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Malaysian Open Source Procurement Policy Amended

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguin-has-lost-his-way dept.

Linux Business 18

Ditesh writes "The Malaysian Open Source Masterplan, which favoured open source over proprietary public sector procurements when all other evaluations are equal, has been reversed to a purely 'neutral technology platform' policy due to 'negative reaction towards open source (from the IT market)'. This comes after months of hard lobbying by Microsoft Malaysia. This reversal is certainly unfortunate, as the policy has helped raise comfort levels of other policy makers worldwide in pursuing similar goals. The Malaysian Open Source Alliance has published a position statement asking for clarification of the term 'neutrality', and has received support from MNC's, local companies and free software developers in Malaysia."

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Whack-a-mole (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17161968)

Currently Microsoft is playing whack a mole with Open Source, they try to stop it wherever it crops up. Thing is, it's cropping up more and more frequently.

In related news, Ballmer plays punch the monkey.

Re:Whack-a-mole (1)

timjdot (638909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174166)

Well put! Funny to see how some people are stil thinking like its 1999. Loking through some state government bids recently I same up with a new one for the lawyers - willful negligence. Also for not-for-profit insurance companies who are legally bound to refund profits to the state insurance coffers and such. A very probably legal case can be made as anyone buying proprietary alternatives when Open Source is clearly available is potentially commiting willful negligence. I suspect once the lawyers start to understand a little more about technology they we'll see some surprising lawsuits. E.g. also the apparent current practice by the big 5 of not accepting emails (or treating as spam) from a domain with a dynamic IP. Spam labeling is one wide open lawsuit against the email houses.
Anyhoo, best of luck to Malaysia. One can hardly imagine a choice where proprietary would be better when an Open Source competitor is well established.
TimJowers [] Fully Loaded Linux Computers. Everything's installed. Power on and GO!

Bad thing... (1, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162052)

It's a bad thing... the day when a goverment (or any company or person for that matters) prefers a software piece over another just becuase it's Open Source or Commercial. The criteria to select a software must be: quality, usefullness (is that a word?) and , why not price, but NEVER political and isiological (idiotogical) reasons.

What to use Linuz? Or Windows? Use them, but please let the politics out. Think for your self. And think logically. And technically.

Never ignore the license (4, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162256)

Obviously the license needs to be considered when making purchases. Who has the right to use the software? At home or at work? For what purposes? And are we at the mercy of a single vendor for service and upgrades?

There is nothing "ideological" about preferring a license that gives your organization the freedom to optimize the deployment and maintenance of the software for both current and (unforeseeable) future needs, over a license that put limitations on use and/or the future evolution of the product.

It is simply due diligence on the part of the decision makers.

Re:Bad thing... (1)

Shambhu (198415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163314)

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that a practical assessment of the competing software products should be made and there is no place for emotions in such an assessment. The problem with dismissing so-called political, or even ideological, arguments is that there is often (some would say always) much more to a particular software package than the software itself.

You have to evaluate the whole package for a particular use, and if you are setting broad government policy you must consider many other implications.

I'm not going to present any arguments for FOSS here, but I do think that governments really should consider making it a component of their policy.

Re:Bad thing... (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163600)


The moment merely obeying the Law of the Land requires a piece of proprietary technology -- any kind of proprietary technology, be it closed-source software or a patented widget -- then the Law has been privatised via the back door.

You surely don't need telling how and why that's a bad thing.

OK, let's do that (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163924)

Let's look at it from a tech standpoint, and a logic standpoint. From a tech standpoint, closed source means you have just signed up for having someone keep their hands on your wallet forever, and have turned over long term control of your data to some for-profit vendor who can hold you up for more money down the road, and should they go out of business, you are then screwed as your application gets less and less useful, but your data stays locked in their format and system. Security issues? Too bad, now you have to run your business *plus* take on the burden of running the business of the now out of business closed source software vendor-what a deal! Functionality issues? Too bad, you can't do anything about it, legally anyway, plus see the preceding scenario.

From a logic viewpoint, this is a smooth move-or not. I say not, YMMV. Call it politics, I call it longer range strategic thinking and business planning.

From a financial viewpoint, a perpetual expense with no way to keep costs under control-or not. I believe the slang term used is extortion with the closed source guys. "We can't move our data unless we use their product, which keeps going up in price!!!" "We can't get to our records, the company quit making that software, their last version is full of security holes now, but we need some our machines to be networked and....this sucks!" See?

From a public benefit viewpoint, using tax monies to do this-is this a good deal for the tax payer-or not. I say-not. Looks like a good deal only for the software purchasing decision maker in company x or government y who walks away with the bag of untraceable cash and for the vendor who has created what is called an artificial scarcity business model in his particular niche.

Re:Bad thing... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164858)

The criteria to select a software must be: quality, usefullness (is that a word?) and , why not price, but NEVER political and isiological (idiotogical) reasons.

