Information Economy Report 2012

The Software Industry and Developing Countries

image of Information Economy Report 2012
The IER 2012 highlights the growing importance of the software industry for developing countries, building on earlier UNCTAD work on the promotion of the ICT sector in general and the software industry in particular. The report contains new data and features the new UNCTAD National Software System Index. It highlights the role of free and open source software for the development of a local software industry, reviews selected country case studies and presents policy options.



The role of free and open source software

One of the features of the evolving ICT landscape highlighted in chapter  I is the growing acceptance and use of free and open source software (FOSS). This trend goes hand in hand with the greater openness seen in software development and the reliance on distributed peer-production models. Over the past decade, FOSS applications have continued to gain market share in many areas. Both governments and enterprises recognize the value of using software for which the source code is freely available and which can be adapted and improved upon. This chapter builds on earlier work conducted by UNCTAD on FOSS, documents how the role of FOSS and related policies have evolved during the past decade, and examines opportunities for business development around FOSS. The chapter notes that current trends are likely to reinforce the growing reliance on FOSS, which should therefore be adequately considered in efforts to strengthen national software systems.


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