1.4 Chapter presentation

Part I - Theory

Chapter 2 – Information System Theory: This chapter is a general introduction to information systems theories relevant to my research. This introduction is based on reviewing literature from the field of IS research. I start out by discussing different perspectives on IS and explain my chosen perspective. I explain the Scandinavian approach to systems design called participatory design, which is important to the design of DHIS. Last I review literature about IS development in developing countries.

Part II - Method

Chapter 3 – Methods: This chapter explains the methodologies and methods I have used in my research. I give a quite thorough explanation of action research. Action research is my overarching research methodology. The role I played in the two case studies are explained, and the time span and general context of the case studies are explained. I explain the concrete methods I use for my research. Last I make an assessment of the limitations of my research approach.

Part III - Background

Chapter 4 – Short History of Open Source: To explore the structuration of FLOSS I will give an overview of important movements, organisations and events in the history off FLOSS. I will start from the early history of computers and explain how the practice of sharing source code have replicated through time and space into our resent times. This is important for the understanding of the FLOSS community.

Chapter 5 – FLOSS - How does it work?: In this chapter I will explore the current social system of FLOSS. I will explain philosophies and values common in the FLOSS community. I will explain important development practices used by FLOSS developers and FLOSS projects. I will look into the question of motivation. What motivates people do use their time, energy and skill on contributing to FLOSS software, when they are not compensated for their time? I will look into governance structures within the FLOSS community, and I will look into how FLOSS projects are managed. Both proprietary software and FLOSS software come under the copyright regime, the difference is in the license under which the software is distributed. I will present the various types of FLOSS licenses. Then I will make an assessment of the challenges I see in the FLOSS approach to the development and distribution of software. Last I will explore FLOSS in the context of developing countries.

Chapter 6 – Health Information Systems Programme: This chapter introduces the HISP research and development network. The historical background to HISP is given and the basic philosophies of HISP are explained. I explains the most important methods and processes promoted by HISP, and how this methods and processes are inscribed into the DHIS software.

Part IV - Empirical Study

Chapter 7 – The Ethiopian Context: This chapter introduces the Ethiopian context. I give some basic demographics about the country, and I make a brief outline of the Ethiopian history and the current political system. Last I will explore ICT in Ethiopia. I will look into the current Internet infrastructure and the political plans to improve this infrastructure. The Ethiopian government has grand plans for the use of ICT in Ethiopia, this plans will be explained in this chapter. This chapter is meant to give an overview of the current state of affairs in Ethiopia.

Chapter 8 – The HISP project in Ethiopia: This chapter is based on my case study in Tigray. I introducing the Tigray context by giving some basic demographics about Tigray. I move on by introducing the team I worked with in Tigray, and our dealings with the Tigray health bureau. The Tigray health bureau already used a health statistical system so I will explain this system. Then I will describe our efforts to configure DHIS for the local context in Tigray, and the challenges we met in doing this. I will explain our relations with the rest of the HISP network. Last I will describe the cultural challenges I met while working in Ethiopia.

Chapter 9 – FLOSS in Ethiopia: I start this chapter by making an economic argument for Ethiopia to use FLOSS software. This is related to the TRIPS agreement which requires the signers to ratify laws protecting intellectual property rights. Then I look into the political support of FLOSS in Ethiopia, and move on to the institutional support given by FLOSS organisations. Then I look into the participation of Ethiopia in the global FLOSS community. Last I make an assessment of the use of FLOSS by analysing the software used on web servers in Ethiopia.

Chapter 10 – Development of a Plug-in Framework for DHIS 2: This chapter is based on the DHIS 2 case study. First I explain the reasons why a reimplementation of DHIS was necessary. Then I explain how the DHIS 2 development is organised according to a community model. After that I move on to explain my role in the DHIS 2 project, my motivations to participate and my approach for making a plug-in framework for DHIS 2. Last I explain my communication with the other DHIS 2 developers, and my communication with other FLOSS project I depended on for creating a throwaway prototype of a plug-in framework.

Part V - Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 11 – Discussion: In this chapter I discuss the findings from my research into FLOSS, HISP, Ethiopia and developing countries. I discuss FLOSS related to Ethiopia and I discuss FLOSS related to HISP. Last I discuss more general theoretical considerations.

Chapter 12 – Conclusion: In this chapter I make an assessment of the validity of my research. I write some concluding remarks and suggest some avenues for future research.