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All of Vietnam's Government Computers To Use Linux, By Fiat 380

Posted by timothy
from the power-to-the-people dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications has issued an administrative ruling increasing the use of Free Open Source Software products at state agencies, increasing the software's use both in the back office and on the desktop. According to the new rule, 100% of government servers must run Linux by June 30, 2009, and 70% of agencies must use OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Thunderbird by the end of 2009. The regulation also sets benchmarks for training and proficiency in the software. Vietnam has a population of 86 million, 4 million larger than that of Germany, and is one of the world's fastest-growing economies."
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All of Vietnam's Government Computers To Use Linux, By Fiat

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  • Fiat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rombuu (22914) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:53PM (#26361983)

    Man, I don't know.. they make some pretty crappy cars, I'm not sure I'd trust them to make a decent operating system distribution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fiat also means: decree: a legally binding command or decision entered on the court record (as if issued by a court or judge);

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:01PM (#26362097)

        A giant customized Starbucks in Cupertino California where lattes and no soy skim macchiatos are given out free to all employees. The background music involves a playlist of Nora Jones, David Matthews, John Mayer, and Bono on loop from an Ipod docked somewhere in the Apple/Starbucks facility. Hours are long but morale is surprising high as developers, hardware and software, are given 30 minute breaks to masturbate to the new itunes interface.

        All developers sit at cafe type tables with a Mac Book Pro while their lord and master Steve Jobs stands deskless in his predictable attire of a turtleneck and jeans. In fact, this is the preferred (mandatory) dress code at Apple. Jobs walks around to each and every department, separated by latte and vegan preferences, and checks on the performance and efficiency of his developers. At any given point in the day one may see Mr Jobs yelling at a programmer for not implementing a button in the perfect shade of corn flower blue (#6495ED) and immediately sends him to the apple punitive chamber, consisting of a HP Compaq running Vista Basic.

        There are 2 software development departments and 2 hardware development sections in Apple. For software there is the Apple core team, Apple Open Source team. In hardware there is the Apple systems and management team and the iDevice team. Since the OSX kernel consists of a BSD darwin kernel there is no real need for low level programmers and as such the entirety of the Apple core team consists of UI designers and photoshop junkies. All software churned out from the core team is designed in a program strikingly similar to Visual Studio's form designer but with Cocoa Objective C generated instead. The 16 hour day (Jobs demands 16 hour days since he himself never sleeps) of a core dev involves lining up the right shade of chrome with the latest photoshopped graphite button and maintaining the correct color scheme, not an easy job at all.

        The Apple open source team involves a little bit more coding, which is mandated to be done in TextEdit or the option of a $80 third party mac text editor. The Apple open source team doesn't actually create much code but searches the internet for interesting BSD licensed software and modifies it as it's own through obfuscation and conversion to objective C. Many of the items a mac user sees comes from the open source world stamped by apple such as the ability to play music taken from 67 different originally linux based players, CD burning, and the overall ability to click a mouse. Apple's legal department has no qualms about this practice and has assured many that since most of the code is BSD and if any is GPLed many Linux hippies should be grateful that Apple fostered WebKit by using KHTML and adding some Gecko bloat. Perhaps one of the most important items that the open source team has done to date is use parts of the FreeBSD to keep the kernel up to date.

        There's not much to say about the Apple systems and management team. I suppose they can be classified in to desktop and laptop systems. Because hardware work is beneath Apple in general and thought of being only worthy of Windows Users and as such can be found working on these beauties in the starbucks bathroom. Desktops are currently made by buying dell machines and putting them in Lian Li cases, where the majority of the costs goes to buying titanium Apple emblems to paste on the sides. Laptops consists of the rebranding of only the most silver and black Sony Viaos but talk has been going around about rebranding Asus EeePCs for a new Apple netbook but you didn't hear that from me, for fear of my life.

        The iDevice team's job is to develop for the ipod, iphone, itouch, and many other portable electronics apple may release in the future. Their jobs are very interconnected with the open source team as well as the core dev team. Using firmware from random samsung devices and giving it an OSX skin the ipod stands as a shining example that infringement only applies to greasy file sharers and that the music player remains the best in market

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        We Only Organize Special Heads

      • Fiat also means: decree: a legally binding command or decision entered on the court record (as if issued by a court or judge);

        Fiat also means:

        • Fix It Again, Tony.
        • Fucking Italian Automotive Trash.

