very recently a lively -- and heated -- debate on the usefulness of
FOSS in developing countries took place on various mailing lists after
Dr Richard Heeks published "Free and Open Source Software: A Blind
Alley for Developing Countries?"
[http://www.manchester.ac.uk/idpm/dig/briefings.htm ]. while a few
messages appeared on Afrik-IT and s-asia-it, the main front lines were
at the bytesforall_readers
[http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/ ] and GKD
[http://www.edc.org/GLG/gkd/ ] mailing lists.
the following is not related to this debate, but is relevant.
in a book review ("Force or farce?", Dawn Books & Authors, 16 Oct
2005) Dr Mahnaz Fatima has raised some fundamental questions re the
very idea of ICTs and development. her review of Sumit Roys'
"Globalisation, ICT and Developing Nations: Challenges in the
Information Age" (Sage Publications; ISBN 0761933468) is rather
dismissive of ICTs. please note that she has not discussed FOSS or
"So, the author is predisposed towards the relationship between ICT
and development, which he betrays in chapter three. This is
problematic as development is not a single-factor deterministic model,
but is a network of a whole lot of interconnected variables, all of
which need to be addressed simultaneously. While the author does touch
upon some of these issues in chapter two, his prescriptive approach in
chapter three tends to eclipse his efforts in chapter two. A more
factual and convincing effort would have presented chapter three in
the light of only ICT development for a segment of the economy and the
population that would have some spillover into national development.
While the highly illustrated third chapter focusing on the political
economy of ICT, disparity in diffusion of new technologies and the
Indian experience would be of immense interest and value for IT
personnel, the book as a whole is unable to convince that ICT, by
itself, can stimulate well-rounded equitable development. Further,
even if the Information Age is ushered in a country, will that, by
itself, serve as a magic wand to heal the wounds of the deprived,
which will keep bleeding regardless of where the country is positioned
on the world IT map?"
read complete review at:
http://dawn.com/weekly/books/books12.htm [URL valid till 22 Oct 2005]
http://dawn.com/weekly/books/archive/051016/books12.htm [after 23 Oct 2005]