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MODULE 1: Introduction to Emerging FOSS Business Models


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Brief Introduction

This module sets the scene for the “Advanced African FOSS Business Models for ICT-based SMEs” by providing a basic introduction to the phenomenon that has come to be known as FOSS. The concept of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is becoming more mainstream to the public and we are seeing increased business adoption which is generating higher levels of revenue. FOSS is no longer a marginal concept but rather it has become good business. The FLOSSimpact study on FOSS adoption in the European Union's software industry predicts that FOSS related services could reach a 32% share of all IT services by 2010, and the FOSS-related share of the economy could reach 4% of European GDP by 2010. This module therefore sets the scene for exploring various FOSS concepts ranging from terms and definitions, the organizational structures of projects and communities, to the global business impact of FOSS which could form the basis for understanding and constructing business models within the African context.

As an introductory module, the sub-modules herein cover FOSS concepts and principles which may be seen as prerequisites for building a sustainable ICT business based on FOSS. These concepts are important in engaging and understanding the current status on how certain companies are already profiting from the benefits inherent in FOSS, as demonstrated in the “Case Studies” in Module 2. Understanding the impact, historical perspectives, FOSS development model (s), and community dynamics as shown in sub-modules 1.1.3 – 1.1.7 in this module, is the first step in instilling and nurturing the appropriate communication skills and techniques, discussed in Module 3, individuals will need to set up and run a successful FOSS businesses. However, to run a successful business, one needs to know how to run a business [Module 4] and have certain context specific business skills [Module 5]. In this sense this module provides the FOSS specific background needed and further provides the global view of FOSS as well as FOSS business in developing countries in module 1.2. For FOSS trainers [Module 6], both basic concepts in the entire module and leading FOSS resources in sub-module 1.4 are important elements in training individuals and businesses interested in either making business based on FOSS or just those interested in the technical and research aspect of FOSS.

Overall Objectives

A participant who completes the modules in this module should have basic understanding of FOSS and be able to build or grow a business with the help of some of the FOSS business concepts in Modules 4 and 5 and lessons to be learnt from the case studies in Module 2. The learning objectives for this Module are as follows:

  1. Gain a basic understanding of FOSS.

  2. Understand and appreciate how FOSS projects and communities work

  3. Develop confidence in their ability to run FOSS business.

  4. Understand the changing nature of FOSS business.

  5. Understand the types of existing and emerging FOSS business models.

  6. Be able to identify the potential local markets for FOSS business.

  7. Gain knowledge of the leading online resources to keep current in the FOSS eco-space.

  8. Identify the FOSS licensing models

Sessions and Timetable

The entire content in this Module is estimated to be delivered in 1 day, with some variations within the modules. For instructional purpose, the content of this Module can be delivered as proposed in the summarized table below.



9:00 – 10:30

  • Introduction to Module 1

  • General FOSS Concepts

10:30 - 10:45

Coffee Break

10:45 - 12:15

  • FOSS Business Globally

  • Evolution of FOSS Communities and Software Markets

12:15- 13:30


13:30 - 15:00

  • Evolution of FOSS Communities and Software Markets-Contd

  • Multimedia listening comprehension

  • Leading FOSS resources for keeping current on the FOSS eco-space

15:00 – 15:15

Coffee Break

15:15 - 17:00

  • FOSS Licence

  • End of Module Evaluation

Module 1 contains the following sub-modules:

Module 1.1 General FOSS Concept.

Module 1.2 FOSS Business Globally.

Module 1.3 Evolution of FOSS Communities and Software Markets. Read more...

Module 1.4 FOSS Licensing Models.

Module 1.5 Leading FOSS resources for keeping current on the FOSS eco-space. Read more...

Module 1.6 Multimedia.

References.

New! Module 1 Assignments and Answers.