Monday, October 15, 2007

Vietnam Is Migrating To Open Source

Vietnam's state agencies has started to migrate their application to Open Source application as the software products that were asked by their government is too expensive. It was a program that was developed on 2004 for 2004-2008 period, but it wasn't working until now (because of their government influence).

According to VietNamNet Bride:
The Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam has announced it has replaced Microsoft Office with OpenOffice, an open source software product. Accordingly, by the end of 2008, all 20,000 desktops at Party organs throughout Vietnam will be installed with OpenOffice.

Other state agencies like the Department of Post and Telecommunications of Khanh Hoa province, the Department of Post and Telecommunications, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade of HCM City are using OpenOffice on a trial basis.
They are planning to expand the trial use of this open source software at three more departments and five districts in early 2008.

Here's an interesting part of the article:
The experience of agencies which have successfully performed the replacement of Microsoft Office with OpenOffice, for example Sacombank, reveals that the problem associated with open source software is not technological but in the habit of computer users.
This is true. Migrating to Open Source application is about habit. People were to afraid to change because they are used with their current application. You don't have to use big-bang approach when doing a migration. You can look at Vietnam's roadmap. They conduct the migration in two phases. The first is partial replacement and the second is complete replacement :
In the first phase, users can still keep the Microsoft Windows operating system and change some basic software such as Microsoft Office to OpenOffice and Internet Explorer to Firefox, Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express by Thunderbird.

After this stage, users can completely change the software in their computers, for example replacing the Windows operating system with Ubuntu operating system. At present OpenOffice has a Vietnamese version. Many popular utilities on Windows are now available on Linux like Acrobat Reader, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, etc.
Here's another one:
However, open source operating systems like Linux, Ubuntu or Fedora are not easy to install yet so the change needs the assistance of technicians.
In my opinion, Ubuntu is very easy to install and i have seen many people that are new to Linux can install Ubuntu on their own since the installation is very straightforward. I don't know about Fedora (since i have never used it since RedHat 9), but they have improved a lot since Fedora Project comes up.

Vietnam dare to do this and they have a good roadmap. What about our government? Are they ready for this kind of thing? I'm sure there are a lot of people and organizations that are willing to help on this task. They can also coordinate with some community that can help them, for example LUG (Linux User Group) which has lots of members and are wide spread around Indonesia (You can see the list on InfoLinux magazine).