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Open-source applications gaining ground across Asia

Computerworld Philippines staff | July 9, 2008
Reception toward open source technology has been very positive across Asia, the top executive of a Philippine-based global software and engineering services company said.

CICT aims wider availability of ICT advancements to provide the country with quality education, efficient government service, and greater sources of livelihood. For instance, in an effort to resuscitate the 2005 "PC ng Bayan" initiative pushing low-cost PCs to the general public, the CICT closed a deal with Intel last month for "Nettop ng Bayan," a similar project that offers Intel's Nettop -- an open source-run desktop computer which costs less than PHP 10,000.

On a much larger scale, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established the International Open Source Network (IOSN) in 2003 to promote the adoption of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) open standards and content in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2006, the IOSN released an Evans Data Corporation study that showed a 40 percent increase in the number of open source developers in the Asia Pacific region from 2003-2006. The report said that nearly 70% of all software developers in the region have used open source modules in their applications.

Regional businesses are also starting to opt for open source over licensed software to cut costs. Examples are the Hong-Kong based steel conglomerate Van Shung Chong Holdings Ltd. and the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), which have deferred purchasing licensed software in favor of open source products. Van Shung Chong Holdings Ltd. started migrating its server software to Linux in 2002, saving as much as US$100,000 in IT costs. IDBI was reported to have decreased its IT budget by 70 percent after deploying open source software.

"Open source brings the software game to a totally different level. Who would have thought that relatively small startup companies such us ourselves would compete head-to-head with the big boys who have long established themselves in the software industry?" said Damarillo, who has founded several successful open source technology startups -- including Gluecode Software and LogicBlaze, which were later acquired by IBM and Iona Technologies, respectively. "And who would have suspected that it truly will free companies of all sizes from the limitations imposed by traditional licensed software?"

Exist actively campaigns for the widespread adoption of open source technology although it delivers projects on all mainstream platforms across the Asia Pacific region. The company recently co-organized the Philippine Open Source Summit (POSS).


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