Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)

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The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) model provides interesting tools and processes with which women and men can create, exchange, share and exploit software and knowledge efficiently and effectively. FOSS can play an important role as a practical instrument for development as its free and open aspirations make it a natural component of development efforts in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In the area of software, UNESCO’s fulfills its basic functions of a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues by supporting the development and use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory standards for information handling and access as important elements in developing effective infostructures that contribute to democratic practices, accountability and good governance.

UNESCO recognizes that:

  • Software plays a crucial role in access to information and knowledge;
  • Different software models, including proprietary, open-source and free software, have many possibilities to increase competition, access by users, diversity of choice and to enable all users to develop solutions which best meet their requirements;
  • The development and use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory standards for information handling and access are important elements in the development of effective infostructures;
  • The community approaches to software development has great potential to contribute to operationalize the concept of Knowledge Societies;
  • The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) model provides interesting tools and processes with which people can create, exchange, share and exploit software and knowledge efficiently and effectively;
  • FOSS can play an important role as a practical instrument for development as its free and open aspirations make it a natural component of development efforts in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • Consistent support plays an important role in the success and sustainability of FOSS solutions;
  • All software choices should be based upon the solution's ability to achieve the best overall return on technology investments.

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