its XML 108 schemata as the company indicates with the example of MPEG4 109 as an open document format. 110 So in fact the format is known but as with MPEG4 the usage is (or might be in the future) sub- ject to royalties. In addition to differences in the definition of “open standard” Open-Source projects are more likely to adopt these. In con- trast to proprietary vendors, who might seek technical barriers and lock-in effects, FLOSS projects gain network effects from existing pro- grams which are able to process these open formats as well.

Finally Dravis raises the important point that Open-Source-Software is not an “all or nothing” approach. 111 Many FLOSS products work on pro- prietary operating systems and there are a couple of solutions (e.g.

  • 106 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page 110

  • 107 Dravis (2004), page 21

  • 108 XML is a general purpose markup language, capable of describing many different kinds of data. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xml

  • 109 MPEG4 is a group of audio and video coding standards. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG4

  • 110 Microsoft (2004), page 8

  • 111 Dravis (2004), page 23

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Wine 112 or vmware 113 ) which allow running Windows programs on a Linux operated machine.

4.1.2 Security

Today cyber-crime and cyber-spaying are growing threats. Therefore the security of public data has to be a concern of governments. “At a mini- mum, introducing diversity into the base of functioning software code reduces the possibility of catastrophic failures […].” 114 FLOSS provides the advantage that interested parties can verify data integrity and secu- rity by analyzing the source code. But the integrity does not only apply to data processing. In today’s interconnected world secure network connections are a crucial part of any ICT infrastructure. The German Federal Foreign Office switched to Linux as their server operating sys- tem. 115 The usage of a hardened Linux System allows a highly secure connection between German embassies. The American National security Agency is even working on an own version of a security enhanced ver- sion of Linux. 116

The usage of open standards is also related to security issues. Again the document format of Microsoft Word serves as a good example. Docu- ment history information is saved along with personal data in Excel and Word files. Though this issue was documented in books as well as in technical articles published by Microsoft many users are not aware of this feature. 117 In the meantime tools to remove private information from the documents have been offered.

These examples emphasize the relevance of computer security for a country and FLOSS as a secure alternative to proprietary systems.

  • 112 http://www.winehq.com

  • 113 http://www.vmware.com

  • 114 Weber (2003), page 18

  • 115 Andresen/Wolf (2003)

  • 116 http://www.nsa.gov/selinux

  • 117 E.g. “Microsoft Word bytes Tony Blair in the butt”, http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/3449?wlg=yes

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4.1.3 Intellectual property rights

With an increasing integration into the global economy the pursuit of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement becomes more impor- tant. 118 In many countries computer hardware is sold with pirated pro- prietary software preinstalled. FLOSS provides a legal alternative. In addition it is often difficult to establish a local software industry when the revenue is based on license fees. If the business model relies on FLOSS it can be sustainable even in environments dominated by soft- ware piracy. It has to be noted though that the absence of intellectual property right law enforcement can also lead to a devaluation of Soft- ware in general. “The economic benefit of OSS products will not be felt until intellectual property is properly protected.” 119

From a development perspective the provision of FLOSS can also be re- garded as a transfer of wealth. 120 Free software combined with cheap labor has the potential to create comparative advantages on local and global markets. The provision of a freely available software environment can have positive effects on development and growth. This is similar to the effect of lowered barriers of entry in response to Open-Source- Software in the late 1990’s which allowed the enormous internet hype.

Recapitulating, FLOSS provides an opportunity to enable less developed countries to become producers of software solutions themselves. 121 In contrast to proprietary software which usually creates more users than producers FLOSS has the potential to enhance the local capacity in business and IT. This capacity development enables less developed countries to produce the software needed for local conditions and meet development objectives. FLOSS allows countries to pursue their own development path and gives them the ability to participate actively in the design of their future.

  • 118 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page 113

  • 119 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 35

  • 120 Weber, Steven (2003), page 20

  • 121 Weigel/Waldburger (2004), page 45 f.

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4.2 The Status of FLOSS in development cooperation

With these potential benefits in mind the current situation of FLOSS as an instrument in development cooperation has to be analyzed. In addi- tion to policy options it has to be discussed if and how governments should intervene in the software market.

4.2.1 Country ICT policies options

If Open-Source-Software preferences are supported by a government the question about the legitimacy of this market interference has to be raised. Many countries, among them many member states of the Euro- pean Union, already support Open-Source-Software. 122 But it can also be argued that governments should be neutral as only the market can satisfy market needs. 123

Government intervention in principle

In their study on economic aspects of FLOSS Kooths et al. justify public market intervention. The prerequisites on the one hand are an existing market failure and the possibility of the provision of an efficient solution for the failure. On the other hand the benefits of the intervention have to exceed the costs. 124 The problem with this approach though is the definition of market failures and benefits.

Some authors neglect any existence of market failures in the software industry and refuse as a consequence any government interference with the market. 125 E.g. Evans argues that if strong network effects are im- portant to the user it might be more sufficient to have a single pro- vider. 126 The example given is the Windows operating system from Mi- crosoft which is in his opinion that popular because consumers place a high value on the strong network effect.

  • 122 http://europa.eu.int/idabc/en/chapter/194

  • 123 Hahn (2002), page 85

  • 124 Kooths et al. (2003), page 90

  • 125 E.g. Bessen, Evans and Smith in Hahn (2002), page 9, Kooths et. al., page 90 ff.

