In the context of the developing world, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The absence of strategic approaches for adopting FOSS is one possible explanation for the many challenges faced by developing countries. In particular, there is evidence that this problem pervades the education sector even though the education system provides an opportune learning space for the early exposure of the future workforce to FOSS. It is therefore strategically important to identify opportunities within the education system to introduce FOSS. In this study, we propose a user-centric model for the introduction of FOSS in the education sector in Guyana. We develop this model using factors extracted from technology acceptance and adoption models, and preliminary data from interviews conducted with Information Technology users and educators in Guyana. Our model comprises three distinct stages and four phases: FOSS Introduction, FOSS Proliferation, and FOSS Sustenance. The FOSS Introduction phase addresses FOSS distribution and training. The FOSS Proliferation Phase addresses strategies for the promotion of FOSS, and the FOSS Sustenance phase focuses on policy development. These stages are iterative but they provide feedback experiences into previous stages for further iteration. We noted promising results from a preliminary evaluation of Stage 1 of our model.
Key words: FOSS, Open Source Software, Proprietary Software, FOSS in Education