The purpose of this dossier is to analyse the most important criteria taken into account by the public administrations of thirty countries when adopting or choosing open source software, within the limitations inherent in this type of study.
It is also intended to be a valuable contribution to the future of the open source software sector, due mainly to the fact that it is the result of collaboration between members of many public administrations worldwide. IT professionals from four continents have collaborated with the CENATIC observatory, and their opinions and suggestions have served as the basis for the conclusions set out in this dossier.
The first stage of the study, a review of the literature published by CENATIC observatory, has identified eight different main criteria taken into account by public administrations when choosing to use open source software.
Open standards and open development process
Vendor independence and flexibility.. Domestic economy.
Low total cost of ownership
Availability of applications
Access to source code
Political decisions and initiatives
CENATIC has created an evaluation sheet based on these 8 main criteria that takes into account the weight assigned to each of them, based on the opinions of the participants. The weight given to each criterion ranges from 1 to 8, with 1 representing the least importance and 8 the greatest importance.
Figure 1: Evaluation sheet. Source: ONSFA. 2011
Data was collected by means of an evaluation sheet sent to related professionals of the public administration in the participating countries. The objective was to obtain first-hand information on the criteria considered when adopting open source software, based on the opinions of these professionals.
The adoption criteria for open source software are quite different and are used for different purposes depending on the country. These criteria, identified by CENATIC for use by the public administrations when making decisions to adopt open source software and the obtained results, are described in more detail below.