  • 126 Evans in Hahn (2002), page 45 f.

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These views are objected by others. 127 Their main point is that the soft- ware market is not a perfect market. Information is not shared symmet- rically and competition is limited due to strong network effects. 128 These may result in a monopoly and in turn would allow government interven- tion.

Finally Lessig argues that these considerations are deprecated. 129 As long as governments carefully address all interests they will arrive at the conclusion that FLOSS is favorable to proprietary software. Instead of questioning the case for Open-Source-Software Lessig argues against software patents, which can be seen as a governmental interference as well. Bessen also notes that “open source extends the software market by addressing market failures associated with incomplete contracts and asymmetric information”. 130

While these two parties relate their arguments to markets in more de- veloped countries the arguments are different for developing countries. In the best case less developed countries are moving towards competi- tive markets. Within this process the question is not only whether to foster free trade but also how to realize a fair integration into the global market. The imbalance between more and less developed countries alone justifies interference from the government.

This argument also applies to the second criteria for a market interven- tion. Expected benefits have to be carefully calculated with social as- pects taken into consideration. By adding future prospects, e.g. a strengthened local software industry, governmental market interference becomes more reasonable.

Another important aspect in this discussion refers to exclusivity. The idea is not to avoid a software industry based on license fees. As men- tioned earlier Open-Source-Software and proprietary solutions can co-

  • 127 E.g. Pasche/von Engelhardt (2004), page 15, Ghosh (2005) page 24 and Lessig in Hahn (2002), page 9

  • 128 Pasche/von Engelhardt (2004), page 15

  • 129 Lessig in Hahn (2002), page 67 f.

  • 130 Bessen in Hahn (2002), page 7

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exist and may support each other by providing competition and choice for the consumer.

FLOSS adoption can be supported in various ways. Weber and others identify three sets of options for policy implementation by governments:

formality, level of involvement and mode of development. 131

Formality

Formal approaches include legislation and strategic papers by a coun- try. They face informal approaches which allow FLOSS to evolve without the support of the government. A couple of African and Latin American governments issued formal approaches to pursue the adoption of Open- Source-Software.

Weber describes the advantages of the formal approaches. 132 He names the possibilities to consider any technological shortcomings and to co- operate with donors in order to address these. On the other side infor- mal approaches may allow the FLOSS phenomenon to develop by itself and thus enhance organizational benefits and end user innovation ef- fects.

Level of involvement

Especially in less developed countries governments are an important consumer of ICT. Therefore their participation is important for success- ful Open-Source-Software approaches. 133 Weerawarana and Weeratun- ga identify three important areas of involvement: 134

1. Government software procurement policy

  • 2. Encouragement of good private sector software procurement poli- cies

  • 3. Keep the internet free of tariffs and licensing

  • 131 Weber (2003), pages 22 ff., United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), pages 114 ff., Wong (2004) pages 17 ff.

  • 132 Weber (2003), page 23

  • 133 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page 115

  • 134 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 38

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The importance of the government as a consumer makes procurement policies essential for a successful consideration of FLOSS in developing and less developed countries. This policy can also serve as an example to demonstrate the business value of Open-Source-Software. But highly critical for the success of FLOSS is internet access. Thus deregulation of the telecommunication industry and the reduction of tariffs and li- censes is another vital aspect to support FLOSS diffusion.

Mode of development

The mode refers to the degree of interaction. Measures go from local awareness building, to procurement, to funding of research and devel- opment and to international cooperation. The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) is one example for an organiza- tion, which is promoting the application of FLOSS in Africa. They also provide a recommendation for the mode of application of FLOSS: 135

1. The neutral approach

Ensure that the choice is supported and discrimination against

FLOSS is eliminated. Adopt policies to ensure that FLOSS is carefully considered in IT

procurement processes. Implement criteria for evaluating Open- Source-Software products and procedures to adopt and maintain open standards. Allow Open-Source-Software to compete on an equal basis with

proprietary alternatives. Initiate communication to enhance knowledge and understanding of FLOSS.

2. The enabling approach

Establish policies which gear towards the creation of the capacity

to implement and maintain FLOSS. Develop the capability to give guidance on selecting and imple- menting it.

135 FOSSFA (2003), page 4 f.

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Promote education and training in FLOSS products.

Support the establishment of partnerships and developer com- munities.

3. The aggressive approach

Actively encourage the development of FLOSS under appropriate

conditions through legislation and policy. Encourage active involvement of governments in supporting

FLOSS developer communities and development projects. Adopt strategies to increase commitment to Open-Source-

Software products. Establish regular auditing of the impact of FLOSS on service de-

livery. Participate actively in programs that can minimize risks associ-

ated with FLOSS. Demand application of FLOSS where analysis shows it to be the best alternative.

