Negotiating open source software adoption in the UK public sector

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Abstract

Drawing on two case studies in the UK public sector our qualitative study explains how and why open source software has seen such a mixed response. Our narratives indicate that for both cases there was strong goodwill towards open source yet the trajectories of implementation differed widely. Drawing upon ideas of change(ing), mutability and materiality we unpack the process of adoption. The study shows that open source software has certain facets; code, community, coordination mechanisms, license and documentation. Each facet is not stable; indeed, it is changing and mutable. This creates possibilities, potential but also recalcitrance, and barriers. The interesting point of departure of our study is how open source software — a much touted transparent and open phenomenon — is by its nuanced and layered mutability able to make the process and practices surrounding it less visible. It concludes with clear policy recommendations developing from this research that could help to make open source adoption more sustainable in the public sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
JournalGOVERNMENT INFORMATION QUARTERLY
Volume33
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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