        Ford means:

        • Found On Road Dead
        • Fix Or Repair Daily

        Vietnam has a population of 86 million, 4 million larger than that of Germany, and is one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

        So what the hell does that quote supposed to mean? Compared to the populations and economies of China or India, the rest of the world is chump change.

        Or will my next Porsche be a Viet-Porsche?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Ford fanbois claim: First On Race Day.

          Disclaimer: I am not a Ford fanboi.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wumingzi (67100)

          #include <truestory.h>
          I was in Turin over Christmas visiting some relatives by marriage.

          One of the relatives at Christmas dinner was a retired Fiat engineer.

          He told a story once about working on a seatbelt design. He sat at his drafting table for days. Nothing. The design eluded him.

          Finally, after five days of designer's block, he went home, plodded down to the basement, pulled out the 5 gallon demijohn of wine which is standard equipment in any well-appointed household in Italy, and poured a glass

  • hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:54PM (#26361985) Journal
    It's time to take the FREEdom out of FREE software!
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912) *
      The government is demanding open source software be installed on government agency computers. Nothing wrong with that.
      • Re:hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:15PM (#26362337) Journal
        No, but there is something wrong with requiring Linux. There are other open source operating systems, and some are better for some tasks than Linux. Treating Linux as a one-size-fits-all solution is almost as bad as doing the same with Windows.
        • Re:hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by maddskillz (207500) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:21PM (#26362437)

          But there is also something wrong with trying to support different operating systems and different office productivity suites.

          • sovereignty (Score:5, Insightful)

            by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:35PM (#26362685)

            Agreed. This is why Peter Quinn's sovereignty argument for OpenDocument in MA was so apt. It's not about Linux, but communicating lofty ideals like Free Software to government types is difficult. When you start talking about the ancient political documents like a constitution though, and government responsibility to preserve them in a neutral format, things become a lot clearer. Add in the Peruvian arguments for an openly competitive economy based around open standards in software, and it's clear that government's absolute responsibility is to choose free software and standards. So no, Linux should not be forced, but yes, free software should. Our taxes should not prop up individual corporations -- especially when that monopolizes their power and cripples other parts of the economy.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              "Our taxes should not prop up individual corporations -- especially when that monopolizes their power and cripples other parts of the economy."

              I agreed with everything else in your post, but here is where I have to disagree. Suppose the US government standardizes on free software -- do you really want tax dollars spent creating a massive government IT force, or would you rather the government contracted with Red Hat or Novell? It is not inherently bad for the government to contract with corporations --
              • Re:sovereignty (Score:4, Insightful)

                by CarpetShark (865376) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:22AM (#26370335)

                No, what I'm saying is that, at the moment, the government(s) largely prop up one organisation's development: microsoft's. When stuck with microsoft's closed apps, the best a contractor can usually do is script some macros for office, or write a plugin. Maybe an add-on app, if they're lucky enough that their use cases fit that model. However, with open, standards compliant, free software, anyone can develop new features, even for the core operating systems in use, or the core office suite in use. Redhat could be contracted to provide government with OS, but Ubuntu might be preferred for a future upgrade. Currently, we don't have this freedom.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hurricane78 (562437)

          Don't worry. To the officials, it's "this Linux thing" if it's not Windows and not MacOS X.

          And the ability to fit into everything is, I think, the point of Linux: The freedom to change it to your needs goes so far today, that Linux runs on the smallest handhelds and appliances, and on the biggest servers and supercomputers. In some way, there is no "Linux". There is just a set of kernels, userland toolkits, GUI desktops, and so on. Combined, they result in some Linux or BSD distribution... or something in b

          • Also (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kaiwai (765866)

            Lets remember that as part of becoming integrated into the economy - Vietnam will be told taht they have to crack down on piracy.

            Do they crack down on piracy and push up the cost of doing business in Vietnam by having all departments use Windows + Office, and thus all those who interact with the government having to have said software - or is it smarted to start off using opensource software now given that they are pretty much starting from a clean slate? They've made a good move - and I'll put money on it

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by donaldm (919619)
              By picking open source for the Vietnam Government this is the start of a trend that will snowball to the public and private sector since if anyone wishes to correspond with any Government department they will have to use open formats which is one step from saying "Oh stuff it why should I pay for MS Windows and proprietary applications when I can use a Linux distribution with cheaper or free applications and still get my business done and save money in the process".

