Researchers from Seville -María Dolores Gallego, Salvador Bueno (of Pablo de Olavide University) and Paula Luna (University of Seville)- carried out a report, published in the magazine Technological Forecasting & Social Change, stating that the use of free software in South America and Asia will be around 70% in 2010, with a special relevance in the education sector.
This work, whose aim was to measure the increasing interest in free software, compiles the opinions of 18 experts, both from the academic as well as the professional fields, using the Delphi method. With this process, designed for reliable consensus-building among a panel of experts, experts had to answer two rounds of questions so as to define the future scenario for the implementation and spreading of free software until 2010.
One of the most significant data from this report is that related to the implementation of free software from a geographic point of view. Indeed it shows a higher spreading and implementation in developing continents, with South America and Asia (69,5%) leading the rank, followed by Oceania (61%), Europe (59,5%), North America (49,83%) and finally Africa (34,5%).
According to these data, the so-called first world is behind possibly due to the ‘excessive dependence on the great software development companies, although Europe is currently making an important effort to counteract it', the researchers said.
Another revealing information of the report is the consolidation of use of applications based on free software in the education field with a level close to 80%, while in other sectors, such as the health one (39,75%) or the military one (30%), such spreading is not widespread. In that respect, experts consider the presence of training activities in universities and schools a very important factor in the spreading and implementation of free software.
On the other hand, regarding the spreading of the proposed applications as part of this kind of software for 2010, the study stands out the use of internet servers (80,375%), followed by the problems addressed to the management of networks (75%), operating systems (60,33%), software of office computerization (40,33%) and addressed to games/entertainment (30%).
According to the definition by Proyecto GNU, free software is that which gives freedom to users for executing, copying, distributing, studying, changing and improving this software. This is a freedom that allows to ‘distribute copies, with or without modifications, free or charging an amount for distribution, to anybody and anywhere'.
From Andalusia, the Junta is successfully developing since 2003 the Guadalinex project, a system based on free software, present in 300,000 computers of schools, public libraries and other public centres with internet access, that dependent on the Junta de Andalucía.
In that sense, the Andalusian Innovation Ministry announced during the closing ceremony of the last Free Software International Conference the development of a new version of Guadalinex V5 for use in computers of the Andalusian Administration. The use of this system will increase the saving of 180 millions of euros that currently costs the implementation of Guadalinex in computers.