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Difusion of Free/Opensource Software as Innovation: A Case Study of METU

S. Altay Ozaygen ()
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S. Altay Ozaygen: Middle East Technical University Computer Center

No 510, STPS Working Papers from STPS - Science and Technology Policy Studies Center, Middle East Technical University

Abstract: In this research, the diffusion of free and open source software (FOSS) on desktop PCs at Middle East Technical University in Ankara (METU) is investigated within the framework of the diffusion of innovation theory. This work aims to propose some policies for the migration to FOSS on desktop PCs at METU. The research is conducted through two similar web-based surveys. The first survey was held during 27-28 September 2003 after the examination of exemption for the IS100 course. The second survey was held between 23 March and 24 May 2004 in the whole of the METU campus. This survey was open to all students and academic and non-academic staff with a METU network account. There were 402 participants in the first survey and 1224 in the second. As expected, Microsoft OS rules the desktop PCs within the METU campus. According to the surveys, there is a rather large PC user base which could potentially migrate to GNU/Linux system. In addition to a large amount of data, it has been found out that a migration to FOSS is welcomed greatly by the users if the process is explained on the basis of public economic gains. However personal migration is still difficult if the user is left alone to install any new OS. Activities which will eventually increase the awareness for FOSS at METU, change in the curriculum of the IS100 course, collaboration among METU FOSS users and creation of a software catalog with possible FOSS equivalent for METU courses are some of the propositions which will eventually help the migration process. Furthermore, different innovation-decision models are discussed based on the research findings.

Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2005-04, Revised 2005-04
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