              To those vendors who say. "My software d
        • Not just Linux (Score:5, Informative)

          by Taxman415a (863020) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @05:13PM (#26363335) Homepage Journal
          I know no one reads TFA but it doesn't actually mention anything about requiring Linux. That was your wonderful submitter that seems to have gotten that part wrong. TFA isn't even very clear if the requirement is even to change the server OS or just what apps are installed on it.
        • Re:hooray! (Score:5, Informative)

          by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @09:44PM (#26366951) Homepage Journal

          Treating Linux as a one-size-fits-all solution is almost as bad as doing the same with Windows.

          I disagree. While I think OpenSolaris and the BSDs are great operating systems and arguably work better than Linux in some contexts, if you want to pick just one OS there isn't ANYTHING that fits as many contexts as Linux. From embedded systems to big iron and everything in between, Linux works, and works well.

          Of course, there's more to the OS than just a kernel, and arguably the Linux kernel used in an embedded system *isn't* the same kernel used in big iron, even if it's build from the same source tree. And that argument also assumes there's value in picking just one kernel for everything. But if you do want to pick one kernel for everything, Linux isn't just a good choice, it's the ONLY choice.

      • I disagree. It's not strictly wrong, but it certainly is a slap in the face to the ideals that the OSS community seeks to champion. The community advocates choice: individual departments, at the least (individual user choice would be ideal, but impractical), should be able to choose what works best from them.

        Also, there's a great deal of humor value in having "free" and "by fiat" together in the same statement. Nothing wrong with recognizing the hilarity!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          Wrong. The government of any country has the right to determine what products (e.g. software) it wants to use. OSS ideals and philosophy do not extend inside organizations; I've never heard OSS champions running around screaming that different departments inside a corporation should have any freedom in choosing software. Governments and companies are led from the top; if the people at the top make a blanket decision, that's their right. OSS people are worried about the rights of users. "Users" means ei

  • Next up! (Score:5, Funny)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:54PM (#26361997) Homepage

    Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer take a S.E. Asian vacation...

  • Next week article. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:55PM (#26362017)

    Microsoft offers a new deal to Vietnam. Vietnam goes with Windows for 5 more years.

    I may be skeptical. Using the Linux card is a great way to get a better deal from Microsoft. The bigger you yell the better the deal.

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:08PM (#26362213) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, it's not like we haven't seen this story before. It's cropped up in South America and Africa. Microsoft always jumps in offering a steep discount and the organizations in question end up quietly changing their mind. It seems like the best way for a government organization to get a huge discount from Microsoft is to mandate Linux usage.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:12PM (#26362305)

      If they're bluffing M$, they just made a quick buck. If they're for real, they made a very wise investment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I may be skeptical. Using the Linux card is a great way to get a better deal from Microsoft. The bigger you yell the better the deal.

      Eventually though they won't be able to offer discounts anymore because they won't be making any profit. It's not a sustainable model. Sooner or later, Microsoft is going to have to eat cow.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jellomizer (103300)

        Microsoft isn't competing against free.
        They are competing against the price it will take to do a full switch to Linux vs the cost to stay and get new windows licenses.

        As Linux gets better that cost gets smaller. Their may be a point where it isn't profitable for Microsoft. But it is a case where the product is already made, and covered their cost in the US and other areas. Then they can go really low on the price for a while.

    • by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:30PM (#26362591)
      "Using the Linux card is a great way to get a better deal from Microsoft"

      Among the reasons cited [silicon.com] were:

      to reduce commercial software license fees,

      freedom from foreign-owned technology,

      greater security,

      curbing the number of infections from Windows-based viruses and

      to gain technological leadership on platforms relatively free of dominance by large multinational corporations ...
    • by wumingzi (67100) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @10:54PM (#26367491) Homepage Journal

      There's an issue that a lot of developing countries have.

      When you're at Vietnam's level of development, the piracy rate is astonishing. 99% of the software is pirated. All the software used at home is pirated. Most of the software used in government offices is pirated. Most of the software used in companies is pirated. Sometimes some do-gooder will wind up buying legitimate software, but that's really rare.

      MS knows this. Everyone knows this. In a country with a per-capita income of $1000 a year, there's simply not a dollar at the end of this conversation. Yell, scream, protest to the World Court. Nothing will happen. There's no money to take.

      So nothing happens.