These suggested policies are not only aiming at the diffusion of Open- Source-Software but also on solutions created by Africans for Africans. Another aspect important for FOSSFA is the capacity building compo- nent of Open-Source-Software. “The vision for the future is one of a re- gional technical revolution of sorts, in which Governments and the pri- vate sector embrace FOSS and can rely on regionally developed software and expertise.” 136

136 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page 116

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

4.2.2 Examples of FLOSS ICT policies

The following list provides examples of policies for Open-Source- Software adoption taken from South-America, Africa and Asia. 137

Brazil

The Brazilian province of Pernambuco was the first to make the applica- tion of FLOSS mandatory by law in March 2000. In 2003 the govern- ment decided to migrate 80% of all computers in state institutions from Windows to Linux. 138 The main rationale were license costs. “In its 2002 balance of payments report, Brazil actually spent more money on royal- ties and licenses than it did on computer and information.” 139

Argentina

In the bill of Free Software from March 2002 Argentina demands the use of free software for all companies and organizations in which the National State is a major stakeholder. 140 Exceptions are possible but have to be justified and possible risks of the application of proprietary software have to be published.

One rationale for the aggressive approach of FLOSS adoption was a na- tional campaign against software piracy.

China

China indirectly developed Red Flag Linux, a Chinese-language Linux distribution. The support was established via the China Academy of Sci- ence together with the government owned Shanghai New Margin Ven- ture Capital. The Beijing municipal government established the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center and initiated a project to improve the performance of local Linux distributions.

  • 137 If not otherwise noted, examples are taken from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2003), page 117 ff. and bridges.org (2005a)

  • 138 PCLinuxOnline (2003)

  • 139 Wong (2004), page 5

  • 140 http://proposicion.org.ar/proyecto/leyes/5613-D-00/doc-asesores-3.html

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

China also hosts many corporate FLOSS developers, e.g. Turbo Linux, Red Hat and IBM.

Malaysia

In November 2001 the Malaysian Government decided to use Open- Source-Software in key public agencies like treasury and in dedicated areas like e-procurement.

The Malaysian Prime Minister launched a joint project in 2002 with the private sector to build an affordable, Open-Source-Software based com- puter for home usage. 141 The government owned research company Mi- mos has a special focus on Open-Source-Software. 142

In addition Malaysia established FLOSS competence centers in order to support the development of relevant skills in the country. 143

South Africa

The South African proceeding to FLOSS adoption is an example of the enabling approach. 144 The government set up the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) which proposed a strategy in 2003 pro- moting the application of FLOSS. Though no legislation has been estab- lished the recommendations have widely been accepted and they are being implemented by government departments.

South Africa plays a very important role in regional collaborations, in particular in the Open-Source-Software Foundation for Africa.

4.2.3 Case studies of FLOSS in development cooperation

A list of exemplary case studies of Open-Source-Software in develop- ment cooperation will complement the policy examples. The provided examples were selected to include various development regions and dif- ferent prospects of FLOSS application in development cooperation.

  • 141 http://www.komnas.com

  • 142 http://opensource.mimos.my

  • 143 Wong (2004), page 22

  • 144 Wong (2004), page 18

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Localization

The provision of an ICT information structure is not sufficient if the software has not been translated into local languages. Translate.org.za is a non profit organization which provides free software in different Af- rican languages. 145 The main focus is on the translation of Linux, of the OpenOffice suite and of the FireFox internet browser. Among the sup- ported languages so far are Xhosa, Zulu, Northern Sotho and Afrikaans.

Health

In Mali the privately organized project IKON provides radiological diag- nostic services to patients in rural areas. 146 Patients are X-rayed in re- gional centers and the images are sent to a central hospital in Bamako, for further diagnosis. At the time the project was initiated there were 11 radiology specialists living in the country, ten of them in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The entire project uses FLOSS which has been tailored to the needs of IKON. The software handles the encryption of the images and confiden- tial patient data, transmission and billing of the provided service. The one year pilot phase was completed successfully indicating sufficient demand for a sustainable operation. While being revenue-positive from the early beginning the project now serves as a nucleus for further medical services.

Sustainable Livelihoods

In Laos remote villages are connected to the internet using standard wireless technologies (802.11b standard) and smart antennas. 147 Addi- tional solar powered access points supplement the infrastructure. Vil- lagers are using power efficient embedded computers which run local- ized versions of Linux and KDE, a graphical window system.

145 http://translate.org.za 146 infoDev (2005), pages 8 ff. 147 Dravis (2004), pages 17 ff.

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

The services provided include local calls, internet access document processing and spreadsheet capabilities. It is an essential infrastructure for the community which is 25 km away from the next village with phone lines and allows sustainable income improvements.

4.2.4 Experiences and "Lessons Learned"

The approach of FLOSS as an instrument in development cooperation is still relatively new and it is too early for final conclusions. But the pro- jects implemented so far allow learning from experiences.

Financial constraints are a major barrier for the application of ICT in general in most African countries (which is probably true for all less de- veloped or developing countries). 148 This applies to FLOSS as well as to proprietary software projects. Funds are often crucially limited which prohibits the procurement of appropriate hardware and the training of local staff.

Thus in many scenarios the license fees are a strong argument for the application of FLOSS. But not paying royalties does not imply that a solution is free of any costs. A prominent example is a Mexican project to equip schools with computers and internet access. 149 The basic moti- vation for the usage of FLOSS in the "Red Escolar Libre" (Free School Network) project was the amount of money saved for license fees. The plan would probably have worked out if the project had been properly structured. The only effort invested was the shipment of CDs with Linux and other software to the schools. So without surprise the project was not successful. A major lesson to be learned from this incident is that each project has to be carefully planned and stakeholders have to be trained to fulfill expected tasks. And with the risk of weakening the cost advantage argument of Open-Source-Software it is essential that money is spent for such projects – if not for licenses at least for consultancy services, proper planning and training.

