The Status and Potential
of
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
in
Guyana
Donielle Dundas
Department of Computer Science,...
Objectives
• Investigate the state of FOSS in Guyana
• Develop a model for its integration into Education
• Promote and Ev...
Why FOSS?
• Independence – no dependency on particular
technologies or countries [6]
• Development of local ICT industry a...
FOSS in Education Perspectives
• Students and Educators must develop the spirit of freedom of
choice
• FOSS promotes this ...
Literature Review
• Typical computer users are not interested in open source tools merely for their
openness (Lakhan, 2008...
Literature Review
• Morelli (2009), conducted a series of FOSS training exercises, aiming at
fostering its use in Higher e...
Literature Review
• Table 1(van Rooj, 2010)
demonstrates a theoretical
framework in which Technologists
and Educators func...
Key points from Literature
• FOSS has comparable, sometimes better features
than proprietary software
• Low uptake, discon...
Methodology
• Research and Data analysis
• Web Survey - 30 questionnaires distributed, 12 completed
• Interviews - 11
• Ai...
Survey
•Two methods of distribution were chosen:
• Manual/Paper
• Electronic.
•The survey was created on an online host: S...
Interviews
• 11 interviews were conducted
• Data from 10 were used
• Interviewees
• High School teachers
• Lecturers at th...
Software Tests
•The following design was used to test the use of Proprietary and Open Source
software:
1. Separate Partici...
Software Tests cont'd
5. Analyze the results to ascertain the following:
1. Which group performed best?
2. Which group per...
Software Tools Used
•Spreadsheet
• Microsoft Excel
• OpenOffice Calc
• Web Design
• Adobe Dreamweaver
• Kompozer
Survey Results
•Popular FOSS applications mentioned:
• Mozilla Firefox – 12.1%
• Antivirus - 12.1%
• OpenOffice – 9.1%
• L...
Survey Results
• 70% responded that they do not use FOSS
• 70% stated that they preferred to use Proprietary
software over...
Survey Results
• Most (70%) respondents stated that they believe
that there are major differences between the two
types of...
• This raises two questions:
1. Do they not use it because there are major
differences?
2. Do they think that there are ma...
• Does the institution require training?
• 70% require employees to be trained
• This means that software training is a re...
• Participants were also asked how they decide on
which software option to use, when a need arises.
• 55% seek their solut...
• 55.6% state that they would switch
• Given previous results (55% use of propriety), this
is interesting
Survey Results
Interview Results
• Do you use FOSS?
• 70% claimed to use FOSS
• Most institutions surveyed did not claim to use
FOSS, whi...
Figure- Comparison between FOSS
and Proprietary software use
• Barriers to FOSS use:
• Resistance to change
• Compatibility and interoperability problems
• Limited functionality of FO...
• Limited technical expertise in the area
• Contractual obligations
• Access to FOSS
• The cost of switching
• Key feature...
• 9 out of 10 respondents stated that if employees
were pre-trained in using FOSS it would
encourage them and others to us...
• Would you adopt FOSS?
• 75% were willing to adopt or switch to FOSS
Interview Results
• Condition necessary for increased FOSS use
• Increased support
• A larger repository of programs
• Security
• Robust
• A...
Results - Software Experiments
• The best performing group(based on test results) proved
to be those using the Proprietary...
Results cont'd
• Based on user perception of the application the
Group using Open source and Proprietary rated
themselves ...
• Factors contributing to this difference
• It may be that users of the proprietary applications,
having some familiarity ...
Feedback
• 100% of participants who used the FOSS
application indicated that they are likely/highly
likely to use the soft...
Further Discussion of Results
• The Proprietary Applications group were the most
successful, although it was assumed that ...
Conclusion
• The factors that would strongly influence FOSS
usage are more training and technical support for
FOSS.
• Emer...
A Model for Introducing FOSS
Description of Model
• This is a working model for the introduction of
FOSS.
• It is intended that this model be used to i...
Description of Model
• FOSS Introduction – Phase 1 and 2
• P1 – Supply FOSS to Educational facilities; ensure it is instal...
