M'sia govt touts 95 percent OSS adoption

Some 95 percent of Malaysia's government agencies have adopted open source software (OSS), but the remaining 5 percent have not warmed to the concept--and is unlikely to anytime soon, according to a government official.
During her presentation at the GovTech 2010 conference here Thursday, Tan King Ing, deputy director of ICT policy and planning at the Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), said some 400 government agencies in the country have adopted OSS. The Mampu was set up in 2002 as part of the government's ICT masterplan, to explore the use of open source software (OSS) in the public sector.
While open source adoption efforts began in earnest in 2004 with 50 agencies, implementation figures began ramping up sharply in 2008 when the Mampu introduced migration and documentation support to move government workers from proprietary office software to OpenOffice.org, said Tan.
In 2008, the Mampu said 281 agencies had adopted OSS. By mid-2009, this figure rose to 71.1 percent.
Elaborating on the 5 percent that have not adopted OSS, Tan said these are "very small and far flung [user groups], without much IT resources or personnel". She noted a lack of enthusiasm on their parts regarding OSS because of the need for expertise to perform the migration.
She added that during a Mampu survey of government agencies, this 5 percent of users also indicated that they did not plans to adopt OSS in the future. And the Mampu is not expecting them to, either, Tan said.
Path to open source self-sufficiency
Describing the Malaysian government's path to OSS, she said most government agencies infrastructures were standalone proprietary legacy systems that did not interoperate.
The start of the initiative was also marked by "so much skepticism" toward OSS, prompting Mampu to drive five pilot projects to spread user acceptance, she said.
She added that, on hindsight, governments looking to follow in Malaysia's footsteps would better manage by adopting a broad implementation roadmap, including preparing proprietary business partners for such a significant change.
With the large majority of government bodies currently on OSS, the Mampu's next goal is to help these agencies achieve self-sufficiency so that they would be able to support their own OSS implementations, and write their own in-house applications, said Tan.
"We want Malaysia to become a technology producer, rather than exclusively technology consumers," she said.