Open Source Software: A Collaborative Fact-Finding Study
Open-source software (OSS) is a concept making its way through technology
circles, even as software monopolies are being frowned upon. Open source
is a powerful tool that could support the development of entire Web portals
while maintaining programming freedom and flexibility. Programmers, and
even mainstream users, have the opportunity to enhance or modify the source
code–the nuts and bolts–upon which software is based.
Over the last couple of years, the OSS movement has matured to a degree
that many of its products are comparable, or even superior, to conventional
commercial products in a wide range of areas, from the individual desktop
to networked servers. Furthermore, the design of graphical user interfaces
has advanced dramatically, making OSS accessible to non-programmers
and new users of computers.
For the voluntary sector, the use of OSS is an exciting prospect that
could impact organizations at many levels, including:
a) cost efficiency
b) increased reliability
c) decreased planning insecurity with regards to changing licensing
d) reduced chance of technology lock-in
e) increased organizational flexibility
f) extended co-operative culture with regards to technology
g) the ability to attract highly skilled volunteers (who normally prefer
to work with open source).
The main barrier to OSS usage in the voluntary sector is the lack of
awareness concerning its benefits as well as the skills necessary to
take advantage of it. To gain a better understanding of this promising
avenue for the future, visit the Open
Source Initiative Web site and see the report entitled Open Source
Awareness Initiative for the Voluntary Sector in Canada. This report
was prepared by Openflows Networks Ltd. and submitted to Industry Canada
on March 31, 2003.