Date of Award

8-21-2006

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Ted Friedman

Abstract

My dissertation studies the political and corporate reasons behind the adoption of free and open source software technologies in a developing nation, India. This study also attempts to understand the significance of these grassroots technologies for India as it plays on a global arena. How do “free” and “open source software” movements develop in an Indian context and bridge digital divides? The core of the first chapter will establish the questions investigated in this study as well as the significance of this interdisciplinary project for India. It is also important to understand that the varied roles of governments and corporations supporting a new technology, are crucial to its success. Chapter 2 studies the motivations of the Indian government towards adopting free and open-source technologies. The motivations of the industry are different from governmental motivations. In chapter 3, the landscape of Indian software industry players and their reasons for supporting these software technologies are discussed. How do governmental and industry motivations translate? Are they successful and do they live up to their hype? Chapter 4 distinguishes between the hype and reality of the software landscape in India and presents a larger picture of the controversies surrounding software development, in general. A concluding essay of chapter 5 couches the entire project within the process of globalization, speculating its significance for sustainable global information flows.

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