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”