To ensure growth of a nation's digital economy, government information technology policy must foster innovation and openness. But good technology is not enough. Government policy must also promote an economic framework that enables good business practices.
Governments are in the cross hairs of the forces of globalization. For everyone to benefit fairly, governments in the developing world must adopt an information technology policy that balances the interests of international trade and collaboration with increased self-reliance and knowledge creation.
OSS can be harnessed to its full potential to help build knowledge economies in developing countries.
OSS can break the cycle of red-tape and budget limitations hindering the effectiveness of government information services.
The government functions as both a facilitator and inhibitor of the growth of knowledge. To progress toward an Open Knowledge Society, the government must balance public and private interests by protecting the freedom of information as well as by reigning in overzealous intellectual property schemes.
Governments should utilize Information Technology (IT) procurement policy to help achieve transparency, competition, measurement and efficiency in the purchasing process. A policy which incorporates open source as a choice for solutions complements the role of standards. Open source and open standards together can help strengthen a framework for procuring and delivering solutions to meet the needs of government.
Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) have the potential to create new promises or fulfill old ones. Open source PPPs are favorite vehicles for spurring ICT development in emerging economies. Today's efforts may be dramatically improved by learning from successful projects in other fields such as pharmacology and advanced technology development. Five principles for improving open source PPP projects are reviewed.
In developing countries, new business and government processes enabled for ICT can only be nurtured by using open source software.
In a high profile ceremony, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairman of the National Advisory Council of India, and Thiru Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology released a free CD of software containing Hindi language tools and fonts based on open source software in New Delhi this week. To the rousing applause of the audience, Thiru Maran asserted that this freely available office suite is in every way the equal of Microsoft Office.
Cheap PCs for the billions of digital have-nots are still expensive and, worse, are not designed for the people who need them most.