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Software development is expensive, complex and in most cases - continuous. Applications need to adapt to changing environments and user requirements. The traditional ‘commercial’ licence model meets the continuous development challenge by charging upfront for purchase, and then subsequent licence costs, usually annually, to cover support and updates.
But when considering a donor funded software project as part of a healthcare program in the developing world, this traditional model presents a problem. When a project is ‘donor funded’ there is usually a defined budget and therefore a limited time frame over which the project is funded. But what happens afterwards? What happens to benefits and gains made?
The best projects are those with a lasting impact, where long term or even permanent positive changes are made. It is therefore easy to see why a traditional commercial software model is often at odds with this objective.
At SfHF we are focused on tackling this problem by developing, supporting and advocating open source and free to use software.