Alternative Routes in the Digital World: Open Source Software in Africa

TitleAlternative Routes in the Digital World: Open Source Software in Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsVan Reijswoud, V
Date PublishedSeptember

Software allows people to work with computers. Operating Software controls the hardware components and application software provide tools to facilitate and support the users' work. Most of the softwares are owned by private people or companies and users by licenses to use the software. This type of software is called proprietary or closed source software since the user purchases a license for using the product and the actual product (source code). At present Microsoft and Oracle are the biggest producers of this type software in the world. In the two decades a new approach for software development is emerging. Open Source Software movement is built on the premise that better software is produced when everyone is allowed to modify and change the software. So, in stead of selling user licenses, the product (source code) is distributed. The article discusses the differences between Open and Closed Source Software and reasons that organizations in the African context should decide to embrace the Open Source Software initiative. Several emerging initiatives promoting the use of Open Source Software are considered.

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