Free-Libre Open Source Software as a Public Policy Choice
International Journal on Advances in Internet Technology, Vol. 3, Nos. 3 & 4, pp. 212-222, 2010
11 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2011
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) is characterised by a specific programming and development paradigm. The availability and freedom of use of source code are at the core of this paradigm, and are the prerequisites for FLOSS features. Unfortunately, the fundamental role of code is often ignored among those who decide the software purchases for Canadian public agencies. Source code availability and the connected freedoms are often seen as unrelated and accidental aspects, and the only real advantage acknowledged, which is the absence of royalty fees, becomes paramount. In this paper we discuss some relevant legal issues and explain why public administrations should choose FLOSS for their technological infrastructure. We also present the results of a survey regarding the penetration and awareness of FLOSS usage into the Government of Canada. The data demonstrates that the Government of Canada shows no enforced policy regarding the implementation of a specific technological framework (which has legal, economic, business, and ethical repercussions) in their departments and agencies.
Keywords: Public policy, data analysis, derivative works, licences, public sector, policy recommendations
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