OPEN-SOURCE software adoption is set to experience a steady growth in Malaysia, said open-source technology solutions provider, Red Hat Inc.
According to a report titled The State of Open Source by industry analyst firm Gartner, more than 90% of enterprises worldwide will be using open-source solutions by 2012.
In Malaysia, it is estimated that the number of companies opting for Linux-based solutions will experience about a 15% compounded average growth rate between now and 2012, said Daniel Ng, director of marketing for Red Hat Asia Pacific.
“Even now, there is a total of 936 implementations of open-source solutions in Malaysian Government agencies,” he said in a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur recently. Government support
Michael Tiemann, Red Hat’s vice-president of open-source affairs said Malaysia is one of the top countries that have implemented open-source solutions well.
He said the Malaysian government has taken open-source technology seriously by setting up the Open-Source Competency Centre, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Administration and Modernisation Planning Unit (Mampu).
“There are individuals taking responsibility for specific initiatives in the open-source circle and the initiatives are strengthened with strong promotion by the Government and the players in this sector,” he said at a press briefing after a meeting with Government officials in Kuala Lumpur.
Tiemann and Ng said the World Wide Web and the effort by companies to lower operational costs are driving the adoption of open-source solutions in Malaysia.
Tiemann said the emergence of the Web became the greatest driver of open-source solutions.
“The Web is already an open-source solution and it has become a platform to distribute a collection of inventive applications,” he said.
At the enterprise level, Tiemann said open-source solutions allowed companies to modify and build solutions that best suit their needs.
“Proprietary solutions may offer the same features but they don’t give users the licence to modify the source codes to fit their needs,” he said.
Ng added that the current financial crisis is also a blessing in disguise for Red Hat and other open-source players.
“A little more than six months ago some companies we approached shied away from open-source, but now the same companies are coming back to us to weigh the possibilities of running open-source solutions,” Ng said.
Given the great acceptance and execution of open-source technology in Malaysia, Ng said Red Hat will increase its efforts to develop the sector in the country.
“We are interested in bringing the open-source collaborative initiative to Malaysia to help solve two problems — the lack of business solutions as well as technical skills in open-source technology,” Ng said.
Ng added that once these foundations are laid, the open-source movement will be more active in Malaysia.
He said open-source can enable independent software vendors (ISVs) to develop more business solutions thus solving the first hurdle.
Red Hat, Ng said, is working with the Government and agencies like Mampu to help the ISVs understand how open-source tools can enable them to develop more homegrown solutions like MyMeeting.
“The digital world calls for a different kind of investment. It’s not ringgit and sens but collaboration and relationship building,” he said.
Ng said Red Hat is also making itself heard in institutes of higher learning to ensure that there is a sustainable talent pool of people to work in open-source technology.
“We launched the region’s first open-source Masters degree with UniSim (University Singapore Institute of Management),” he said.
Red Hat also plans to beef up its operations in Malaysia to give back to the local open-source community, Ng said.
One of its approaches is to bring the open-source collaborative innovative initiative (OSCII) to open up open-source technology to the masses.
Such initiatives will help the masses understand technology better and then make better decisions, Tiemann said.
“If they understand technology they can control technology instead of being controlled or limited by technology,” he said.