References
Lakhan, S.E. (2008) Open Source Software in Education (online), Accessed: August 3,
2011.
Tomazin, M. & Gradisa...
References
[4] Morelli, R. et al. (2009). Revitalizing computing education Through
free and open source software for human...
THANK YOU!
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State of FOSS in Guyana

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  • Why are we testing this design? We expect FOSS solutions to be as good as or sometimes better than Proprietary.
  • A Process-Oriented Model?
  • State of FOSS in Guyana

    1. 1. The Status and Potential of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Guyana Donielle Dundas Department of Computer Science, University of Guyana donielle.dundas@uog.edu.gy Lenandlar Singh Department of Computer Science, University of Guyana lenandlar.singh@uog.edu.gy CAS Conference November 2 – 4, 2012
    2. 2. Objectives • Investigate the state of FOSS in Guyana • Develop a model for its integration into Education • Promote and Evaluate the use of FOSS in Education
    3. 3. Why FOSS? • Independence – no dependency on particular technologies or countries [6] • Development of local ICT industry and capacity • Foster Innovation - alternative method of creating and dissemination knowledge • Cost Savings –initial acquisition + licenses + less expensive hardware (TCO) • An Approach to manage Piracy
    4. 4. FOSS in Education Perspectives • Students and Educators must develop the spirit of freedom of choice • FOSS promotes this freedom • FOSS helps to foster creativity – ‘make and break’ software like toys, develop problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, software engineering skills (Morelli et al, 2004) {constructivist} • Develop Spirit of Community , sharing, exchanging ideas, etc {connectivist} • Development of Science – Development of FOSS is Analogous to the development of science [5]
    5. 5. Literature Review • Typical computer users are not interested in open source tools merely for their openness (Lakhan, 2008). • They prefer functionality and support. • Hence, for FOSS to be a viable solution in competition with proprietary software there must be advocacy programs and institutional policies that promote its use. • In Slovenia Tomazin and Gradisar (2007) conducted a survey on the use of OSS in primary and secondary schools. They were investigating the minimal use of OSS, despite its many advantages to the education sector. • Participants were involved in using FOSS such as OpenOffice and the Linux OS. • FOSS is not being used to its full potential in education, despite its noted similarity with proprietary software. While OSS was being used on both student and institution computers, it was not the preferred option. They listed a number of reasons for this, the most significant being poor education in FOSS use.
    6. 6. Literature Review • Morelli (2009), conducted a series of FOSS training exercises, aiming at fostering its use in Higher education institutions. • The route here was not to replace commercial applications, but to integrate it into this environment by demonstrating how it is done, its many advantages and breaking down negative perceptions about its use. • Van Rooij (2010) implies that higher education may still be undecided in their choice of software since there is a large disparity between preferences for proprietary software versus FOSS. • For FOSS to be accepted by wider institutions, especially in the education sector, there is a need for data that demonstrates learning pedagogies that can be applied to OSS and the assessment of its use. • This may explain to a large extent why FOSS has not been accepted and used as it could be in education.
