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Open source has strategic role: Malaysia
The Malaysian government has reaffirmed its support for the use and development of open-source software, saying that it has a strategic role.
Open source software gives the chance for Malaysia and other developing nations to boost their economies through ICTůTherefore, it is only natural that the government should now be examining the strategic role that we can play to encourage the adoption of open source by the entire Malaysian infocommunications industry Amar Leo Moggie, Minister of Energy, Communications and Multimedia, was quoted as saying in a report by official news agency Bernama.

The government was conducting pilot studies to better understand the problems and benefits of migrating to open source, in addition to creating centers to promote and provide training on open source software, he added.

He was speaking at Free and Open Source Software Conference 2003 held in Malaysia this week. Speakers included Jon Maddog Hall, president of Linux information group Linux International as well as David Axmark, co-founder of open-source database software firm MySQL.

Moggie said a clear government policy on open source software would encourage the civil service to deploy open source solutions and stimulate the use of open source in the wider economy. The government encouraged the civil service to evaluate and procure open source software wherever possible, he said.

An over-reliance on foreign "proprietary software" would hurt the country. To build better software for tomorrow, we need to understand exactly how today software works he said. We are limited to being users of the software and are consumers of somebody else productůMalaysia has little chance of being a world leader in proprietary software.

Previous reports have said that the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has a personal interest in open source software and has urged the civil service to adopt its usage.

Malaysia is among several Asian countries promoting open source software as operating systems such as Linux and OpenBSD.

In addition to using open source software to increase national information technology skills and to gain a greater information security through the inspection of the source code, governments also see its promotion as a way of gaining a bargaining advantage with foreign vendors of proprietary software, such as Microsoft and Oracle.

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