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Malaysian Government Prefers Open Code

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the show-me-the-monkey dept.

GNU is Not Unix 210

Suresh Gnasegarah writes "All Malaysian government technology procurement will now have a preference for open source software (OSS), under the Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Masterplan. The masterplan's near-term targets includes: 60% of all new servers able to run OSS operating systems, 30% of office infrastructure -- like e-mail, DNS, proxy servers -- on OSS, and 20% of school computer labs to have OSS applications such as productivity suites installed. Looks like old Bill's scare tactic that OSS software kills jobs didn't quite work. Another victory for the open source software movement!"

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210 comments

20%? (3, Interesting)

lavaface (685630) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729312)

Victory? While it's a step in the right direction, I think the matter is far from "victory" as the OP surmises.

The true meaning of victory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729360)

Mongol General: We have won again. That is good! But what is best in life?

Mongol Warrior: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair!

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?

Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!

Mongol General: That is good.

Re:20%? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729406)

Like it mattered in Malaysia. This is the same country that has massive stores selling illegal software in standard shopping malls. This isn't just Johor Bahru I'm talking about ... I'm talking first class standard shopping malls. Who cares if they support OSS ... as they weren't buying much legal software anyway.

Re:20%? (-1, Offtopic)

lavaface (685630) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729460)

Pardon, I forgot to say:
FP w00t!!
before I hit the submit button.

What is with the asshole moderators? (0, Offtopic)

KrisHolland (660643) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729600)

How is parent off topic? Don't forget to metamoderate these retarded moderators so they never moderate again.

Re:20%? (2, Interesting)

spektr (466069) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729625)

While it's a step in the right direction, I think the matter is far from "victory" as the OP surmises.

If open source / open standards gained a solid 1/5 market share and was able to hold it, then the monopoly would be broken and no one company alone could dictate closed "standards". I would count this as a victory (alas, it hasn't happened yet in the area of office software). Especially because I'm sure that after this a landslide would occur, because the popularity of Office is founded mainly on its monopoly position - tautologically speaking: it's popular because it's popular (and doesn't interoperate well). The moment people start asking why the .doc they received from their government-agency / company can't be rendered satisfactorily by MS Office and the helpdesk of the government agency / company tells them that they could install the same Office package they are using for free - that would be the moment when MS Office becomes a niche product for fanatics.

Re:20%? (2, Insightful)

lavaface (685630) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729687)

I think it's guaranteed that open source will ultimately overtake closed, proprietary systems. This trend will begin with countries like Malaysia and individual, local governments in the US. Sooner or later, a critical mass of people will wonder why it is that we pay billions to foster monopoly when we could spend a fraction of the price and pay programmers to develop open source solutions solve issues like tax collection and payroll, among many other common problems. My original comment was not meant to disparage the fact that open source has gained a foothold, but rather to illustrate how much further we have to go to achieve "victory."

Re:20%? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729805)

No, no no, nothing is guaranteed. This post reeks of naivete, fostered by the community here at slashdot. There is so much money invested in open source, we can't afford to have anyone think it's guaranteed. If you think it's a good thing, you have to accept that there are people trying to combat it, with good reasons of their own, plus loads of cash to help them spread the good word. If you forget that fact, if you ignore those people, you foster weakness. I'm glad we hear so much of microsoft's fud here, but what we don't know is capable of killing us, and this willfull ignorance is not a good thing for the open source community.

maybe... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729315)

maybe they just decided that Bill was right... only that the jobs that got killed... belonged to someone else.

There's more than one way to compete in the global marketplace, and schadenfreude can feel good sometimes...

Fuck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729317)

I hate jews FP

Of course it didn't work (0, Troll)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729318)

It's no wonder Bill's warning that OSS kills jobs didn't work on Malaysia. How can OSS kill sweatshop jobs from American clothing manufacturers?

For the record (-1, Troll)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729343)

I wasn't trying to troll, I was trying to be funny. The submission form f'd up and cut out the final line:

* puts head between knees and prepares for the karma hit *

Sigh.

Re:Of course it didn't work (-1, Troll)

character_assassin (773327) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729374)

You racist imperialist neoconservative capitalist cultureless corporate sellout insensitive clod! You can kiss my gay, communist, beautiful black ass!

DO NEVER TEST!

The start of a new trend? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729321)

This site [linuxmyths.com] has an interesting piece on their front page about how this could be the start of a very widespread trend.

First Malaysia...next the USA?