      Development moves along. Cheap furniture and rattan baskets turn into power tools. Christmas lights turn into consumer electronics. Power tools become CNC machines. Consumer electronics become silicon fabs.

      Suddenly, you're not a dollar-a-day country any more. You've got real money. Moreover, your money comes from exports.

      At this point, Microsoft comes back again. This lax attitude towards intellectual property? Beggar countries are allowed to slip by. Middle-to-high income countries? Uh-uh.

      Your legislature is given a modest proposal. Produce intellectual property laws and enforce them, or the export-driven capital party comes to a grinding halt.

      You now have a nascent IT infrastructure in your government offices which was built on pirated MS software. What was winked at for years is winked at no more.

      Your IT managers now have a very expensive problem. Purchase licenses for every machine in government use, or retool for open source. Your choice. Both options suck.

      By starting on OSS early, Vietnam is making a smart choice which will save a lot of pain down the road.

    • Exactly my question. For a lot of uses, one of these can be a better choice than Linux. Mandating open source software means you don't get vendor lock in, but mandating Linux also means that you might well not be getting the right tool for the job.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I don't know about the submitter's sources, but the article referenced in the summary doesn't mention Linux, at all.
      • by fwarren (579763)

        Remember, to get "Most Favored Nation Trading Status". These countries are supposed to get their piracy rates down to under 10 or 20%. With software piracy at over 80%. Government is one of the major offenders.

        This is a solution to that problem. Not one that Microsoft is going to like living with. But hey, no one in Vietnam will be stealing Microsoft's precious IP.

  • !all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:58PM (#26362035) Journal

    All of Vietnam's Government Computers To Use Linux

    According to the new rule, 100% of government servers must run Linux by June 30, 2009, and 70% of agencies must use OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Thunderbird by the end of 2009.

    FTA:
    by June 30, 2009, 100% of servers of IT divisions of government agencies must be installed with open source software;

    I really doubt all of the Vietnam government's computers are servers. Also, Open Source does not neccisarily mean Linux. (not that BSD is a bad alternative)

  • Emerging Solutions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:59PM (#26362051) Journal

    Penguins?!? in Vietnam? It's a cold day in hell boys!!!

    Also, this bodes well for Open Source everywhere. Eventually all other countries will follow suit and the people will have government systems that work best for their diverse cultures, tailor made UIs and logic, that can also extend inventive solutions.

    Also knowing what is in the source code helps identify potential threats to national security.

    • Eventually all other countries will follow suit

      That's optimistic. Not many countries are big enough to influence others with a decision like this. Why should they care? This is less important that the fact they speak different languages.
      Also, this could be used as FUD by MS lobbyists "Linux is evil because it is being used by those communistic Chinese and Vietnamese."

      Better would be some international organization (NATO, UN, NAFTA) adopting it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      Also, this bodes well for Open Source everywhere. Eventually all other countries will follow suit and the people will have government systems that work best for their diverse cultures, tailor made UIs and logic, that can also extend inventive solutions.

      You BET! Every country on the globe (with the exception, perhaps, of Cambodia) is eager to follow in anything that the hip, trendy Vietnam does. Hell, I would be surprised if the United States can resist the trend, I predict they will issue a government mandate to run free software* by 2010!

      *Of course, don't hold me to exactly what that free software will be. The US Govt could, pretty easily, simply mandate that Microsoft Windows be given to them for free.

      • That would be bad for MS. There would be a key floating around that they couldn't justify deactivating.
    • by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:27PM (#26362545) Homepage Journal
      Also knowing what is in the source code helps identify potential threats to national security. I have been thinking the same thing, that has to be one of the biggest selling points of open source.
    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:33PM (#26362657) Homepage Journal

      Penguins?!? in Vietnam? It's a cold day in hell boys!!!

      Black Footed Penguins [wikipedia.org] (also known, according to Wikipedia, as "Jackass Penguins") would likely feel right at home there, seeing as how they are native to Africa. They have a couple in the zoo here, they keep them inside during the winter.

      When is somebody going to name a Linux distro "Blackfoot?" It would be HOT!

    • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:39PM (#26362763)

      Eventually all other countries will follow suit

      Are you suggesting there will be a domino-effect?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fwarren (579763)

      One of the big things that keep many Government agencies and large business from making the switch. They have not seen anyone do it successfully. The better Vietnam does this the more likely it is to have an effect in the west.

