Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Technology Neutrality" and what it means to us Malaysians - New Straits Times

My article finally came out in the New Straits Times Online, entitled "Opinion: 'Technology Neutrality' and what it means to us Malaysians". Its quite a direct article in that I didn't hold back in the direct criticisms and that was deliberate because the message has to be quite clear that the terms "Neutrality" should not just mean sit-back-and-dont-do-nufin. It should mean a pro-active approach in software evaluation to ensure that we have a level playing field.

Im just wondering if the New Straits Times would actually have the guts to put this opinion on their print versions, in conjunction with their BSA/CompTIA/Microsoft sponsored 'advertorials' which they so frequently have, often an entire spread with full colour ...

Well, its a continuation of our efforts in getting the communities voice heard in mainstream media, and hopefully we can have more of these in the future.


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Today was the position statement of MOSSA, the Malaysian Open Source Alliance. It was wonderful to see vendors, users and organisations come together to show our support for Open Source in Malaysia. Competing vendors like IBM, Novell, Redhat, Sun and Malaysian ISVs like Omnilogic, QubeConnect, OpenSourceSystems, Skali to organisations who represent users like FMM, MNCC and UNDP. This was a truly unique phenomena and it was wonderful to see companies rise beyond their sales struggles to unite for a common cause which was inline with their customers needs.

Dr. Yusseri gave a talk on his experiences in setting up the MAMPU masterplan and how some people decided to concentrate on just one sentence in the 1000+ sentence document and harp on the very hypothetical situation of preference to OSS. He was dissapointed that the very people who were harping on it never really read the document and the main message it was sending out. And that was ironically the true form of technology neutrality.

He said that eventually, all software would be free. The entire stack is going in that direction. Now Operating Systems are pretty much free, productivity apps are decreasing in costs, with very good alternatives available for free, and eventually CMS, ERP and other products will be available in the OSS landscape. All this will happen while incubents will continue to wrange, increase prices and involve themselves in anti-competitive behaviour. And yet OSS is inevitable and will be more of a "no-brainer" sooner if not later.

He was worried that Malaysia's contribution to Open Source projects is still miniscule. The number of contributors vs population is extremely small compared to countries like Australia which has an avid contributor community.

After his talk, there was a enlightening Roundtable talk. Representatives from MOSSA answered questions and discussed issues pertaining to the software market in Malaysia, Piracy, the confusion of Open Source and Standards and Respect for IP.

The result was a true understanding of the term Neutrality and the benefits it can bring to Malaysians with increased Choice, lower costs, and more freedoms.

With it came the position statement of MOSSA, which is available here:

"Position Statement on Software Neutrality and Openness" from MOSSA (Malaysia Open Source Software Alliance)

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