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Computerworld Singapore: “Open Source for Governments”

Computerworld Singapore writes, Open Source for Governments, in which author Kenneth Liew discusses the growing support among governments the world over for open source software as a key governmental platform.

“More and more countries are embracing the collaborative model of open source on a national level to fend off caged IT models. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) Technology Group has positioned Linux as a medium term technology bet, which means one to three years to mass adoption…

In other parts of Asia, India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is distributing a CD of free productivity applications in Tamil, as part of an effort to promote computing among the country’s inhabitants. Over 50,000 CDs have been distributed so far and C-DAC aims to distribute 3.5 million of them. Some of India’s largest public sector bodies: BSNL; Indian Railways; South Asian Petrochem; IDBI Bank; Central Bank of India; and the Department of Treasury, Government of West Bengal are running on Linux.

China is not far behind. The Consortium of Chinese software companies called the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Centre (BSIPC) is now promoting Beijing as not merely the capital of China but also “Asia’s Linux Capital…

In 2001, the German parliament adopted a resolution that declared the government should use open-source software “whenever doing so will reduce costs”. Two years later, a technology advisory group to the European Commission issued a report that called open-source software “a great opportunity” for the region that could “change the rules in the information technology industry”, reducing Europe’s reliance on imports. Since the German uprising, more than 125 national open-source policies have been proposed worldwide.

This triggered off a movement amongst countries with a socialistic background, notably Russia, China and Cuba. Even Latin America, comprising of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela are shaping to be one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for Linux adoption, so much so that Brazil has announced a three-year plan to switch 80 per cent of its government systems to Linux and funded the project properly to accomplish it. The Venezuelan government gave a decree that all government institutions in the country must present a migration plan to move to open source software by October this year.”

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