    7. 7. Literature Review • Table 1(van Rooj, 2010) demonstrates a theoretical framework in which Technologists and Educators function, when it comes to what the want out of Open source software • van Rooj (2010) proposed that a better understanding be gained on what is needed on each side from which we will able to develop and implement a better model for using OSS • Bridging this gap will result in a greater number of technical facilitators sourcing software from the Open source community
    8. 8. Key points from Literature • FOSS has comparable, sometimes better features than proprietary software • Low uptake, disconnect between users, technologist, educators and policy makers • Users are not keen to change, not always aware of capability of FOSS • Need for strategies, models and pedagogies to effectively advance the use of FOSS in education
    9. 9. Methodology • Research and Data analysis • Web Survey - 30 questionnaires distributed, 12 completed • Interviews - 11 • Aim - understanding how FOSS is used; if and why it is underutilized • Software Training Sessions. • locating participants • conducting sessions in a classroom setting • assessing the participants to determine levels of knowledge retention and software acceptance • Aim - evaluate FOSS usage and develop a model to follow in integrating its use with proprietary applications
    10. 10. Survey •Two methods of distribution were chosen: • Manual/Paper • Electronic. •The survey was created on an online host: SurveyMonkey.com •Participants were given a choice of filling in a paper copy or completing the survey online. •The online survey was the preferred method, but there are still issues with some organizations not having Internet connections, or simply preferring to use a paper survey
    11. 11. Interviews • 11 interviews were conducted • Data from 10 were used • Interviewees • High School teachers • Lecturers at the local university • Network Technician • A Software Consultant • and a Software Advocate
    12. 12. Software Tests •The following design was used to test the use of Proprietary and Open Source software: 1. Separate Participants randomly into three Practice Groups : 1. Group 1 – Participants to be trained only in Proprietary Solution 2. Group 2 – Participants to be trained only in FOSS solution 3. Group 3 - Participants to receive training in both Proprietary software and FOSS 2. Introduce Participants to Software Functionality 3.Administer practice sheets to all students 4. Administer the same Assessment to all participants
    13. 13. Software Tests cont'd 5. Analyze the results to ascertain the following: 1. Which group performed best? 2. Which group performed worst? 3. Is there any difference between those who were trained using FOSS and those trained using Proprietary software? 4. How did Group 3 participants perform? 5. Was there any other significant results? 6. Did participants feel comfortable using OSS? 7. Did participants in Groups 1 and 2 master the same skills and retain the same knowledge? 8. Were there any difficulties encountered in teaching the use of FOSS?
    14. 14. Software Tools Used •Spreadsheet • Microsoft Excel • OpenOffice Calc • Web Design • Adobe Dreamweaver • Kompozer
    15. 15. Survey Results •Popular FOSS applications mentioned: • Mozilla Firefox – 12.1% • Antivirus - 12.1% • OpenOffice – 9.1% • Linux – 9.1% • MySQL – 9.1% • Gimp – 9.1% • Drupal – 6.1%
    16. 16. Survey Results • 70% responded that they do not use FOSS • 70% stated that they preferred to use Proprietary software over FOSS. • Respondents stated that proprietary software is: • Easier to configure • Better suits their business needs than FOSS
    17. 17. Survey Results • Most (70%) respondents stated that they believe that there are major differences between the two types of software. • 30% stated that there are no major differences. • However, this response is interesting because 80% responded that they do not use FOSS.
    18. 18. • This raises two questions: 1. Do they not use it because there are major differences? 2. Do they think that there are major differences and so have not tried FOSS at all? Survey Results
    19. 19. • Does the institution require training? • 70% require employees to be trained • This means that software training is a requirement for most businesses. • Inference - Employees, etc., can be trained to use any type of application. Survey Results
    20. 20. • Participants were also asked how they decide on which software option to use, when a need arises. • 55% seek their solution in proprietary software • 33% seek FOSS solutions Survey Results
    21. 21. • 55.6% state that they would switch • Given previous results (55% use of propriety), this is interesting Survey Results
    22. 22. Interview Results • Do you use FOSS? • 70% claimed to use FOSS • Most institutions surveyed did not claim to use FOSS, while IT professionals personally use it to supplement their activities. • Trend - in the academic community and in other IT spheres, OSS is more utilized than in the business sector.