  • 148 bridges.org (2005b), page 88

  • 149 Rajani et al. (2003), page 61

FLOSS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Dravis offers additional lessons learned from projects utilizing FLOSS in development cooperation. 150 On the one hand his experiences are refer- ring to development cooperation in general. They include participatory approaches, local responsibilities for sustainability and good project management. On the other hand his main conclusions are that the ap- plication of free software in the projects was easier than expected. Espe- cially Linux turned out to be more user friendly than it is widely per- ceived. Furthermore the considered case studies do not offer any evi- dence that support for FLOSS was more difficult to obtain. Contrarily the Remote Village IT System project in Laos allows the assumption that the involvement of the end users helps to build responsibility and own- ership. 151

150 Dravis (2004), page 13 ff. 151 Dravis (2004), page 19

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

  • 5 Implications of FLOSS strategies for development cooperation

The outlined benefits of FLOSS along with the ICT policies of many de- veloping countries make FLOSS an important subject for actors of de- velopment cooperation. Mechanisms of Open-Source-Software commu- nities and development have to be understood and transferred to less developed regions. It is also one important task to support the creation of enabling environments for Open-Source-Software. Furthermore re- adiness and awareness of actors of development cooperation for FLOSS has to be created and fostered.

5.1 Creating an enabling environment for FLOSS

If a FLOSS strategy is pursued it is important to understand the neces- sary environmental conditions to realize the expected benefits. Therefore it is necessary that the FLOSS policy is embedded in an appropriate, enabling environment. Weerawarana et al. point out that “it cannot be over emphasized that the enabling environment is critical to the success of such efforts”. 152 This environment can be divided into a general ICT enabling and a more specific FLOSS enabling environment.

Of course it is a prerequisite for any FLOSS strategy to foster ICT diffu- sion in general. Especially the physical infrastructure is crucial for the success of Open-Source-Software efforts. Refer to chapter “ICT for growth and empowerment” (page 36 f.) for the discussion of the general enabling environment.

In addition to the promotion of general ICTs it is important to create an enabling environment for maximizing the benefits of Open-Source- Software. The main issues are “open source advocacy, the availability of IT skills in the use and localization of OSS, the presence of a local pri- vate sector adopting OSS based business models are some of the key enablers or drivers of an environment in which OSS becomes a real op-

152 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 34

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

tion in the IT investment equation.” 153 These points can also be grouped into advocacy and education as well as creation of a market demand for FLOSS software products and services.

  • 5.1.1 FLOSS advocacy and education

To back the Open-Source-Software policy framework it is important to support it by initiatives and programs in advocacy, awareness building and education. 154 The awareness “at all levels, ranging from policy- makers (in order to launch reform processes) to local communities and entrepreneurs (to help them identify new opportunities)” is crucial for the implementation of the selected policy. 155 FLOSS and proprietary software, legal or illegal copies, commonly co-exist in markets of devel- oping countries. In order to influence stakeholders in favor of FLOSS advocacy groups, educational courses and material targeted at the po- tential users and stakeholders have to be provided. Linux user groups are just one example for a community providing advocacy for FLOSS. A more formal model is provided by the “Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Initiative” which supports the Malaysian ICT policy by encouraging the application of FLOSS. 156

An example for a multi national advocacy program is the International Open Source Network (IOSN), which is an initiative of the United Na- tions Development Programme’s (UNDP) Asia Pacific Development In- formation Programme (APDIP). The network is a center of excellence in the Asia-Pacific Region and is “tasked specifically to facilitate and net- work FOSS advocates and human resources in the region”. 157 Rapid, sustained economic and social development is the vision of IOSN.

  • 5.1.2 Market demand

For a sustainable ICT strategy it is crucial that the market demands FLOSS products and services. Only with a sustainable demand a local

  • 153 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 34

  • 154 Weerawarana et al. (2004), page 40

  • 155 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2002), page 5

  • 156 http://opensource.mampu.gov.my

  • 157 http://www.iosn.net

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

software industry can be established. In the initial phase the govern- ment and other public organizations, which are often the largest cus- tomers for ICT in developing countries, can help to create this market demand. In a following phase e-government initiatives and programs can be used not only to enhance governance but to foster adoption of FLOSS even further. The e-government efforts, which are also a signal- ing device for the private sector, can help to increase the amount of us- ers to a critical mass and thus can help to enable positive network ef- fects. 158

5.2 Readiness and awareness of actors in development cooperation

The realization of this enabling environment is primarily a government issue. But donor organizations and consultancies in development coop- eration need to be able to give theoretical and practical support. Thus they have to be “ready”, in terms of capable as well as aware for Open- Source-Software in development cooperation.

5.2.1 Readiness

Readiness for FLOSS in development cooperation is not aiming at spe- cialized ICT capabilities like programming. Instead the potentials and mechanism of Open-Source-Software have to be understood. At the same time the focus of donor organizations and consultancies has to be differentiated.

As Weerawarana et al. point out the role of donor agencies is mainly to act as catalyst. 159 The situation of the developing country determines the amount of assistance that is required, especially to reach a critical mass in FLOSS diffusion. Large organizations, i.e. the United Nations and its child organizations, are already aware of Open-Source-Software as an instrument in development cooperation. Therefore the main issue remains to streamline activities in these large organizations and en- hance communication efforts.