WARNING: MOD PARENT TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729332)

The actual site is here [linuxmyths.org]

Re:WARNING: MOD PARENT TROLL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729677)

linuxmyths.org = a Last Measure mirror. If you don't know what that is, think feces on face, browser going haywire with the words "HEY EVERYONE, I'M LOOKING AT GAY PORNO" blaring on your speakers. I'm certain most of us would rather do without such a thing. Other new ones to watch for are technewslive.com and hardwaredigest.com. If you see them in a post, don't click the link.

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729334)

Mod the parent comment up, and defecate a tube of shit directly down my throat.

math? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729322)

60% of all new servers
30% of office infrastructure
20% of school computer labs
---
110% ???

Re:math? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729337)

You are stupid AC. Why should 60% of all new servers have any relation to 30% of office infrastructure ? x% of A and y% of B. Get it ? why MUST x+y be equal to 100 ?

Re:math? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729499)

They use Metric measuring units, you Imperial insensitive clod!

funding? (5, Insightful)

aixou (756713) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729324)

With all these governments considering OpenSource software, is there any talk of them donating money to some of the more important projects -- e.g. KDE and other Desktop and Office oriented software that will be critical for corporate adoption. Do any of the major distros (besides this one [linspire.com] ) help fund many OSS projects? Just curious.

Re:funding? (5, Informative)

bertboerland (31938) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729355)

In the Netherlands a big municipality (Amsterdam [amsterdam.nl] ) is paying for the development of a CMS [mmbase.org] and releasing modules under teh GPL. See the "web in a box" site of BIA [amsterdam.nl]

teh GPL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729586)

I love that typo, it's so trollish. It is aided by the fact that it can be said in a troll-like voice "teh".

Every fine and upstanding BSD fan loaths the sound of "teh GPL" but I love it.

Re:teh GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729609)

clearly yuo r teh sux0r

Free Gmail invite to 1st taker (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729325)

Free gmail invitation here:

http://gmail.google.com/gmail/a-ea7b0f09a3-9adf7e1 0a2 [google.com]

good luck!

Re:Free Gmail invite to 1st taker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729347)

Goatse.cx imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Goatse.cx has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell

About Arthur (4, Interesting)

Wtcher (312395) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729331)

As far as making a real dent in software sales there... well, let's just say that I went to four or five different malls in Malaysia when I was there and not once did I see any legit software offered.

Re:About Arthur (4, Informative)

zhenlin (722930) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729376)

It's highly unlikely that you will find one. I speak as a Malaysian.

Their sales come from corporate and other large-scale users, like my school and my father's offices. My school paid over RM185,000 (RM3.80 = US$1.00 exactly, due to pegging) in licensing fees this year.

Re:About Arthur (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729385)

You also need to mention if you saw any software offered in those malls :-)

Re:About Arthur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729449)

As far as making a real dent in software sales there...

1. Why would making a dent in software sales be an objective, or in any way relevant?

2. If people did want to make a dent in software sales, why wouls whether the software being sold is "legit" or not make a difference?

Re:About Arthur (4, Interesting)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729542)

As far as making a real dent in software sales there... well, let's just say that I went to four or five different malls in Malaysia when I was there and not once did I see any legit software offered.

Not sure when you were here, but I don't know of any malls where you can't buy legit software (okay, at Plaza Imbi, you have to look hard).

At the big computer malls (an Asian phenomenon not seen in North America, and no, Fry's ain't shit in comparison) in Malaysia there will usually be a couple dozen very in-your-face places selling a few hundred different packages for a flat rate of RM5 (US$1.25) per CD (which results in the funny situation that Linux costs more than Windows). Some of them are set up on tables in the halls but many of them are clearly leaseholders with proper shops. Occasionally there will be a "legit" side-business (selling mobile phone accessories or something) but usually they don't even bother.

Side-by-side with them are respectable shops selling shrink-wrap software. I do see them making sales, so some people clearly either buy the moral argument, or they see a value in getting the manuals and support. The margins on the pirate CDs must be tiny, so at the end of the day the legit vendors may still be more profitable.

Yesterday up on the 3rd floor in Low Yat Plaza (where I was buying a USB hub, thank you very much), right alongside the pirate stalls, I saw a 1.5-meter-tall stand-up display in the corridor advertising the benefits of purchasing legal Microsoft software. So obviously someone's been through there.

On the main topic of this article, I must say it takes me quite by surprise, because I really don't see much Linux at all in Malaysia compared to neighboring countries (including equally piracy-agnostic Thailand). Maybe Bill Gates committed some egregious cultural faux pas while he was here last week (Offered the PM's wife a swig of brandy? Used his turn signal?).

