Vietnam: Will be 100% Open Source

I know this isn’t exactly “new” news, (it’s 2 days old and has appeared on /. I understand) but to me it is really important and should be shouted from the rooftops.

VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Information and Communications has issued an instruction on using open source software products at state agencies.

Accordingly, by June 30, 2009, 100% of servers of IT divisions of government agencies must be installed with open source software; 100% of staffs at these IT divisions must be trained in the use of these software products and at least 50% use them proficiently.

Get that! 100% of servers be installed with FOSS (I wonder if they will use Ubuntu?) by the middle of this year.

I mean WOW! Somebody tell Gordon will they?

The article goes on to discuss the desktop, although I guess some of the clarity has been lost in translation but:

Open source software products are OpenOffice, email software for servers of Mozilla ThunderBird, Mozilla FireFox web browser and the Vietnamese typing software Unikey.

The instruction also said that by December 31, 2009, 70% of servers of ministries’ agencies and local state agencies must be installed with the above open source software products and 70% of IT staff trained in using this software; and at least 40% able to use the software in their work.

The above agencies are requested to increase the number of documents and information exchanged among them processed by the above software. By December 31, 2010, all staff at these agencies must be able to use open source software in their jobs.

This is pretty amazing. A sovereign government, mandating the use of FOSS and open standards for document exchange too. And let’s not forget that will bring massive benefits to the Vietnamese citizen. No longer will they have to go and buy, or possibly pirate (see below about cracked software), copies of proprietary software to exchange documents. They can all happily go and use Free Software safe in the knowledge that their government will be able to accept their documents.

I’d like to see what happens if you sent Gordon a letter in ODF?

There is a final, short sentence to this news item that also made me sit up and take note:

The instruction also requests that computer traders not sell PCs installed with cracked software, but open source ones.

BANG goes the Microsoft TAX in Vietnam.

Congratulations to every one who made this happen – I dread to think how much lobbying must have gone on behind closed doors before they got to this point. Can you imagine how M$ must have reacted???

And please pass this story on. I believe this is an announcement worthy of spreading far and wide.

Here’s the URL in it’s full glory: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tech/2009/01/822425/.

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