Being free vs commercial is not a political matter. In fact mostly detractors of FOSS utter that word. We're not choosing between two equivalent solutions because of sympathy for a hippie. They are two different things from a technical (as in: "can't recompile for a new arch", or: "can't get support for an obscure FOSS project") point of view.
Saying that openness is not a factor opens the way for potential bad choices, ask mr. Linus about bitkeeper. And by negating some metrics that are favouring open source you make a political distinction.

Re:Bad thing... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166014)

It's a bad thing... the day when a goverment (or any company or person for that matters) prefers a software piece over another just becuase it's Open Source or Commercial. The criteria to select a software must be: quality, usefullness (is that a word?) and , why not price, but NEVER political and isiological (idiotogical) reasons.

Governments exist to serve the interests of their people; if that includes increasing the freely-usable software available to those people, and if using F/OSS for government projects has that effect, the government would be foolish not to prefer F/OSS.

It is foolish to undermine your policy interests with your purchasing practices.

Look at my Journal (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17170704)

Take a look at the article I translated in my journal showing how the ICT Minister of Thailand reversed the FLOSS policy recently. There's also a translation of the open-letter response from the Thai IT community in there.

Re:Bad thing... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17168150)

Which is why they said "when all other things are equal"...
They're saying if an open and proprietary piece of software are equal on quality, usefullness and price, then the open one should be chosen.

Aside from that, there are many valid business reasons to choose open source:

Support - support can be gotten from local vendors (it makes sense for a government to spend money locally instead of to a foreign company, if they spend locally they get a portion of it back in tax and contribute to their own local economy)

Dependency - Not being dependent on another country, aside from the political reasons, currency fluctuations can cause significant problems, and there's the "business risk" of using a foreign product (what if trade relations sour?)

Accountability - Being able to examine and improve the sourcecode can be very usefull, especially for a large organisation... And especially in a country where labour is relatively cheap. Getting a foreign proprietary vendor to implement a feature you need is often very difficult, hiring some local contract programmers to write it could work out a lot cheaper and quicker, especially if you work together with other organisations that need the same features.

Future proofing - Having the source means that, if need be, you can continue supporting the code indefinately... proprietary software essentially dies once it's original vendor stops supporting it. This vendor can then hold you to ransom to buy the new versions, or may just leave you high and dry.

Microsoft, I hope you die. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17162100)

See topic for text.

Why get upset about it? (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17162704)

MS plays dirty, but in many ways, they are helping OSS win. As it is, they have no real innovations so they "borrow" heavily from the OSS and other commercial (see apple) world. The one nice thing about this, is that MS tends to show what tech. is pretty good. In particular, I greatly admire that MS's research for years was to reverse engineer their competitor products and then re-implement it with improvements. They are doing the same for OSS and such tech. as Java and even Macs.

As to their illegal actions, do not worry about it. A lot of other nations will be moving towards OSS esp. EU. China, Russia, and India are moving quickly towards OSS. The smaller nations will have choice again very shortly.

Interesting theory (0, Troll)

cutepinkbunnies (990885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165468)

I bet the big bad wolfie Microsoft paid everyone off and is conspirating, or perhaps threatening to assassinate their political officials! You guys and your story-telling...its like I'm next to a campfire! boo!

malaysian politic landscape (2, Informative)

starworks5 (139327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167544)

i, having lived in asia have a bit of prospective about why this is happening.

Basically the IT market is telling malaysia, hey this sorta thing is going to put your workers out of business. This is being as a disportionate amount of IT firms, programming farms, and support centers are locate in these asian former brittish colonies for their language profeciency, and low wages. whilst open source as a hole, is dominated by other reigons. this has brought malaysia to question wheather free software is good for their bottom line.

this and there are accuasations from the old prime minster (for almost 3 decades) Mahathir muhammed, that the current PM abdullah badawi is corrupt, and should resign.

Re:malaysian politic landscape (2, Interesting)

LinuxLuver (775817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17181528)

I've spent some time in Malaysia and live in the A/P region. What you say fits with my own experience. It's a shame that Dr. Mahathir Mohammed had to resign. He was able to think freely and design effective policies while governments in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere just follow the same consultants who (mis)advise government globally. Dr. Mahathir's handling of the 1998 Asian meltdown by restricting sp[eculative currency flows through exchange controls, was contrary to the "received wisdom" and worked well, while other countries who followed that received wisdom and let their currencies continue to freely float saw their economies seriously impacted for the worse.

That's Microsoft (1)

Conrad Mazian (805099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173812)

Anything to try and retain business. Of course any other company would do the same, but then again any other company isn't Microsoft .

So....who bribed who? (1)

LinuxLuver (775817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17181508)

Malaysia....for this policy to change, something was traded. No doubt about that. :-)
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