Re:About Arthur (1)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729667)

The margins on the pirate CDs must be tiny, so at the end of the day the legit vendors may still be more profitable.

Considering the pirates are buying their blank discs in MegaHyperHappy bulk, I'd think the profit margins on pirate CDs would be SuperHappyFunTimes. You can get a 100 pack of CD-R's off of Newegg for $20. That's $.20 a CD. A computer with a burner is a fixed cost that was most likely purchased long ago and has probably since been paid for with pirate CD revenue. Selling each one for $1.25 gives you an awesome 525% return on your investment, minus bandwidth costs.

I'm also fairly sure that you can get CDs for cheaper than $.20 a piece. Man, I gotta start pirating for profit.

Re:About Arthur (2, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729721)

Considering the pirates are buying their blank discs in MegaHyperHappy bulk, I'd think the profit margins on pirate CDs would be SuperHappyFunTimes. You can get a 100 pack of CD-R's off of Newegg for $20. That's $.20 a CD. A computer with a burner is a fixed cost that was most likely purchased long ago and has probably since been paid for with pirate CD revenue. Selling each one for $1.25 gives you an awesome 525% return on your investment, minus bandwidth costs.

You're leaving out a lot of costs. They are paying as much rent as the equally-sized legit store next door, and they have as many staff. These costs spread pretty thick on a retail unit price of $1.25.

Bill's Egregious Faux Pas... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729772)

Bill Gates tried to tell a soveriegn government what to do on their own soil. That's a faux pas everywhere.

Software sold to businesses mostly, not end users (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729548)

There will be a segment of the population who will pirate software no matter what the prices may be. But let's look at the other segment of the population who are reasonable people and will buy original software if it doesn't cost them a leg and a foot.

For one thing, I put it to you that it is actually more expensive for a Malaysian to live in Malaysia, than an American to live in the U.S.

(well, okay, not universally true, but let's take the midwest as an example)

The average starting salary for an *US-trained* Malaysian engineer in Malaysia is about RM18,000 before deductions (US$4,736). In the U.S., an engineer starts at around US$35,000.

Basic necessities cost about the same, ringgit-to-dollar.
Cost of a Pontiac Sunfire is $10,000 (28% of U.S. Salary)
Cost of the cheapest brand-new car in Malaysia is RM32,000 (170% of Malaysian salary).

Cost of average U.S. house (this is really variable though) is US$200,000 (570% of U.S. Salary)
Cost of Malaysian house is RM180,000 (1000% of Malaysian Salary)

With all this in mind, the price of Microsoft Office Standard is US$348 (1% of U.S. Salary).
In Malaysia, it is RM1300 (7% of Malaysian Salary).

As you can see, it is understandable that a large portion of the Malaysian population cannot afford to buy original software. They're too busy paying their loans etc.

Selling software in Malaysia is mostly a corporate affair -- businesses and government are huge clients. (They have to buy original, otherwise the BSA swoops down on them). Going open-source will definitely make an impact.... the government is one of the biggest buyers of software.

End-users don't buy that much original software to start with. So they don't really figure in the equation.

Re:Software sold to businesses mostly, not end use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729792)

Whoa!!!
You do not BUY software, and it is not actually SOLD, at least in MS flavours - well thats my understanding anyway, if so called licences are to be believed, and you can read fine print.
That makes it very easy to direct goverment expenditure to products of substance.

It's always a laugh to make the MS sales rep sqirm by asking what is being 'bought'.

Considering the risks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729340)

All one has to do is consider the risks involved in running Windows... Anything from the macro viruses in Word, attachments in Outbreak, exploits-a-plenty in IE... the 20% is actually a very conservative figure for the amount of programs that will be OSS related. Sounds to me that they just want to provide an incentive (you'd have to, otherwise you'd be breaking the law, for example) to make sure that more secure or more recent applications are used. The fact that most of this stuff is free can only help this sort of country... probably not having the resources to afford a fully-fledged Microsoft setup anyhow. I am, of course, speaking strictly along the lines of lab computers for everybody/everyday use and not the actual infrastructure.

Ah, a "masterplan", then. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729341)

The last "master plan" I heard about was a deranged heap of technobabble pitched to me by some nutbag "final solutions provider" who cold-called his way into my executive suite. After our records building caught fire, we thought he might be able to rebuild our organization; no such luck.

Eventually we had to kick out of the building because he kept sitting in the lobby and giving the Polish lady at the front desk threatening looks.

I'd be wary if this is the same guy - you'll know him by the funny jerks his arm makes.