158 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2002), page 5 159 Weerawarana et al., page 45

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

The situation for consultancies is similar but these actors do not have the possibility to influence and support ICT policies by promoting ap- propriate projects. Their influence is restricted to policy consultation and support within projects, e.g. by providing training in FLOSS related issues. Thus there are to new responsibilities to be considered by con- sultancies. They would have to adapt to the new situation in order to prepare themselves to be able to assist others in utilizing the benefits of ICT and Open-Source-Software respectively.

Both requirements are closely related to traditional activities in devel- opment cooperation. The principal willingness to change cannot be as- sessed on an individual level. But altogether the topics and contents of international development cooperation have changed in the last 50 years from mainly agricultural support to a more complex approach in- cluding many developments of economic theory and marketing.

One of the latest trends in development cooperation is the analysis of value chains in developing countries which includes business process analysis and redesign. 160 The target is to help to include and empower small farms or companies in regional and international product chains. The objective is to enable them to participate more actively and with equal rights in trade.

The analysis and design of business processes is also at the center of the appropriate application of ICT. To prevent that the suggested solu- tions are an end in itself, business processes have to be considered and business cases have to be calculated. 161 It is important for this calcula- tion to consider primary and secondary targets as well as additional benefits.

This development constitutes good prerequisites for actors of develop- ment cooperation to adopt ICT and Open-Source-Software. But while

160 The topic of the international conference "Tropentag 2005“ in Stuttgart was “Inter- national Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural De- velopment”. This is taken as evidence for “value chains” being a current trend in development cooperation. 161 Müller/von Thienen (2001), pages 153. ff.

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

the ‘intellectual’ basis can be considered as sufficiently available, the ‘soul’ of the consultancy organizations might not be ready for the change.

The same is often true for the socio-economic project environment. Peo- ple have to be convinced of the benefits of Open-Source-Software or maybe of ICT in general. Both scenarios require an appropriate change management.

The importance of internal change management (often also regarded to as innovation management) has already been widely discussed in eco- nomic theory. In the center of these considerations are the members of staff and their possible resistance to change. The focus of innovation management is on the barriers preventing the individual to accept the new situation of objects and means as advantageous. 162 In the case of consultancies resistance to information technology can be anticipated. With a traditional background of agriculture the perception of FLOSS strategies by consultants has to be carefully observed. One additional benefit of a successful change management is a streamlined organiza- tion, which also enables more innovation initiatives from the inside. 163

For external project partners in development cooperation Yusoff and Sharon underline the importance of innovation management for the ex- ample of e-government. Bruggink supports this view and adds for the case of FLOSS that without “adequate thought given to the implications for each computer-user in an organization, sweeping changes to ICT infrastructure are less likely to succeed.” 164

5.2.2 Awareness

But even if organizations in development cooperation are ready for FLOSS and have comprehensive innovation management instruments in place, they might not be aware of Open-Source-Software. On the one hand there is evidence that awareness for Open-Source-Software seems

  • 162 Hauschildt (1993), page 24

  • 163 Hauschildt (1993), page 164

  • 164 Bruggink (2003), page 35

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

to be rising. This can be derived from a growing number of publications in the academic world as well as from international organizations like the United Nations.

On the other hand there is also evidence drawn from projects that not all actors are aware of Open-Source-Software. Obviously the usage of proprietary software can have multiple reasons and does not allow de- riving clear conclusions. But without going into details for the particular reasons it remains that FLOSS is not being used consistently in devel- opment cooperation.

Instead it can be observed that even within organizations that promote the application of Open-Source-Software (e.g. UNDP) some projects util- ize closed source software. At a minimum this allows to derive the indi- cation that the level of awareness varies within the development coop- eration community. A list of examples will underpin this thesis.

5.2.3 Examples of projects in development cooperation which are not using and promoting FLOSS

Business Information System Services promoting Trade of Informa- tion 165

The business information systems (BIS) consist of BIS-Centers in dif- ferent locations which cover value chains with potentials for eco- nomic growth, e.g. agriculture, agro-based industries, etc.

According to an interview with a project consultant only proprietary software is used in this project. 166

Rural Community Telecentre Project, Sri Lanka 167

Sarvodaya (a nationwide popular movement that has been develop- ing economic and social welfare infrastructure in Sri Lanka) created in cooperation with Microsoft rural empowerment through bringing

  • 165 http://www.bis-asia.net

  • 166 Gärtner (2005)

  • 167 http://www.sarvodaya.org/users/situ/Contents/Projects.htm

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

the benefits of information and communications technology to more villages of the island.

FAO-GTZ MicroBanking System 168

The MicroBanking System is a banking software designed and devel- oped for a wide range of banks and financial intermediaries.

The project utilized proprietary software mainly from Microsoft and Borland.

The Colombian Local Information Service Project 169

The local information service matches local supply with household demand for information.

The project utilized proprietary software mainly from Microsoft.

E-commerce in Ejura, Ghana 170

This project from Ghana shows how ICTs can support small and me- dium farmers to increase their revenues and improve their farming practices by enabling them to access information on regional market developments and international agricultural know-how.

The project utilized proprietary software from Microsoft and Oracle.

A new PC for every home initiative, Egypt 171

The Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technol- ogy announced with the President of Microsoft International the launch of a new low-cost and easy-to-use personal computer ad- dressing new users from all age groups. The PC will be shipped with the new Windows XP starter edition.

