The IOSN is producing a series of primers on Free/Open Source Software (FOSS). The primers serve as introductory documents to FOSS in general, as well as covering particular topic areas in greater detail. Their purpose is to raise FOSS awareness, particularly among policy-makers, practitioners and educators. The following are summaries of the primers have been published, or are currently being produced.
FOSS: General Introduction
© UNDP-APDIP, 2004, 60 pages
This primer introduces Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), its philosophy, history and benefits/disadvantages of FOSS, including developing-country specific issues. It also contains a brief survey of FOSS initiatives in various governments around the world, legislative or otherwise. Other topics such as localization, licensing and Linux are briefly covered. It is meant as a basic introductory document that can be handed to a person when asked, "what is Free/Open Source?"
FOSS: Government Policy
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2004, 31 pages
Examines the issues related to government policies on FOSS. In particular, it focuses on the motivations behind the various FOSS policies in the world today, the process by which they are formulated and suggests implementation strategies that can be utilized.
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2005, 58 pages
Starts off with a general introduction of localization, its benefits and current localization efforts. Delves into some of the details of what is involved technically in localizing software, the standards involved (Unicode, OpenType fonts, etc). Concludes with details of what governments can do to encourage localization efforts and how technical individuals can get involved.
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2004, 40 pages
This primer covers the use of FOSS from schools to universities. It provides a brief overview of how it can help in setting up the IT infrastructure and administration of educational institutions and considers software (mainly proprietary) which is now used as the basis for IT curricula and alternative FOSS which is available.
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2006, 29 pages
A fairly short summary of licensing issues involved with using the different FOSS licenses, primarily the GNU GPL license. Offers several scenarios, and proposes a framework for licensing of government sponsored software. Addresses common questions and misconceptions regarding licensing issues.
FOSS: Open Standards
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2006, 62 pages
Many public institutions like government agencies and civil society
organization are obliged by new legislation to place information in the
public domain. Unfortunately many of them are using proprietary format
which require members of the public to purchase or illegally copy
expensive proprietary software. It will provide a rationale for the use
of Open Standards in Government. Also in this primer is an overview of
standards setting bodies and FOSS software and tools to create new
content as well as migrate to solutions based on Open Standards. There
will be sample tenders for ICT projects.
FOSS: Network Infrastructure and Security
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2007, 52 pages
FOSS server applications are considered more reliable and perform better than their proprietary equivalents and their use is growing in setting up network infrastructure. This primer will include reasons for this growth, sample software used and case studies of FOSS implementations for network infrastructure.
FOSS: Open Content
Author: Lawrence Liang
© UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2007, 54 pages
FOSS Open Content
Feedback to IOSN Primers
People are encouraged to give feedback and comments for the primers before and after publication. Feedback and comment on the primers in general can be added below.
Feedback in the form of letters to IOSN are also published such as those recieved by the Business Software Alliance.