New Alley for E-Gov Websites: Open Source Platforms

Academic Public Administration Studies

New Alley for E-Gov Websites: Open Source Platforms

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Title: New Alley for E-Gov Websites: Open Source Platforms
Author: Vrabie, Cătălin
Abstract: The last decade has changed the face of electronic world: from Web 2.0 to open source software; from e-(electronic) to m- (mobile) and now to touch. For Web developers is a real challenge to make compatible interfaces to all existing Internet browsers. This proves to be even more expensive than the application itself (Softnet; 2012; SIVECO, 2012). From the point of view of the big software development companies these events are just new challenges because they afford to have many employees with different skills and by that being able to cope with market demands. But what happens with the e-government projects at the local level? Budgets are small, so hiring a company specialized in Web application development is too expensive, this responsibility usually falls on the employees of the IT department (Vrabie, 2011). If we add to this software component the hardware required for hosting the Web page inside, the budgets are already completely exceeded (or obviously they can choose some other cheap solution but whose reliability is very poor – reason for dissatisfaction among citizens). The importance of the Web platforms for interacting with citizens is very well known (Friedman, 2005; Craig; 2006; Baltac, 2011). In this context, this paper aims to examine in terms of costs, the investments in open-source applications in parallel with the use of social networks as used today. The research methodology is using for the first time an adapted version of cost-benefits analysis. Empirical research will be carried out on two platforms of e-gov – one developed in house vs. an open-source solution - used to support a complete interaction with the citizens. Both platforms are in use at this moment by two similar cities in Romania: one for the city of Craiova (the in house solution), and the other one by the city of Galati (the open-source solution).The working hypothesis starts from the fact that open source software is cheaper than those developed in house – but of course this is a question to debate at.
Date: 2013

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