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Free software seen as way to resolve many of Lebanon�s economic woes

Dec 31, 2010, 11:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tamara Qiblawi)

"As some try to release Lebanon's government from the clutches of political paralysis so it can start tackling economic policy, a small but mighty group of advocates say the solution to many of the country's economic and social woes lies in free technologies.

"Free Open Source Software (FOSS) may seem to many to be more of a catchphrase than a reality, since it is not immediately clear why anyone would produce software without charging a price. But around the world, it is a widespread enterprise that saves consumers $60 billion a year in software expenditure, according to a 2008 study by Boston-based Information Technologies consulting group, Standish Group. It is also highly profitable, many proponents of free open source technologies have argued.

"In the Arab world, the phenomenon is difficult to observe, but advocates and users of FOSS believe it is slowly gaining ground. Oftentimes, without realizing it, FOSS is a large part of the Arab computer user's daily regiment. Mozilla Firefox, Facebook and Twitter are just some of the applications that are largely powered by FOSS."

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