Vietnam opens up to open source

Greater use of open source software will help Vietnam build its own software industry more rapidly and promote creativity among local developers, delegates to a software seminar in Vietnam have concluded.

Around 300 local delegates and 20 representatives of overseas companies and organizations attended the recent seminar in the capital Hanoi.

According to a government report of the seminar, delegates concluded that Vietnam can save hundreds of millions of dollars annually and better guarantee information security by switching to open-source software from commercial proprietary products.

"Local software producers could benefit from the world's latest, free of charge technological methods for satisfying demand," the report said. "This process is crucial in the context of the globalization of software making and is consistent with Vietnam's ambition to tap the global market."

The report noted that there is still a shortage of open-source expertise in the country as most computer specialists began by using some form of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows OS.

Recently, open-source software has been included in the country's National Program on IT. According to the report, some of the country's largest IT largest companies like FTP Corp. have begun open-source projects as part of sub-contracts with foreign companies, and most Web developers are using Linux to power their sites.

Commercial software developers have always pointed to Vietnam as one of the worst offenders when it comes to pirating software. About 97 percent of software in use in the country is estimated by the Business Software Association (BSA) to be pirated, and illegally copied applications are openly on sale in computer markets in the larger cities.

In the past, BSA members have threatened to withhold product support and investment back from Vietnam unless the piracy situation improves.

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