VietNamNet Bridge – It was not the right time to request state agencies to use open source software five years ago. And it is not the right time to do this now. It is because of the lack of the supporting technical staff.
Open source software program fails
According to Vu Duy Loi, Director of the Communist Party Central Committee Office’s Informatics Center, in 2004-2005, the office joined forces with Netnam and CMC to utilize open source software for the computer network within the Party’s agencies.
To date, this remains the largest system utilizing open source software in Vietnam.
In 2006, the open source software on document management was developed and experimented successfully.
However, the product has never been put into use because of many reasons, including the lack of the technical maintenance staff.
“Five or ten years ago, utilizing open source software at state agencies was an impossible mission because there were not enough favorable conditions,” Loi said when explaining the failure of the project on cooperating with IT firms to develop open source software.
However, no improvement has been made over the last five years. “It is now also impossible to use open source software for state agencies because of the lack of the technical supporting staff,” Loi said.
As such, the problem not only lies in the quality of the developed open source software products, but also in the lack of the technicians in charge of ensuring the smooth operation of the systems.
Loi has called on the management agencies and IT firms to gather strength to develop the workers with good skills in open source software instead of focusing only on developing software products for business.
Tran Gia Long, Director of the Vinh Phuc provincial Information and Communication Department, also said that the open source software program still cannot be implemented in a large scale in the locality.
Long noted that not everyone can use open source software. By the nature, open source software is the community’s product. Therefore, those, who do not have deep knowledge about information technology would not be able to update and use the new versions of the software products.
Still nurturing hope
Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication, admitted that it is not easy to utilize open source software in daily works because of the open source software community remains weak.
There has been no official report about the number of the open source software community’s members in Vietnam. The Vietnam Free and Open Source Software Association (VFOSSA) has gathered 100 members, mostly small businesses. The number proves to be too modest to generate a real open source software community.
VFOSSA does not include a lot of big software firms, including the international ones like Intel, Yahoo or Google, which have been applauding the development of open source software.
Despite the big challenges, Vietnam is still determined to speed up the implementation of the program on utilizing open source software at state agencies.
Some open source software groups or clubs have been set up on the voluntary basis, gathering the members who love open source software. NukeViet, for example, has attracted 30,000 members.