Free software is vital for good governance and future prosperity in developing countries, according to the United Nations University.
“Being a ‘passive consumer’ rather than an ‘active participant’ is not in the best interests of a developing nation’s government or business sectors. Technological selfdetermination in developing countries is key to their future prosperity and is contingent on harnessing the power of this high-tech phenomenon,” says Dr. [Mike] Reed[, Director of the UNU International Institute for Software Technology].
Of immediate interest are the new businesses growing out of the open source high-tech movement, he adds. Because the underlying technology is freely available, entrepreneurs can build value-added products on top of open source software, giving startups quicker time to market while lowering development costs.
Forecasters expect packaged software to be the fastest growing segment within the Linux market in terms of revenue, with 44% annual growth foreseen for the next four years. With overall worldwide software market expected to continue at a historically sluggish single digit growth rate, open source based technologies have become one of the brightest stars of the industry.
The freely-available Linux operating system, the fastest-growing in the world since year 2000, is gaining global IT industry popularity for its reliability, efficiency, customizability and interoperability.