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Evaluating Open Source in Government: Methodological Considerations in Strategizing the Use of Open Source in the Public Sector

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The use of free and open source software (F/OSS) in the public sector has been accelerating over the last ten years. The benefits seem to be obvious: No licensing costs, unlimited flexibility, vendor independence, a support community, and so forth. But as with everything else in life, a successful implementation of F/OSS in government is not as simple as it might look initially. The implementation of F/OSS should build on a solid evaluation of core business criteria in all their complexity. In this chapter we analyze the evaluation considerations that government bodies should undertake before deciding between F/OSS and traditional software (SW), including the way knowledge networks and communities of practice work, total cost of ownership, and core functional requirements. The chapter presents a methodology conceptualizing this process in a comprehensive framework, focusing on the interaction between the strategic and business process level and the SW/infrastructure level. The chapter aims at presenting a framework enabling IT strategist and management from the “business side” of public sector institutions to evaluate F/OSS vs. traditional SW in tight cooperation with the IT side of the organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Source for Knowledge and Learning Management
Editors Lytras and Naeve
Number of pages43
PublisherIGI global
Publication date8 Mar 2007
Pages175-218
Chapter6
ISBN (Print)978-1599041179
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2007
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    Research areas

  • Open Source Software, Knowledge management

ID: 37259750