  • 168 http://www.mbwin.net

  • 169 http://www.ftpiicd.org/files/research/reports/report4.pdf, pages 9 ff.

  • 170 http://www.ftpiicd.org/files/research/reports/report4.pdf, pages 41 ff.

  • 171 http://www.mcit.gov.eg/display_press.asp?id=1102

IMPLICATIONS OF FLOSS STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

UNDP and Microsoft form a technology partnership to combat poverty in developing nations 172

In January 2004 UNDP and Microsoft announced the formation of a technical partnership. The objective is to create and implement in- formation and communications technology projects that will help de- veloping countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

172 http://www.undp.org/dpa/pressrelease/releases/2004/january/23jan04.pdf

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

  • 6 Awareness of actors of development cooperation for FLOSS

Having discussed the applicability of FLOSS in development cooperation in the previous chapters the awareness and perception of Open-Source- Software has to be further analyzed. It was shown that despite the sug- gested benefits, FLOSS is not used as consistently as expected.

6.1 Survey Design

Considering the anticipated advantages of FLOSS application it is nec- essary for actors of international development cooperation to have an appropriate awareness of Open-Source-Software. In order to shed light on the question about the awareness and perception of FLOSS in devel- opment cooperation an expert survey using standardized questionnaires was conducted.

The goal of the survey was to provide further insight whether the appli- cation of FLOSS and the related advantages are perceived as described in the previous chapters.

6.1.1 Methodology

In order to get a profile of the awareness and perception among actors in international development cooperation a written, questionnaire based survey was conducted. The self administered questionnaire was pro- vided as a paper based version and as an online form which can be used via the internet.

The target group of the survey consisted of actors in international de- velopment cooperation with a theoretical or a practical background. In order to get closer to the profile of opinions of these experts, a special expertise in information technologies was not necessary. The focus was on the awareness and perception of experts in international develop- ment cooperation and not on specialized IT experts.

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

The main reason for the choice of a self administered questionnaire was the possibility to include a larger number of experts in the survey. The world wide distribution of experts makes it difficult to include a large number of participants using personalized interview methodologies. In addition the requirements for human and financial resources are sig- nificantly lower.

The main downside of the methodology, especially of online surveys, is the question of representativeness. 173 The population of actors of devel- opment cooperation with theoretical or practical background itself is hard to assess. Furthermore it is not evident if the additional constraint of internet access has an impact on the results of the survey. It could be assumed though that the requirement of internet access is not a barrier anymore in this type of profession.

As a consequence the survey was carried out as expert interviews. This allows to determine a snapshot of the awareness and perception and to derive hints of the opinion about Open-Source-Software in development cooperation.

6.1.2 Questionnaire Design

A fundamental step for the development of an empirical questionnaire is the operationalization of the research questions. 174 The main focus of this survey is on the awareness and perception of actors in development cooperation for Open-Source-Software. Therefore not only the percep- tion of FLOSS but of software in general has to be analyzed to allow dif- ferentiated statements. The hypotheses of the survey are:

The majority of actors in development cooperation are aware of the existence of FLOSS.

The majority of actors are aware of the suggested benefits of FLOSS in development cooperation.

173 Atteslander (2003), page 187 174 Kromrey (2006), page 118

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

Actors of development cooperation share the same ideas regard- ing the application of FLOSS in development cooperation.

In the context of this research the term ‘majority’ refers to the simple majority of the participating experts whereas ‘same ideas’ can be under- stood as a common image or vision about the application of Open- Source-Software in development cooperation. The detailed definitions of the remaining terms in the hypotheses result in the definition of the needed indicators for the questionnaire. 175

Awareness and perception of software

Prospects of software

Prospects of software

Prospects of software
Prospects of software
Risks of software

Risks of software

Risks of software

Integrate rural areas

Applied as an end in

itself

Competitive advantages

Missing experience

Missing experience
Of actors
Of actors

Of local partners

Awareness and perception of software Prospects of software Risks of software Integrate rural areas Applied as

Term

Awareness and perception of software Prospects of software Risks of software Integrate rural areas Applied as

Variable

Awareness and perception of software Prospects of software Risks of software Integrate rural areas Applied as

Indicator

Figure 15: Operationalization of ‘awareness and perception of software’ 176

As stated earlier the awareness and perception of software in general has to be analyzed in addition to FLOSS in order to allow conclusions. The deduction of the indicators for the term ‘awareness and perception of software’ which is used to distinguish between the attitude to FLOSS is exemplarily given in Figure 15.

175 Atteslander (2003), pages 40 ff. and Kromrey (2006), pages 175 ff. 176 Own illustration following Atteslander (2003), pages 52 f.

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

Prospects and risks of software in general are used to determine the awareness and perception by actors of development cooperation. Indica- tors for these variables are the possibilities of enhanced rural integra- tion and improved competitive advantages on the one hand as well as missing experience and the risk of application as an end in itself on the other. The indicators represented in end notes are included into the questionnaire.

Awareness and perception of FLOSS Prospects of FLOSS Risks of FLOSS Cost reduction Find staff Provide
Awareness and
perception of FLOSS
Prospects of FLOSS
Risks of FLOSS
Cost reduction
Find staff
Provide different ser-
vices
Find local partners
FLOSS is an alternative
Get support
Increases local human
capital
Has to be embedded in
local ICT policy
Fosters participation
Indicator
Variable
Term

Figure 16: Operationalization of ‘awareness and perception of FLOSS’ 177

In the same way variables and indicators are derived from the terms ‘awareness and perception of FLOSS’ and ‘actors in development coop- eration’.