      Also, if they write any software that helps with this. If it is written as opens source it would be available to help other organizations switch. It all snowballs.

  • Lead time? (Score:4, Informative)

    by qoncept (599709) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:01PM (#26362093) Homepage
    Yikes, I hope no one was using SQL Server. 6 months to move every system to a new operating system? Moving one single system is a huge effort that most companies wouldn't even think about doing in such a short time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eleuthero (812560)
      don't worry, it's much more likely that cousin X will talk to cousin Y and cousin Y will pay off department supervisor Q and the entire Northeastern half of the country will get a 5 year "extension" for switching
    • Yikes, I hope no one was using SQL Server. 6 months to move every system to a new operating system? Moving one single system is a huge effort that most companies wouldn't even think about doing in such a short time.

      Technically, you could convert the Windows install into a virtual machine, install Linux and fire up the virtual machine with Windows installed on it, and you'd be in compliance. If I was one of the technicians responsible for implementing this, and knew I wasn't going to make my deadline, th
  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:09PM (#26362247)

    IMO, this is not necessarily good. Forcing free software on someone is not going to generate all good comments. In fact, forcing someone to use something, especially if they aren't used to it, usually generates more complaints - not because the new thing is actually worse, but simply because they are being FORCED to use it.

    I dunno. I like using Linux and I think it's a good alternative to Windows, but forcing people to switch doesn't really show Linux to be a "good alternative," doesn't make people want to use it on its own merits, etc... it makes it look more like a financial move, not a "This is better software" move.

    • "IMO, this is not necessarily good. Forcing free software on someone is not going to generate all good comments"

      Beats forcing people to use software through the use of MOUs [mofa.gov.vn] and when was the last time you can provide a citation for, when management consulted people on what software they used?
      • I am going on the assumption that they were previously using Windows. I didn't read the article.

        Assuming they were using Windows, forcing the switch from Windows to Linux is a pretty big switch... for most non-geeky people anyways.

        I'm looking at this from a user-perception-of-Linux/open source software and how this might affect it. If the switch were reversed, I'm guessing the consensus that being forced to use Windows when people are used to Linux would create general dissent against Windows because of

    • by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:24PM (#26362481)
      The company you work for most likely dictates many of the tools you use. This is no different.
      • I'm not saying they don't have the right to say what to use. I'm saying that the switch may produce undesired perceptions about Linux. Just like forcing a bunch of PC users to use only Macs would do the same about Macs. People just don't like being forced to change, and when they are forced to change (being hired new is a bit different from having been there and THEN undergo a big change), their perception about what they are newly being required to use is generally colored with the dislike of being forc

    • They may bitch about it, but in the end they become more proficient and more likely to use it in the future. I work with a dude who loves perl and java with a fervor that would match a die-hard mac fan. In the end, he programs most of his personal stuff in php because that's what he uses here at work.
  • by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:10PM (#26362263)
    EDGI [edge-op.org] is a customer-focused program that is for circumstances (like the one you reference) where an education and/or government customer is going to purchase naked PC'S or PC'S w/Linux ..

    under NO circumstances lose against Linux .. "
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:17PM (#26362361) Homepage
    The Communications Ministry of Vietnam is running ASP.net on Windows Server 2003! oh the ironing! [netcraft.com]
  • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:19PM (#26362407) Homepage

    I think open standards are much more important than open source software. The ability to use your favorite program to get a certain task accomplished without having to worry about compatibility problems is worth much more than wether you use open source or not. I would much rather use Pages instead of OpenOffice if it only would support ODF, for instance.

    • "I think open standards are much more important than open source software"

      Straight out of the MS FUD manual. Like, let then use 'free' software as long as they us our Intellectual Property and Patent dues. When does your shift on slashdot finish ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tsa (15680)

        When does yours? I really don't get what you're on about. Have you read the rest of my post? Have you realized that in the real world there are things more important than open source software, like, for instance, getting work done?

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd DOT bandrowsky AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:29PM (#26362579) Homepage Journal

    If you go to any asian country, you find stacks and stacks of CDs and DVDs filled with mislabelled stuff from Microsoft to Universal studios. So, the thought of Vietnam actually paying for a bunch of Windows licenses just seems rather remote to me.

    I would be willing to bet that Microsoft has been quietly watching Windows get rolled out all across Vietnam, knowing that, they don't have but a dozen licenses for the entire country, and a million copies of Windows, and just let Vietnam build all of their infrastructure on top of it.