Whoopee! (1)

illuminata (668963) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729348)

Yes, open source doesn't kill jobs... when the government forces its existance as part of its operation!

Sorry, this proves nothing. Keep arguing.

OSS software kills jobs.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729369)

..in japan!

Opensource will kill Microsoft jobs. (1)

DRWHOISME (696739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729377)

No doubt about that but slack will taken up by new businesses to creat applicationgs for these operating systems like bsd or linux.

Could cause wealth to be redistributed in proper way in this country because of protected monopoly status by pro-microsoft republican administrations. Correcting for the 'errors' of the past.

pretty much a no brainer (5, Interesting)

XMichael (563651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729389)

I've travelled much of the far east, and my experience has been that Microsoft has primarly dominated the markets. Microsoft donates huge amounts of money (relative to there economy) to forign university's which basically provides them with free Microsoft products.

I'm suprised to see a government in a developing nation pass up on the potentially huge amount of money that Microsoft would willing pump into there universities.

xoduszero [xoduszero.biz]

Re:pretty much a no brainer (2, Funny)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729526)

Microsoft donates huge amounts of money (relative to there economy) to forign university's which basically provides them with free Microsoft products.

And after they graduate, they continue to use Microsoft products for free! omg piracy lol!

Re:pretty much a no brainer (1)

blix5 (679908) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729707)

Yes, but then Microsoft can say that even more people are using their software, which would make investors invest more money into the company.

The drawback to that would be if investors eventually wised up to the hype and started being a bit more stingy with their money. But if that happens, MS could just offshore its jobs to make the company look more profitable than it really is... then investors would be happy again for a short while.

*wink wink*

Re:pretty much a no brainer (5, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729563)

Maybe they realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Maybe locking yourself into MS products is bad in the longer term.
Maybe they think that the local IT industry will be better off if the govt used open source.
Maybe the amount of money that MS gives is not that huge compared to what it would cost to upgrade once longhorn comes out.
Maybe, just maybe, they think it's weird that a business has to give money to governments in order to convince them to use their software. Don't you think that's kind of weird?

Re:pretty much a no brainer (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729735)

You are right: MS owns Asia lock, stock and barrel. But here are a few things to realise:

a) For the embedded stuff, big in Taiwan, MS is nowhere - it's all Linux.

b) Java is making some minor inroads. I used to be channel sales director for a Canadian software company selling Java tools, and fought hard against MS tools - am now being told by my Japanese ex-customers that I was right to insist patience would pay off with Java.

c) Malaysia is rather rabidly anti-western and anti-American. This would not happen in Japan, for instance.

Michael

Re:pretty much a no brainer (4, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729800)

Malaysia is rather rabidly anti-western and anti-American.

Malaysia is no such thing. Some scraps of circumstantial evidence:

  • The Malaysian flag is an homage to the American flag.
  • 1/4 of the programmes on TV come straight from the USA. This morning I was having breakfast at a little place down the street and everyone was watching WWF reruns on TV with rapt attention.
  • American music and movies completely rule their respective markets (though Chinese pop puts up a good struggle).
  • Malaysians cheerfully welcome westerners to the country.
  • Every day I see people (Malaysians, not tourists) walking around with obviously American t-shirts.
  • Malaysia makes an awful lot of money manufacturing high-tech goods for western companies and this is no secret to anybody.
  • A&W Root Beer restaurants are all over the place; every mug and promo paper boasts explicitly of the Americanness of the place and yet they're packed with Muslim families having dinner out.

You are probably confusing an entire country with a few zany speeches by former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir.

This would not happen in Japan, for instance.

It's come close to happening in a lot of western countries like, say, Germany.

OSS does kill jobs (0, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729395)

Only it's the jobs of the Microsoft people who can't code software which doesn't require a reboot before you're allowed to save.

News Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729398)

Today's top story... Marxist governments around the
world embrace GPL based open-source. In other news,
his Eminance, the Pope, says he believes in God.

Open source is benefiting from anti-US sentiments (5, Interesting)

syrinje (781614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729412)

Good for Open-source, bad for the world at large and for mainstream US industry in particular.

Cost is not the only criterion here. It is a sad truth that countries which suspect/fear that the US will cut off their access to technology by issuing a Department of Commerce export notification are increasingly turning to Open Source as a viable option that circumvents real or prophesized export controls.

Does that make Open Source unpatriotic? If it is, who is culpable? Is Joe Coder a traitor because he fixed a header file macro in an Open Source project which helps to bypass US laws? Will Ashkroft send his goons to nab Joe? What if Joe lives in Switzerland or New Zealand? Will Ashkroft still send his goons anyway?