177 Own illustration following Atteslander (2003), pages 52 f.

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

Consider the use of Term Variable Indicator utilized FLOSS Worked in a project that Used FLOSS
Consider the use of
Term
Variable
Indicator
utilized FLOSS
Worked in a project that
Used FLOSS in the past
Employer
Know of FLOSS
Occupation
software useful
Actors of development
cooperation
Country of Origin
cation of software
Experience in the appli-
Gender
velopment cooperation
Years experience in de-
Age
Professional Experience
Personal data

Figure 17: Operationalization of ‘actors in development cooperation ‘ 178

The design of the questionnaire is following the common basic princi- ples as exemplarily compiled by Mayer. 179 The questions are grouped into five categories: Prospects of software, risks of software, prospects of FLOSS, risks of FLOSS and personal data. Indicators regarding the pro- fessional experience of the participants are distributed over these five categories.

All indicators which refer to knowledge or experience of the participants are measured using closed questions and scales with an even number

178 Own illustration following Atteslander (2003), pages 52 f. 179 Mayer (2006), page 89

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

of categories. This forces the participants to make a decision for or against the given statement.

For all experience and opinion related questions a “don’t know” category is provided. This allows designing the questionnaire without filter ques- tions which makes the layout clearer and simplifies the process of an- swering the form.

The first four blocks of the questionnaire which cover the prospects and risks of software and FLOSS are concluded by an open question about additional topics which have not been covered by that block. The fourth block is also followed by an open question about totally uncovered is- sues regarding the application of FLOSS in development cooperation. These open questions are especially relevant for the analysis of the third hypothesis, whether common ideas about software and FLOSS applica- tion are shared amongst actors in development cooperation.

A pretest of the developed questionnaire was conducted with the help of students of the seminar “Development and Project Planning” in June 2005. Appendix C gives the layout of the final paper version of the ques- tionnaire.

6.2 Survey realization

As laid out in the previous chapter the target group for the expert sur- vey are actors of international development cooperation with a theoreti- cal or practical background.

With the kind support of the organization committee, the Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural and Natural Resource Manage- ment 2005 (Deutscher Tropentag 2005) held in Stuttgart-Hohenheim was used to start the survey. 180 The conference is regularly jointly or- ganized by the universities of Berlin, Göttingen, Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Bonn and Kassel-Witzenhausen as well as by the Council for Tropical and Subtropical Research (ATSAF e.V) in cooperation with

180 http://www.tropentag.de/2005/

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

BEAF/GTZ. 181 The target group consists of academic researchers, poli- ticians, decision makers as well as practitioners. This made the Tropen- tag a good starting point for the survey.

Based on the feedback obtained in Stuttgart-Hohenheim the question- naire was transformed into an online-version. 182 Potential participants were invited using mailing lists and personal recommendations. The most important sources were the mailing lists operated by ATSAF 183 and the Centre for Advanced Training in Rural Development of the Humboldt University of Berlin (SLE) 184 . In addition the participants from the Tropentag who provided their email address were approached to pass the survey on to colleagues.

ATSAF is a scientific network from Germany working in the field of tropical and subtropical agricultural research. Most of the members are scientist or experts of international development cooperation in the ar- eas of agriculture, ecology, veterinary medicine, nutrition science, for- estry and fishery. Information and communication technologies are not the main focus of interest. ATSAF’s regular emails are distributed to about 2000 addresses.

The SLE provides a supplementary training program for university graduates, mostly from European Union countries, with a master’s de- gree in social science, economics or agricultural science who are inter- ested in a long-term position in the field of international cooperation. Other areas of work include consultancy and research as well as semi- nars and workshops on special topics of international cooperation. The mailing list operated by SLE contains all current and former students who graduated within the last 20 years.

The response rates were at a notably low level. At the Tropentag only 4% of the about 600 registered participants filled out and returned a

  • 181 BEAF/GTZ: Advisory service on agricultural research for development by GTZ

  • 182 http://survey.osford.org

  • 183 http://www.atsaf.de

  • 184 http://www.agrar.hu-berlin.de/sle

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

copy of the questionnaire. This was the case even though the question- naire was distributed with the conference material and numerous boxes for returning the forms were provided. The rates for the online version after personal invitation using the described mailing lists have been at a similar low level.

6.3 Data analysis

In this chapter the collected data will be analyzed. A short overview about the experts who participated in the survey will be followed by a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of the data.

6.3.1 Data overview

The survey started with the Tropentag on October 11 th 2005 and lasted until May 31 st 2006. Within this period 162 experts have completed the questionnaire. Figure 18 describes the response over time.

nr

0 50 ATSAF SLE Tropentag Tropentag - follow up 150 100 1.11.2005 1.12.2005 1.3.2006 1.1.2006 1.2.2006
0
50
ATSAF
SLE
Tropentag
Tropentag - follow up
150
100
1.11.2005
1.12.2005
1.3.2006
1.1.2006
1.2.2006
1.4.2006
1.5.2006

date

Figure 18: Response over time of the FLOSS survey

A distinct increase in responses can be observed after the personal invi- tations were distributed. Noteworthy is the slower but more durable rise

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

after the Tropentag follow up email. It is likely that the recipients passed the link to the questionnaire over a longer period of time to known colleagues. In contrast to that phenomenon the high increase after the invitation to subscribers of the two mailing lists was soon fol- lowed by a decrease of the new number of participants.

