This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume which is about the potential impact of open source software on economic development. This volume examines whether certain types of computer software promote the growth of a software industry or the growth of a nation leads it turn to a given set of software. It also addresses several relevant questions. These include the differences between software and other technologies when it comes to promoting economic development, motivations for contributing to open source projects, management of the trade-offs between proprietary and open source projects and government policies required to ensure fair competition between proprietary and open source software.
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