Re:Open source is benefiting from anti-US sentimen (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729481)

It is a sad truth that countries which suspect/fear that the US will cut off their access to technology by issuing a Department of Commerce export notification are increasingly turning to Open Source as a viable option that circumvents real or prophesized export controls.

The fact that countries suspect or fear the US may be sad. Their ability to do something to reduce their exposure isn't.

Does that make Open Source unpatriotic?

If countries are preferring open source software as a way of securing themselves from manipulation from other countries they see as potentially hostile then that would make open source either patriotic or (more accurately) neutral but able to be used in a patriotic way. How could that possibly be "unpatriotic"?

Re:Open source is benefiting from anti-US sentimen (1)

MikeCapone (693319) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729640)

It's not about being pro or anti US; even US puppets can benefit from not being dependant on US/foreign companies for their software. Duh.

Re:Open source is benefiting from anti-US sentimen (2, Interesting)

lavaface (685630) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729655)

The notion of open source software make the entire notion of the nation-state a little ridiculous. Governing solutions are mostly local. It makes sense that our tax dollars should go to open source--why duplicate a solution? Just change the parameters to reflect local rates.

As media solutions fall into the hands of the general populace, we can expect the "fundamental" notion of individual countries to continue to erode. There will be a strong fight against this trend, but the fact of the matter remains: the governed will always outnumber the governors. The trick is that the governed must be educated. This is the difficulty.

Glad to know OSS won on better products (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729425)

This will probably be marked as a troll, but here we go:

You say it's all about choice, and that the best product will win, and then celebrate when that choice is taken away, and it's in your favor. Governments should choose the best software for the job, period. Not because one is open source, vs. closed source, that shouldn't matter, if the people of the government are paying taxes, it should go to the best product that does the job, for the lowest TCO. But again, if a government said 100% of the machines have to be windows, you'd guys bitch that it's unfair that windows was just chosen without a competition. ;)

Re:Glad to know OSS won on better products (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729512)

You say it's all about choice, and that the best product will win, and then celebrate when that choice is taken away, and it's in your favor.

No. The Malaysian Government is a purchaser of software, and it's their choice what they buy. Choice hasn't been taken away, as evidenced by the rather obvious fact that they're are making a choice.

Not because one is open source, vs. closed source, that shouldn't matter, if the people of the government are paying taxes, it should go to the best product that does the job, for the lowest TCO.

Crap. I don't know how democratic or otherwise Malyasia is, but as a generalisation (which is how you presented it) your claim is clearly wrong. Governments do not exist solely to save money. If they did then the solution would be to use no software and to do nothing. They spend money to achieve purposes.

If the Malaysian government sees its objectives as being furthered through greater use of open source software then saying "but the cheapest way must be best because well becuase it just has to be, okay?" is stupid.

Re:Glad to know OSS won on better products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729626)

wtf! He made a valid point... and apparently it went right over your head! I hate these fucking geeks who praise anything having to do with open source just cause it makes them different or 'cool'.

I bet you don't pay your bills from giving your code away!

Preference is part and parcel of capitalism. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729692)

Part of the free market is the ability to choose, but it is also the ability to show preference. When I go to buy a bag of licorice, I'm going to travel ten miles to Custom Candies and buy a bag of Panda [panda.fi] . Nothingelse will do. For whatever personal reason, that's what I choose and will choose: again and again. No amount of advertising or reformulation or patriotism will change my choice: Panda or nothing.

Software is no different in a market-based economy. And a government is merely a large customer expressing a preference. Bully for Malaysia for expressing their choice and codifying it for all to see. If one wishes to sell software to Malaysia, one had best be superior and open source.

Just as if one wishes to sell licorice to me, one had best be Panda.

Re:Glad to know OSS won on better products (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729717)

"Not because one is open source, vs. closed source, that shouldn't matter, if the people of the government are paying taxes, it should go to the best product that does the job, for the lowest TCO."

In the case of the gov't, I think there's a stronger factor at play: Don't be a slave to a company. The biggest danger I see with using Word (for example...) at gov't facilities is that MS is a broken file format away from forced upgrades. Granted, this hasn't happened in years. If you use Office 97 today, you're not in a world of hurt with 2000 users. (Note: That's as high as I went, I don't know if O2k3 broke 97 compatibility or not.) But I do remember back in the Office 95 days the transition to 97 was horrible. Everybody had to upgrade at once or the stragglers were instantly left out. The advantage of going Open Source here is that they're not totally tied to one vendor. I'm over dramatizing the situation a bit, but it's not a risk I'd want a gov't to take.

