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[ossig] Revaluing Deployment of Open Source Software


Revaluing Deployment Of Open Source Software

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 (Bernama) -- The government's policy of open
source software (OSS) preference that excludes commercial software from
consideration may also exclude 85 percent of the information technology
(IT) channel business activity, according to a report.

The report by the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC), citing the
European software market, said the initial annual loss in business
opportunity was estimated to be around US$49 billion.

"Any decline in government spending would have ripple effects on the
economy that might be two to three times greater than the initial direct
effect," said ISC in the report which was undertaken in collaboration
with Nathan Associates Inc, an international economic consulting firm.

Taking this into consideration, the Association of the Computer and
Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom), Wednesday called on the
government to revalue the OSS deployment in its agencies and move
towards procurement neutrality.

The government should be more transparent in the use of OSS while
protecting the standard software assets, said Pikom chairman Lee Boon

Speaking to reporters concerning the views of software company Microsoft
and industry associations on the government's OSS masterplan, Lee said
such an effort was crucial nowadays to avoid the possibility of losing

"The government's objective is to ensure the country become an OSS
developer in future instead of merely a user like now. But there are
certain points that government must consider in deciding on the use of
OSS instead of standard software assets like Microsoft's products," he

"The government must be fully transparent in the tendering process. They
must make their requirements very clear and bidders must be fully
apprised of the functionality and cost benchmarks that the government
will use in deciding on a software asset," he added.

According to Lee, the bidders must be required to provide detailed data
on performance characteristics and cost elements that go beyond the
purchase price.

As such, he said, it would provide government agencies an opportunity to
choose the best software to get their computing work done effectively.

The OSS masterplan, introduced last year, described the overall
framework for implementing OSS in the public sector and served as a
blueprint to achieve the vision of creating and enhancing the value from
using OSS in providing efficient and quality services.

Under the masterplan, the government hoped to make all its chief
information officers and IT personnel OSS-literate at the awareness
level by the end of this year.

Plans are also in the pipeline to ensure that 60 percent of the
government IT personnel are OSS-trained and 10 percent OSS-certified
while 20 percent of the teachers in charge of IT labs in schools are

The use of OSS to replace existing computer software for all IT
operations was with the aim of helping to reduce costs because OSS does
not involve licensing fees, the masterplan stated.

As software cost becomes cheaper, usage of IT applications could be
extended to all levels of society, thus promoting the drive towards the
creation of a knowledge-based society, it added.

According to the masterplan, the development of OSS will provide vast
opportunities for the government to leverage its technology for the
benefits of IT implementation.

It added that the benefits that could be reaped from OSS included growth
of local software development, leading to the production of localised
versions of the software.



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