How would anthropologist approach the question "why don't more organizations use more open source technology"?

One suggestion I can offer as someone who has seen this effect in a different domain would be looking into organizational decision-making mechanisms involved.

In my case it was the use of SAS for analytics in certain organizations like pharma companies, old enterprises etc. It is highly unwieldy, expensive, and overall underperforms open source tools in all aspects. When I would ask people with decision making power regarding which tool to use, their justification would be along the lines of liability e.g. "Who guarantees accuracy of computations? What would we do in case some bug lead to X business function failing? Who would support us? Who can we sue for damages in case the said failure led to financial loss?"

In a modern tech company adopting open-source tools for example, decision-makers have high tech savvy or at least experts in the organization have a good degree of leverage in decision-making. This means the group is more easily convinced to try and adopt a tool they propose, dedicate resources to test it out, pay for the adoption overhead, see the value and all that.

Contrast to old-school businesses in different industries where decision makers have average or less tech literacy, experts have little say in decisions made if the organization employs any. They want to see something easy like a brand guarantee, and will not have the time or knowledge to listen to some detailed explanation of how what seems like code written by a bunch of anonymous people online and posted publicly like some pirate movie download.

So, in your case, authoritarian government civil orgs have all decision making vested on apparatchiks of some sort. You should start by investigating what they value in the tools they use in their organizations?

/r/AskAnthropology Thread