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Multistakeholder Partnership Holds E-discussion on FOSS

11-02-2005 (Paris)
A network comprising civil society and UN organisations including UNESCO has launched a public e-consultation on the development implications of free and open source software (FOSS) entitled “FOSS: Policy and Development Implications” (FOSS-PDI). The Forum is at http://lists.apdip.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/foss-pdi
Other organizations supporting the initiative are Bridges.org, Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), International Open Source Network (IOSN), OneWorld South Asia (OWSA), UNDP Asia Pacific Development Information Programme, and

FOSS-PDI discusses how FOSS can help scaling up various developmental interventions while reducing the cost and other obligations attached to the proprietary software. By forming the alliance, organisers of this forum aim to raise awareness, in the general public, about the present and possible future impacts of open source software for creating an inclusive knowledge society.

The forum has got discussers from various regions representing private, public and civil society sectors. Experts and activists of FOSS, and development professionals are engaged in this debate running from December 2004 to April 2005.

The role of FOSS in implementing the projects undertaken to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals is one of the key discussion themes of the forum. The themes of the forum are:

  • Opportunities and drawbacks of FOSS for developing countries – the roles of government, civil society, business in the process;

  • FOSS & Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – stretching the development dollar for scaling-up impact;

  • The global Intellectual Property Concern - Business monopoly of first world nations software giants versus third world collaborative efforts;

  • Enabling legal/regulatory/policy framework for country specific strategic evolution FOSS;

  • Open-source processes outside the software sector – Free Medicine, Seed Bank, Open Access, Open Archiving, etc;

  • Comparison of proprietary software vis-à-vis FOSS in terms of technical merits –reliability, stability, and vulnerabilities, especially in the context of national security;

  • FOSS versus Public Domain Software and Freeware – the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of FOSS.

  • Understanding why individuals contribute to FOSS projects and what motivates FOSS developers to "donate" their time and are these motivations different in developed and developing countries? Are there constraints, especially in developing countries, that could be addressed by government or private sector interventions?


  • The forum will bring out a policy document encompassing the viewpoints of the discussants, besides presenting the outcomes in upcoming thematic meetings being organized parallel to the World Summit on the Information Society process.
    Related themes/countries

          · News archive: 2005
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