OSS for wealthy nations and societies | Opensource.com

OSS for wealthy nations and societies

Posted 22 Mar 2011 by 

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One of the key issues why open source software has not taken roots in Singapore is the mismatch in messaging and perception in what open source offers. Though innovation is the key message as the benefit of open source software, the more dominant message that persists in the country regarding OSS is cost saving. In a society and nation like Singapore, where there is an abundance of economic wealth and that is more interested in banking on the big brands, why should they care about saving costs and working with smaller companies? The common perception related with cost savings is not a positive aspect but one of compromise with quality or functionality. Why would a nation that can afford to spend money adopt the products with such messaging?

Though open source software is not just meant for cost saving, and it has more positive messages and benefits associated with it, those facts need to be communicated.

So what are those key benefits that nations and societies like Singapore should look for in open source software?

Lets us first look at the reasons and benefits that companies in the biggest economy of the world--America--have derived from adopting open source. America and developed economies adopted open source software to address many challenges that these nations have to address. Even if you have economic wealth, the key engine for growth and leadership lies in innovation, pace of development, and putting tools in the hands of people to drive growth. As a leader, it is not enough to be in sync with developments, but it is important to set the pace and create toolkits for innovation.

With the traditional model of software development, you generally can't do that.

The open source software development model presented American companies and all those who are aspiring to address various challenges of society and nations with a model that allowed them to drive innovation in a ubiquitous manner. Open source software has enabled collaborative development, leading to a faster pace. It enabled those enterprises to remove vendor lock-in and set their own (often faster) pace, leading to more business. Open source software has fueled the competitive environment challenging the inefficient monopolies which are impediments.  

In the same way, Singapore should embrace the open source software development model to inculcate the habit of innovation, to help drive competitive environment, and to remove the inefficiencies caused due to proprietary development models in software industry.
 

Originally posted on my blog : www.sachindabir.wordpress.com under the heading “Singapore OSS”

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6 Comments

ramonarchanco
Open Enthusiast

I didn´t know that singapour was a resistant country with opensource. I used to think they were kind of head in this industry. Any way thanks for the articule.

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sankarshan
Open Minded

It would perhaps be natural to think that Singapore and in fact most of the eastern and far eastern economies would understand the implied message of continuous, rapid and incremental innovation that is the open source way.

The fact that businesses don't end up pushing these messages across firmly enough is more of a loss as therefore communities of open source practice do not get built up.

I wish you'd follow up this article with another that talks about possible step-wise recommendations about how this can be changed.

Oh ! Good to see you writing again :)

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sachindabir
Open Minded

Would love to talk about what can be done.
Right now we are focussing on few activities through OSSIC to bring about the change.
The key message that we want to give to the businesses is : "Using open source software is safe and smart decision"

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tiensoon
Community Member

"In a society and nation like Singapore, where there is an abundance of economic wealth and that is more interested in banking on the big brands, why should they care about saving costs and working with smaller companies?"

Last week while I was in Singapore, I met someone running a SI company at a community event. And I was caught in an interesting (somehow surprising :p) comment while talking about Joget Workflow (an open source product) with him.

He couldn't be convinced with open source software, and these are some of the comments he has brought up:

  1. The benefit of cost reduction (in software license) is not a significant selling-point in Singapore's enterprise sector.
  2. Unless the OSS is backed by huge software company like IBM, else he's not convinced with the sustainability of the software's existence. And with this reason, he would rather develop a component, instead of using an existing OSS.

I'm a proponent of "don't reinvent the wheel, do what you are good at". His 2nd point about sustainability of software's existence, is in fact one of the advantages that OSS has, comparing to closed source alternatives.

With comments like the above mentioned, from someone within the enterprise software industry, no wonder OSS doesn't pick up significantly in Singapore.

@tiensoon

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sankarshan
Open Minded

You wrote "Unless the OSS is backed by huge software company like IBM, else he's not convinced with the sustainability of the software's existence. "

Is that a factor of being averse to taking risks and perceiving that upstream FOSS projects, unless packaged for deployment as a stack, are liable to be risky investments in infrastructure ?

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tiensoon
Community Member

Yes, I agree with your interpretation of his message.

But that leaves too few FOSS as so-called "less risky investment".

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Entrepreneur, marketer and open source solutions provider.

Sachin is the founder, director of Ashnik, based in Singapore. Ashnik provides open source IT solutions around infrastructure, cloud and social media for enterprises.

Sachin brings rich experience in building businesses. Has worked in IT industry for over 20 years and has provided solutions to Banking, Telecom and Government sectors. Has played a major role in establishing Red Hat and open source business in India. Has

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