Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Open Source in Malaysia

There have been quite some "perspective" given to the recent annoucement of Malaysia's Goverment initiative to move to OSS.
Here are some links :
And here is my view :
Whether you go for OSS or proprietary software, you still need somebody to build the software. Isn't that still a lockdown ? Isn't that you still have to pay someone to build it ?
Given all the source codes and documentation, does your programmer have all the skills required to make the code changes or to add features ? I believe most people have download some open source application. But how many of you actually go through the source code and documenation in details ? How many of you understand all the bits in such details that you are so confident you can make changes to the code without breaking other part of the software ?
People claim anybody can fix code and patch security error in OSS. But do you really trust the code that is patch by someone that you don't even know and how can you be certain that it is a quality patch?
By adopting OSS software, you can update and make changes to the software at your own pace ? Do you ever have the chance to update your software application at your own pace? Well, you could do it, but perhaps when you are done, you already miss some critical business deadline that render the software useless.
Well, "There is no need to follow the foray to follow the rest in having to upgrade".  I think the issue of upgrade is more of a process rather than a trend. Just because your proprietary vendor release a new version, doesn't mean you need to upgrade as soon as it is available. You should consider your business need and not the version number attached to the software when thinking about upgrade. "Proprietary vendor" like Microsoft, when they release new software, of course they encourage people to upgrade and buy new version because it certainly offer new features advantage and more advance technology, and I think it applies to all other vendors as well. But does Microsoft ever point their gun at you forcing you to upgrade ? I have see NT4 boxes that are still running fine and no urgency to upgrade.
Support issue. Of course OSS has their community web site and forums for discussion. There will be people who will help you there somehow. But who is the ultimate person that is responsible for the software issue ? You might not even know where the OSS software come from. I recently face a issue when deploying a Microsoft product. I contact the local MS subsidiary, on the same day, they escalate the issue to PSS, the PSS engineer contact me and we solve the issue in just 2 email correspondence in less than 2 days. The whole process of support is well documented and done professionally.
Another good point that Marauderz made. I just want the software to work and do the work that I want it to do. Why should I bother with downloading the source code, download the compiler that can compile the code, and go through the documentation for the steps of compiling it. Where does productivity go here ? My parents have no ideas what kernal and compiler is. All they know is double click setup.exe, then goto Start->Programs -> blah blah blah...
So much more points to make, but I think Marauderz have speak the crucial one. I guess I should just stop ranting here.
All the points above set aside, I does support OSS as a platform to share knowledge and no denied that I have learn from some of those source code. But moving  from one technology strategy to another require more thinking that you could think off from the surface.
What is your opinion ?


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