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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 schemes
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.



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Last Updated: 2019-08-21