    23. 23. Figure- Comparison between FOSS and Proprietary software use
    24. 24. • Barriers to FOSS use: • Resistance to change • Compatibility and interoperability problems • Limited functionality of FOSS when compared to Proprietary software • Lack of skills in using FOSS • The misconception that free means quality is compromised Interview Results
    25. 25. • Limited technical expertise in the area • Contractual obligations • Access to FOSS • The cost of switching • Key features not working or malfunctioning • Ignorance and lack of support Barriers cont'd
    26. 26. • 9 out of 10 respondents stated that if employees were pre-trained in using FOSS it would encourage them and others to use it more • This result is encouraging since the next phase of the project requires such software training in FOSS Interview Results
    27. 27. • Would you adopt FOSS? • 75% were willing to adopt or switch to FOSS Interview Results
    28. 28. • Condition necessary for increased FOSS use • Increased support • A larger repository of programs • Security • Robust • Access • Awareness that: • FOSS is free • FOSS reduces software piracy • Interview Results
    29. 29. Results - Software Experiments • The best performing group(based on test results) proved to be those using the Proprietary applications: • Adobe Dreamweaver • Microsoft Excel • The next best performing group was those using both the FOSS application [OpenOffice Calc and Kompozer] and the proprietary application [Excel and Dreamweaver] • The groups using FOSS alone performed the weakest [Calc and Kompozer]
    30. 30. Results cont'd • Based on user perception of the application the Group using Open source and Proprietary rated themselves significantly higher on skills after the training was completed. • Participants using Proprietary applications did not consider their skill improvement as significantly higher after the training
    31. 31. • Factors contributing to this difference • It may be that users of the proprietary applications, having some familiarity with it and faced with the sheer number of features that they are aware of it possessing, rated themselves lower since they did not learn all the features. • It may also be that the FOSS users performed better because the application was simpler and easier to navigate around • This, however, was not demonstrated in the assessment, since they performed the weakest Results cont'd
    32. 32. Feedback • 100% of participants who used the FOSS application indicated that they are likely/highly likely to use the software again although they scored lowest • Reason suggested - user interface is simple, friendly and efficient.
    33. 33. Further Discussion of Results • The Proprietary Applications group were the most successful, although it was assumed that those using both applications would perform better • Participants using the OSS performed better than was expected, although not better than those trained using the blended approach - the gap was narrow
    34. 34. Conclusion • The factors that would strongly influence FOSS usage are more training and technical support for FOSS. • Emerging evidence shows that FOSS can be introduced into mainstream education but it appears best to do so in combination with Proprietary
    35. 35. A Model for Introducing FOSS
    36. 36. Description of Model • This is a working model for the introduction of FOSS. • It is intended that this model be used to introduce FOSS into educational institutions and eventually businesses and offices in Guyana
    37. 37. Description of Model • FOSS Introduction – Phase 1 and 2 • P1 – Supply FOSS to Educational facilities; ensure it is installed and running • P2 – Train teachers to use FOSS; blend training in both types of software • FOSS Proliferation – Phase 3 • Information dissemination and Training at the University - educate in FOSS use and discourage use of pirated proprietary software • Target University students; encourage the use of FOSS tools to create software; launch OSS software engineering projects; integrate FOSS into the University curriculum • FOSS Sustenance – Phase 4 • Continued maintenance for Hardware, Software • Continued training for Educators, Policy improvement
    38. 38. References Lakhan, S.E. (2008) Open Source Software in Education (online), Accessed: August 3, 2011. Tomazin, M. & Gradisar, M. (2007) Introducing Open Source Software into Slovenian Primary and Secondary Schools, Informatica (03505596), Vol. 31 Issue 1, p61-70, 10p, (Accessed: October 6, 2011) van Rooij, S. W. (2007) Perceptions of Open Source versus Commercial Software: Is Higher Education Still on the Fence?, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, v39 n4 p433-453 Sum 2007. 21 pp.
    39. 39. References [4] Morelli, R. et al. (2009). Revitalizing computing education Through free and open source software for humanity. Communications of the ACM, 52(8), 67- 75. [5] Pfaffman, P. (2008). Transforming High School Classrooms with Free/Open Source Software: It’s Time for an Open Source Software Revolution. The High School Journal, 25-31 [6] Garcia-Perez, A. et al. (2006). Imperatives of Free and Open Source Software in Cuban Development. formation Technologies and International Development, 3(1), 1- 17 [7] Singh, L., & Williams, M. (2011). Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) in Educataion: A Guyana Perspective. Presented at the First Caribbean Educators Network (CEN) Online Conference, August 8 – 13, 2011.
    40. 40. THANK YOU!

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