So what exactly is my rebuttal? Well I'm not totllay against what you're saying. I completely agree that they should choose based on what their requiremenets are. I just wanted to add the 'think of the future' variable in there. In which case, some compromise is okay.

Re:Glad to know OSS won on better products (1)

weijiao (749614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729782)

The function of government is to govern. Market forces are only one aspect of that.

Taking a strategic decision now that may may prove of national and economic advantage in the long term is an example of good government.

Japan did not start out building "world best" quality anything. Taiwan's first computers were not to US quality standards.

Govermnents taking strategic decisions helped make Japan and Taiwan the world class suppliers that they are today. Similar things are happening in China.

Malaysia's government is entitled to make whatever decisons it likes in its pursuit of a good future for its citizens. That is exactly the position that the US government takes about its own decisons.

I wonder.... (4, Interesting)

cr0y (670718) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729435)

If open source is accepted within govt, and that governemnt starts pouring cash into specific projects, how many programmers will work for free if they see that the leaders of those projects are making money and they aren't?...it might send ripples through what we know as open and free....

Re:I wonder.... (3, Insightful)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729540)

You're right. There is always potential for problems. However, it's possible it could create a more of a meritocracy. Various people volunteer and when an opening occurs in the project, the best programmer gets a job. And you'd still have programmers who have other jobs volunteering on side projects that interest them. I think it'll be interesting and I'm optimistic about how things will turn out. Can't let fear prevent you from taking a step toward progress.

Re:I wonder.... (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729568)

IBM pays eclipse developers and it doesn't seem to have slowed down the jedit developers.

Um. It did kill jobs. (-1, Flamebait)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729457)

How many people who worked on those OSS projects the government is using are getting paid by the government or at all for their involvement with the project?

How many people would the government have hired to build the projects if OSS alternatives didn't exist?

The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work.

The Malaysian government choosing to use Open Source has just reduced the amount of money that will go to businesses and therefore employees. Which means lost jobs and/or fewer people being hired on.

I don't see how governments "wasting" money on paying people to write software or do any other job is a bad thing. The government should be more than happy to spend money on commercial software if it suits their needs. Or pay people to write it for them.

It's nice that they're using OSS but pretending it's not going to result in less jobs is silly.

Ben

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (2, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729479)

Less govenment money spent on paying companies to write custom software, which is nearly always over due and over budget, is less money wasted. That means less taxes. That means more money in the hands of consumers to spend. Which means more jobs.

You skipped basic economics in school, didn't you?

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (1)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729753)

That means less taxes
No, that means they find a new way to waste.. err.. spend the public's money. Governments are real good at wasting.. err.. spending.. money..

more money in the hands of consumers to spend
Not for the software developers who lose their jobs.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (3, Insightful)

pHDNgell (410691) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729500)

I don't see how governments "wasting" money on paying people to write software or do any other job is a bad thing. The government should be more than happy to spend money on commercial software if it suits their needs. Or pay people to write it for them.

It's nice that they're using OSS but pretending it's not going to result in less jobs is silly.


I pay my government to pay you for the software you write. Since the government works for me[0], why in the hell should they be allowed to pay people to write something I can't have access to?

This is a rather short-sighted argument. There's still a need for specialty software, but there is *NO NEED* to continuously reproduce the same stuff in order to preserve your job or to keep it from the people who paid for it.

Write something that doesn't already exist, let the rest of us (and other departments) benefit from it, and move on. Don't pretend like you can't work unless you're reproducing perfectly good software every day.

I mean, honestly, I can't believe you're justifying having the government *not* use OSS because it means you don't get to produce a clone of some OSS project and make money off of it. It's this mentality that keeps our government slow and expensive.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729560)

It's nice that they're using OSS but pretending it's not going to result in less jobs is silly.

You're wrong. We're talking basic economics wrong.

Let's assume that your job isn't make-work (like, oh, re-coding an old VMS system to use Visual Basic just because.)

If you're writing software that can be done with OSS software--which isn't by any means everything--then you might be out of a job if the government uses the OSS instead. But you would be in the same boat if some off-the-shelf software was used instead.

(My mother works writing custom software for the gov't--and even if they went all-OSS instsead of just partly-OSS, the job that they do wouldn't go away because it's so specific.)

Let's say that your job CAN be replaced. What this means is that the money that was going to pay your salary & support expenses will go to do something else. Either the government will take on a new project, or they'll cut taxes. Let's assume a tax break, for argument's sake.

