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North Asia open-source group firms up plans
CNETAsiaNov 17 2003
Posted by giova
The three North Asian countries in an alliance to develop an open source alternative to Windows moved a step closer to concrete action on Friday at a meeting in Osaka, Japan.
The three North Asian countries in an alliance to develop an open source alternative to Windows moved a step closer to concrete action on Friday at a meeting in Osaka, Japan.

According to a report in the Asian Wall Street Journal, officials from the Japan IT Services Industry Association, the China Software Industry Association and the Federation of Korean Information Industries announced the creation of bodies in each country that will manage the three-partner collaboration.

The three groups are umbrella organizations for over 1,000 companies, according to other reports.

The groups will adopt a policy of listing all the bodies working on open source in each country for a contact database and to work on open source solutions for specific industry areas, such as embedded operating systems, corporate logistics and human resources.

Among the missions of the new alliance: Lobbying their governments give more financial support to open-source software, by using more of it in the civil service or by funding pilot projects.

They will also work on sustainable business models for an open-source software industry.

The group will meet again Beijing in March, Sapporo in July and Seoul in November, said the AWSJ.

At the same Osaka conference, Japanese electronics firms Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC announced that they will found a Japan-based forum to promote the use of Linux in industry. A total of 18 bodies, including universities and appliance makers, will join the forum.

Although the announcements come shortly before eve a visit to Japan by Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, the group has been keen to stress that they are not anti-Microsoft, according to the reports.

The North Asia group's aim is to decrease national reliance on software they have no control over, either in source code or the prices charged for it, a Japanese official told CNETAsia in an earlier report.

Today, commericial open-source desktop operating systems such as those that use Linux just don't make the grade, a senior Japanese official told CNETAsia in an earlier report.

The problems include a poor font set for Asian languages, missing Linux device drivers and the lack of management tool for large-scale deployments of Linux PCs.

Microsoft's official stand has been to decry forced Linux deployments, saying it removes end-user choice, and that the commercial software model benefits local economies.

Through the sponsorship of the Asia Open Source Symposium and other regional activities, the Japan government has invested millions in supporting open source groups in the region.

By doing so, Japan is helping both the local economies and its own manufacturing industry, for which embedded operating systems are vital, said the official
 


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