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The European Union has approved a €660,000 grant for FLOSSWorld, a two-year project to promote FLOSS collaboration involving 17 partners in 12 countries. The funding is part of the EU's 6th Framework Research programme.

FLOSS stands for Free/Libre/Open Source Software, and the project aims to support research and policy development within the OSS community on a global level. This, the organisers say, will pave the way for better collaboration between the EU and developing countries on open source projects.

Organisers argue that while free or open source software is one of the best examples of collaborative work in the world, there is still very little empirical data on the impact of such work, its use and development. The work that was begun under the EU's 5th Framework (FP5) has helped to understand how FLOSS is developed and used in Europe, but now a more global approach is needed.

FLOSSWorld is structured around three main research tracks: Human capacity building, looking at the economic impact of FLOSS communities; Software Development, and how approaches vary by region and country; and finally e-Government Policy, loowking at how this varies from country to country.

The project is led by the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in the Netherlands and involves researchers from MERIT and the United Nation University Institute for New Technologies (UNU-INTECH). It will itself be a collaboration between major European research institutes and leading public research institutes in the target countries Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, India, Malaysia and South Africa.

More about the FLOSSWorld project is here. ®

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