When the government cuts taxes, a good portion of the business sector finds that they have more money in their budget. They might use this money to lower their prices, but odds are that among the million-odd businesses in this country, a couple dozen will use the money to start new projects. Which means hiring new people.

The bottom line? Use of OSS might cut YOUR job, or it might cut MS's profits, or it might cut someone else's job--but the total net number and dollar value of jobs likely won't go down.

Arguing "my job will get taken away" makes as little sense now as when it was robots doing assembly work.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (4, Interesting)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729566)

The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work.

If the work is useful, it is unique and/or custom. And open source offers more opportunities for customization than closed-source anyway.

The Malaysian government choosing to use Open Source has just reduced the amount of money that will go to businesses and therefore employees. Which means lost jobs and/or fewer people being hired on.

It seems like you are arguing in favor of specialized welfare programs for computer programmers who don't otherwise offer any value to the market.

Otherwise there's no possible reason to write the same things over and over and over again. It's like having every agency in the government outsource their own national census.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (4, Interesting)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729592)

The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work.
Commoditization of operating systems and other common software is inevitable. It is neccessary. Consider it infrastructure - in order for the really fun stuff to ever happen, we have to stop re-inventing and charging for the basic stuff.

Let's let the industries based on re-coding the same old proprietary systems die so that new industries that can push the frontiers of computer science may be born. So long as the majority of the competent computer scientists and engineers in the world are working on new versions of Oracle, Windows, Solaris, Office, proprietary government procurement software, etc.., those new frontiers are just a dream!

Personally, I say good riddance.

Right ON! (2, Interesting)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729748)

This is exactly what drives me toward OSS. I want to see the change because, as it stands now, we can plot our futures on the corporate roadmaps and that sucks.

Personally, I strongly agree with you.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (3, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729595)

"How many people who worked on those OSS projects the government is using are getting paid by the government or at all for their involvement with the project?"

The govt is just another user of the OSS project. Did you pay to use mozilla? Chances are the govt will probably contribute some money towards continued development for the software they use which is better then 99% of the other users who don't pay anything at all.

"How many people would the government have hired to build the projects if OSS alternatives didn't exist?"

None. They would have bought something.

"The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work."

Are you writing a web browser? An office suite? A general purpose operating system? An email client?. Probably not. The software the govt pays to write is very specific to their needs.

BTW. Last I checked nobody was entitled to a job. If your customer can get a product thats equal to or better then yours for less money they owe it to taxpayers to do so.

"The Malaysian government choosing to use Open Source has just reduced the amount of money that will go to businesses and therefore employees. Which means lost jobs and/or fewer people being hired on"

Nah. It just means more money will stay malasia rather then go to redmond. Every cent spent on MS software is one less cent circulating in your own country helping your own economy.

"I don't see how governments "wasting" money on paying people to write software or do any other job is a bad thing. "

That's because you are suckling on the momma sows teat. All that taxpayer money pouring into your company and your pocket is wonderful for you but it sucks for me and every other tax payer.

"The government should be more than happy to spend money on commercial software if it suits their needs."

Not if there is a lower cost or free alternative.

"It's nice that they're using OSS but pretending it's not going to result in less jobs is silly."

Your analytic skills need some fine tuning. Unless the govt was actually paying for development of office software and web browsers nobody is going to lose their jobs.

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729598)

The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work.

And therefore would be free to work on other, non-governmental things. It would allow more intelligent people to do more intelligent things.

If the only thing you're capable of is porting the bureaucratic red tape to computer, then you have no future. Why waste society's resources on creating useless jobs, when these people could actually be doing beneficial things, and yet still make a living?

I perscribe the following to clear this up:
Review (or learn) basic macroeconomics; and read the works of both John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, or of those inspiring other schools of economics, as you see fit.

Oh, and by the way, get your syntax right: "fewer jobs," not "less jobs." "Fewer" takes a countable noun, and "less" takes an uncountable noun.

s/perscribe/prescribe/ (3, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729604)

I still have dictionary.com open to that page...

Re:s/perscribe/prescribe/ (2, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729762)

Yeah, but it's funnier when people correcting the spelling or grammar of other people make mistakes themselves :-)

Re:Um. It did kill jobs. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729614)

The US government pays businesses a ton of money to write software. I currently work with such a company. If the US government decided to use all Open Source a lot of people would be out of work.

If you seriously think this is a valid argument then a solution would be for the US govenrment to pay half those people to dig holes in the ground and the other half to fill them in again. This would be neither more nor less productive than your current plan that they hire people to write software that they could otherwise have got for free.

