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Journal cover: info

info

ISSN: 1463-6697

Online from: 1999

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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From underground cult to public policy for citizens: democratizing an open source artifact at a policy level in South Korea


Document Information:
Title:From underground cult to public policy for citizens: democratizing an open source artifact at a policy level in South Korea
Author(s):Kwang-Suk Lee, (Doctoral Student in the Department of Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.)
Citation:Kwang-Suk Lee, (2006) "From underground cult to public policy for citizens: democratizing an open source artifact at a policy level in South Korea", info, Vol. 8 Iss: 1, pp.4 - 15
Keywords:Computer software, Open systems, Public policy, South Korea
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14636690610643249 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

PurposeThis study aims to explore the feasible use of free and open source software (FOSS) at a policy level in South Korea, which is reacting against being locked into only one technology company, Microsoft.

Design/methodology/approachBased on participatory democratic theory, this paper suggests that the normative role of the state is as a public mediator in the development of an information technology (IT) infrastructure, encouraging greater freedom of choice and the establishment of an electronic environment – such as the community-based use of software technology – for citizens to use easily and freely.

FindingsSouth Korean policymakers have explored FOSS as a kind of a political metaphor: at the international level, FOSS offers a rare opportunity to free the country from its technological dependence on transnational software vendors. At the national level, it is an engine for technological innovation and for market competition. However, the market or business paradigm has dominated most discussions of FOSS in Korea. As a result, the economic paradigm of FOSS is vulnerable and could easily surrender to the proprietary logic of the software market.

Originality/valueThis study describes how the Korean government must maximize the societal benefits of FOSS within the public sector in order to reduce reliance on proprietary software and open the developmental path to alternative technologies.



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