Title: Free and open source software (FOSS) as a vehicle for human development in Egypt: some evidence and insights

Authors: Nagla Rizk

Addresses: School of Business, American University in Cairo, AUC Avenue, P.O. Box 74, New Cairo, 11835, Egypt

Abstract: This paper is based on the hypothesis that free and open source software (FOSS) has a developmental potential in Egypt as it relies on a democratising technology and a collaborative liberalising knowledge production model that encourages smaller business structures rather than proprietary conglomerates. This hypothesis is tested through in-depth interviews with stakeholders. Fieldwork reveals a strong potential for FOSS, particularly towards enhancing different layers of human capital. As FOSS in Egypt is at its infancy stage, its developmental potential is stunted as market forces point towards reinforcing larger proprietary software models at the expense of smaller FOSS-based businesses. This is compounded by limited political will, lack of awareness and absence of FOSS from educational curricula, all of which pose additional challenges. This paper provides recommendations for action in the short and long-terms to promote FOSS as a vehicle for Egypt's development.

Keywords: free software; open source software; FOSS; OSS; information technology; democratising technologies; knowledge liberalisation; human development; human capital; Egypt.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2012.047650

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2012 Vol.5 No.3, pp.221 - 236

Available online: 06 Jul 2012 *

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