(Before soemeone buts in with the real world that the government would need to pay people to write, amend, support open source software, please note that this would in itself contradict the premises of the post to which I was replying).

This is great! (0, Troll)

mediaSage (720360) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729536)

This is definately a shot in the arm for Open Source Software. This announcement alone can only help to galvanize the creditability of nation-wide deployment of OSS. With the success of the Multimedia Super Cooridor [cmsb.com.my] the country will finally benefit from free and open software to provide services for a much lower price. Oh and btw: this is mainly a Muslim country, and IMHO there isnt any doubt that the other Muslim countries will follow given the current trend of discrimination against Muslims in countries such as the US of A which could affect commerce. Not to be vague, but the Muslim counties see that Western corporations (M$) only want to take their money.

Re:This is great! (4, Funny)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729591)

With the success of the Multimedia Super Cooridor

What success? And how old is that article? 5 years?

Last I heard they had decided it was going to be the biotechnology supercorridor instead, as soon as they could come up with a way to keep the same acronym so they wouldn't have to change the signs. Welcome to Biojaya, garden city. Don't eat the hyperintelligent coconuts; we need them to do our urban planning.

And three years from now it will be the Fuel Cell Supercorridor, or whatever the fad du jour is.

Date (OT) (1)

OldMiner (589872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729706)

4 years. Modify date on the document's head request reads "Tuesday, July 11, 2000 6:52:30 PM"

Re:This is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729703)

Nope. The Multimedia Super Corridor has been a massive failure and continues to bleed money every year. The Malaysian gov't hasn't talked much about it in recent times.

Good for them, good for us. (2, Insightful)

NightHawkSky (797862) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729549)

But I suggest they donate whatever small amounts of money they can to OS. Far less than MS's charge, but a little can go a long way (especially when you are talking government).

It is good for OS users because, as even smaller governments start catching on, citizens *may* see that their country is using such products for such a low...."free"....cost, cafes and whatnot will switch.

Basically a chain-reaction.

Victory!! (0, Flamebait)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729553)

I guess it's time for Microsoft to start winding down operations. Once the Malaysian government has spoken, there's really no point in contesting it anymore. OSS has finally won the battle..

It has to be said... (3, Funny)

atlasheavy (169115) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729556)

OSS Software? Is that anything like Homer's BBBQ, where the extra B is for BYOBB? (the other 'B' is a typo...)

hurts OSS more than jobs (1)

zxflash (773348) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729564)

people will have jobs coding open source software... what will be hurt is its ability to compete with closed source if it becomes big business in asia...

Able to run? (2, Insightful)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729615)

The masterplan's near-term targets includes: 60% of all new servers able to run OSS operating systems...

What does this mean exactly? Haven't seen many servers that aren't capable of running OSS operating systems. Hope they're going for something more applicable to the job than a Sony Vaio laptop.

Nice twist here, AFTER gates visit (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729643)

Countries have said this before and some even are following through but usually it happens before Gates visits. This happens after a visit and an alarmist speech AND it hasn't worked at all.

Poor MS. Why if this continues they may actually have to concentrate on selling a good product rather then scare the customer into staying with them. I am crying for all the MS coders who will loose their jobs, ignore the hysterical laughter that is just my way of showing grief. Really.

Anyone know the travelling plans of IBM or Novell or Sun or HP?

Re:Nice twist here, AFTER gates visit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9729750)

Last I looked, Microsoft was hiring. In fact there are over 2000 open positions on their web site, most of them for developers.

Better keep that laughter hysterical, because it is clearly not rational.

Kill Jobs? Malasians don't write software (3, Insightful)

mark99 (459508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729658)

Obviously free software benefits those economies more that import software, and harms more those that export it. At least at first.

However this might later lead to them chosing the "wrong" tool, when a more appropriate non-OSS tool exists.

In the long run restrictions tend to hurt more than they help, and often achieve the opposite (like rent control or job protection).

Simple economics really.

Malaysia is OSS free-loader (2, Informative)

sm84 (145828) | more than 9 years ago | (#9729725)

The Malaysian gov't is happy to use OSS software if it saves them money. But any IT work done under a gov't of Malaysia contract cannot be released to anyone as it is protected by the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Even if this OSA restriction didn't exist, the local IT vendors in Malaysia would never want the code they wrote to be under any form of scrutiny as their projects are usually failures that still result in big payouts for them.

Don't count on seeing a single contribution from Malaysia to the opensource community in the next couple of years.
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