21 July 2006

United Nations of Free Software

Here's a useful round-up of free software projects at the United Nations - there's more than you might think. Pity that this section is so mealy-mouthed:

Most of the traditional software industry has its base in the developed world; there is concern that promoting FOSS could hurt this industry. From the developing countries' perspective, however, FOSS is a way to introduce competition in order to lower costs and expand options. The different views of the role of software in development have hindered the UN's ability to create a single coherent strategy for FOSS to apply to all member states.

Free software does not "hurt" the traditional industry, it merely brings a much-needed balance between users and suppliers. Business models may change, but as IBM and others have shown, there's plenty of money to be made under this new regime. To phrase it in terms of "hurt" gives succour to outdated and paternalistic practices that have no place in the new computing landscape.

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