23.01.2007 -

Breaking Barriers. Using free and open source software for development

The successful deployment of free and open source software (FOSS) in projects in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America are described on a publication entitled "Breaking Barriers" by UNDP's Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme.

UNESCO, the International Open Source Network (IOSN) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada participated in the publication.


Each case study describes the reason for choosing to use FOSS and discusses the development, implementation and impact of the FOSS applications. The benefits obtained and challenges encountered, as well as any valuable lessons learned are also highlighted.


The benefits offered by FOSS have been extremely useful for developing countries around the world. In particular, the ability to obtain FOSS without licensing fees has proven to be beneficial to users in these regions as this makes the use of ICT more affordable to them.


Over the last few years, as FOSS has matured and become more widely accepted, many projects have been carried out that attempt to make use of FOSS to help bring about socio-economic development and empower people in developing countries or regions. Some of these projects are highlighted in the new publication that highlights the benefits obtained and challenges encountered, as well as any valuable lessons learned.


It is hoped that the publication will create greater awareness of the ability of FOSS to empower and help poorer and less developed communities.


The publication includes a DVD containing a 40-minutes version of a documentary on FOSS, entitled "The Codebreakers". This was aired as a BBC World TV documentary in May 2006 featuring a number of projects described in this publication.


This publication is the first in the trilogy of ICT4D Case Studies. Upcoming titles include: "Empowering the Poor: Information and Communications Technology for Governance and Poverty Reduction - A Study of Rural Development Projects in India" and " Exploring New Modalities: Experiences with Information and Communications Technology Interventions in the Asia-Pacific Region - A Review and Analysis of the Pan-Asia ICT R&D Grants Programme".


Bibliographic reference:

Breaking Barriers: The Potential of Free and Open Source Software for Sustainable Human Development - A Compilation of Case Studies from Across the World . - [By] Nah Soo Hoe . -

Bangkok: NUDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2006 . - 103 pages

ISBN: 81-312-0631-9

<- Back to: News articles
Back to top