Open Source Gaining Ground in Southeast Asia

Read some posts, news items and press releases today about the growing adoption of open source in Southeast Asia:

In Malaysia, open source software adoption is set to experience a steady growth in Malaysia, this accoding to Daniel Ng (an affable and lively guy I met at a partner conference), Director for Marketing at Red Hat Asia Pacific said. He was there recently with Michael Tiemann (whom I also met at a conference), Vice President for Global Open Source Affairs from Red Hat.

In a statement to the media, Tiemann said that at the enterprise level, open source solutions allowed companies to modify and build solutions that best suit their needs. “Proprietary solutions may offer the same features but they don’t give users the licence to modify the source codes to fit their needs,” he said. He also said the Malaysian government has taken open-source technology seriously by setting up the Open-Source Competency Centre, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Administration and Modernisation Planning Unit (Mampu).

Ng added that the current financial crisis is also a blessing in disguise for Red Hat and other open-source players.”A little more than six months ago some companies we approached shied away from open-source, but now the same companies are coming back to us to weigh the possibilities of running open-source solutions,” Ng said.

The Malaysian government it seems has grand plans for open source it seems, intending to grow 15 global open source corporations within two years. But this might pale to the ambitions of Vietnam.

From news reports, the Vietnamese government wants to use 100% open source in government by 2010. IT divisions at government agencies comprise the IT departments of ministries and government agencies, provincial and municipal Departments of Information and Communications. Open source software products are OpenOffice, email software for servers of Mozilla ThunderBird, Mozilla FireFox web browser and the Vietnamese typing software Unikey.

This is in sharp contrast to the Philippines, where a bill on the use of open source in government has been languishing in Congress for more than two years.

But the trend clearly shows adoption of open source growing in the region. This seems consistent with market research firm Gartner’s own survey which says that 85 percent of companies all over the world are using open-source software. This helps companies but also the economies of these countries as well, helping the local software industry improve its competitiveness, develop local talent, and compete on a global scale by lowering barriers to distribution and adoption.

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