Imperatives of Free and Open Source Software in Cuban Development

Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Dr. Amit Mitra, Alfredo Somoza-Moreno

Abstract


Many developing countries around the world are frequently confronted with a dual challenge of simultaneously developing IT infrastructure and implementing software solutions. Some countries have successfully created extensive information technology infrastructures, yet software use continues to be reliant on pirated sources. The experiences of licensing regulation violations and increasing virus attacks indicate that part of the problem is a consequence of dependencies created by the use of proprietary software within resource scarce economies. Recent growth in the use of free and open-source software (FOSS) by various public- and private-sector agencies suggests an alternative path to software self-sufficiency for a resource-scarce country like Cuba. There is, however, an interesting background to current software use within Cuba that makes it unique among several less-developed countries. Apart from the well-known advantages, FOSS use could be essential to shape the future scenario of Cuba. The present paper first delineates some of the Cuban background, basically characterized by lack of freedom in technology ownership and access to external information. The potential of FOSS use within existing conditions in Cuba is then analyzed. Finally, conclusions are provided on the basis of a survey carried out in Cuba, arguing that there needs to be stronger political will to reduce gaps between goals and implementation reality to achieve intrinsic advantages of FOSS use successfully

Keywords


Developing Countries; IT Infrastructure; Software Solutions; Regulation; Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS); Cuba

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