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Frequency 40 20 50 30 70 80 60
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Frequency
40
20
50
30
70
80
60

Age

Figure 19: Age distribution of participants

The age of the experts (one participant did not provide information about his or her age) is in the range from 21 to 72 years with a distribu- tion as depicted in Figure 19. The median is 42 years. In this as well as in further analysis the median was used instead of the mean value. The asymmetrical distributions make the median preferable.

The distribution of the number of years of experience in development cooperation is given in Figure 20. Interestingly the median value is at 10 years. Given that half of the participants are 42 or older it could have been expected to find more participants with a longer history in development cooperation. One suggestion could be that a couple of ex- perts either enjoyed a very long education or started a second career in

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

development cooperation. The correlation between the two variables is also analyzed in Table 1. The crosstabulation suggest that age and ex- perience in development cooperation are significantly related.

25 20 15 10 5 0 Frequency 40 20 0
25
20
15
10
5
0
Frequency
40
20
0

years experience

Figure 20: Distribution of experience of participants

   

Age

Total

 

<= 36

37 - 47

>=48

 

years

<= 10

Count

40

20

3

63

experience

% within Age

93,0%

57,1%

8,1%

54,8%

 

>= 11

Count

3

15

34

52

 

% within Age

7,0%

42,9%

91,9%

45,2%

Total

Count

43

35

37

115

% within Age

100,0%

100,0%

100,0%

100,0%

Table 1: Crosstabulation of “Years experience” and “Age”

About one third of the experts are female. 70% are from Germany while the remaining 30% origin from a large variety of countries worldwide. Figure 21 shows the frequencies for the gender and the country of ori- gin distribution.

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

80% 70% 60% 68% 50% 40% 30% 20% 32% 10% 0% female male
80%
70%
60%
68%
50%
40%
30%
20%
32%
10%
0%
female
male

Gender

80% 70% 60% 50% 70% 40% 30% 20% 30% 10% 0% DEU World counry of origin
80%
70%
60%
50%
70%
40%
30%
20%
30%
10%
0%
DEU
World
counry of origin

Figure 21: Distribution of gender and origin of participants

6.3.2 Quantitative analysis

For the quantitative analysis the scales of most variables were recoded to provide sufficiently populated categories. This allows more meaning- ful conclusions especially when using methods like crosstabulation. The scales with six categories were reduced to two: ‘true’ and ‘false’. The ‘don’t know’ category was left unchanged.

CHE UK LKA NLD BEL FRA ETH JPN KEN BEN PAK THA BRA TUN ESP AUT
CHE
UK
LKA
NLD
BEL
FRA
ETH
JPN
KEN
BEN
PAK
THA
BRA
TUN
ESP
AUT
5
USA
ZWE
CAN
AUS
EGY
MAR
VNM
GHA
GBR
IND
0
1
2
3
4

Figure 22: Histogram for ‘country of origin’ for participants not coming from Germany 185

In addition to the discrete scales aspects of the sociological data was recoded. As already used in Figure 21 the country of origin was summa-

185 Country codes are ISO 3166, see http://www.iso.org/iso/en/prods-services/iso3166ma/index.html

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

rized to participants from Germany and from any other country. The distribution of non German participants is depicted in Figure 22. The number of 26 countries for the 49 non German participants suggests the combined category ‘World’.

In addition the variables ‘age’ and ‘years experience’ were recoded to provide reasonable populated categories. As no external or natural cate- gory boundaries are given the groups are constituted to have about equal populations. The resulting distributions of the variables are given in Figure 23.

34 % 32 % 34 % <= 36 37 - 47 >=48 Age 40 % 35
34 %
32 %
34 %
<= 36
37 - 47
>=48
Age
40 %
35 %
30 %
25 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
5 %
0 %
30 >= 11 <= 10 0 % % 10 % 20 % 60 46 % %
30
>= 11
<= 10
0 %
%
10
%
20
%
60
46 %
%
40
54 %
%
50
%

years experience

Figure 23: Recoding of variables ‘Age’ and ‘Years experience’

Question

Valid

true

false

don’t know

Experience with Software

162

 
  • 121 75%

 
  • 38 23%

3

2%

Consider useful

162

 
  • 140 86%

 
  • 18 11%

4

3%

Help integrating rural areas

162

 
  • 134 83%

 
  • 25 15%

3

2%

Software is underestimated

161

98

61%

 
  • 47 10%

29%

16

 

Competitive advantages

162

 
  • 125 77%

 
  • 28 17%

9

6%

Actors miss experience

162

 
  • 130 80%

 
  • 24 15%

8

5%

Local partner miss experience

162

 
  • 144 89%

 
  • 14 8%

4

3%

Applied as an end in itself

162

94

58%

 
  • 45 14%

28%

23

 

Table 2: Frequencies for prospects and risks of software

AWARENESS OF ACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FOR FLOSS

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 40% 50% 30% 20% 10% 0%
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
40%
50%
30%
20%
10%
0%

Software Competitive is useful

Help

underestimated

areas