The topic of this essay is if and how the use of information and communications technologies, (ICT), as well as the use of free open source software, can change the prerequisites of third world countries. Many people consider that the Internet is not only access to unlimited information, but also has a potential to make a difference in the development of human rights and democracy. Information and communications technologies, free software, and open source have a big role to play in this context. The importance of access is an issue: one tends to focus mainly on the physical access, which is only a small part in this connection. There are other types of limitations to access: the technology should be appropriate, be affordable, and a political will to provide all citizens with equal possibilities should support the introduction of the technologies. Who has access to these new technologies? Who does not have such access? Finally, we discuss a field study of an open source project in Namibia and their conclusions.


access digital divide ICT free open source software developing countries 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Krakowski
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economics and Commercial LawUniversity of GothenburgSweden

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