    Then, once they see the Vietnamese are hooked, they sent in a salesteam to ask them to pay for it, or they will shut the country down. Vietnam of course issues its edict, but both they know and Microsoft know, that Vietnam now belongs to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

    Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon both roll over in their graves, and somewhere, on a dark night, the leaders of Microsoft enjoy a drink to celebrate the triumph with Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney and the Bushes. "Hey, we might have f--- up in Iraq, but we finally won Vietnam."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mgblst (80109)

      Your an idiot. Do you see a difference between what people see on the street, and what the government buys?

  • According to the new rule, 100% of government servers must run Linux by June 30, 2009, and 70% of agencies must use OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Thunderbird by the end of 2009.

    So wait... first you switch everyone's Operating Systems, which is a bitch to get used to, and then, half a year later, you try to get them to use OS application suites?

    What do they use from June 2009 to December 2009? "Microsoft Office for Linux"?

    • Wait - "servers". I suppose individual work-stations will stay on Windows until later. That makes sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The instruction also requests that computer traders not sell PCs installed with cracked software, but open source ones.

    Nobody buys software in Vietnam. Seems they got some heat from software vendors for not going after "piracy", and now they're trying to enforce the only alternative to cracked software, i.e. free software.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:33PM (#26362655)

    According to the new rule, 100% of government servers must run Linux by June 30, 2009, and 70% of agencies must use OpenOffice.org,

    I guess it's time for Steve Ballmer to catch the next flight to Hanoi with cash and incentives in his briefcase. If this approach worked in the past [infoworld.com] why shouldn't it work one more time?

    Go Ballmer go!

  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:35PM (#26362691) Homepage
    Good thing software will be free. My mom only lets me spend $5.
  • Change Hurts
    Big Changes Hurt in Big Ways
    Small Changes Hurt in small Ways

    Linux in Vietnam is the bandaid, some choose to remove them slowly, some, quickly.

    Either way the bandaid comes off.

    Communist and Socialist nations tend to be able to handle the big changes quicker through mandate while capitalists tend to peel slowly. TO each their own, I for one avoid getting cut in the first place...

    • "Communist and Socialist nations tend to be able to handle the big changes quicker through mandate while capitalists tend to peel slowly. TO each their own, I for one avoid getting cut in the first place..."

      A novel and unique critique of dialectical materialism. The only real world experiment in communism collapsed under its own inefficiencies. As I recall, you couldn't even get razor blades in Moscow ..
  • no minister .. :) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:39PM (#26362765)
    I wonder when 'Le Doan Hop' the Minister of Information and Communications, is going to be relieved of his job and trashed in the press.

    "I'm sure you'd like to hear from Peter Quinn, formerly CIO [groklaw.net] of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
  • But there's something to be said for diversity. Find one vulnerability in one system and you've found a vulnerability for all.

  • What does this have to do with Fiat [wikipedia.org]? Is everyone in Vietnam going to be driving Cinquecentos soon?
  • by aapold (753705) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @04:59PM (#26363137) Homepage Journal

    Why?

    Charlie don't surf! [wikipedia.org]

  • by Tracy Reed (3563) <treedNO@SPAMultraviolet.org> on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @05:20PM (#26363455) Homepage

    They've been talking about this for years. I worked in Vietnam for a year three years ago and still visit a couple times a year and they were talking about it even then.

    But so far I have never seen a computer running Linux there that I or a Linux user friend of mine didn't set up myself. And I am completely unable so far to find the actual text of the proclamation that says that they will use Linux. Nor have I been able to contact anyone who knows anything about it. They are probably just looking for leverage against Microsoft.

    Why is it that nobody ever links to the actual text of the legislation or proclamation?

    I really do hope they mean it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gujo-odori (473191)

      I lived and worked in Viet Nam as well (2003), and while I did see some computers running Linux there, they were all in the hands of individuals, except for a couple of LAN servers I did admin work on (one at my employer, another at one of our customers).

      At the time I was there, two things about most computers in government office were very noticeable: 1) They were really old, and 2) Many of them were running Windows 9x, not 2000 or XP. Getting from there to modernity is probably easier with Linux, especia

  • hey, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toby (759) * on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @05:34PM (#26363707) Homepage Journal

    Dumbasses tagging this 'communism' - it's nothing to do with communism - more like COMMON-SENSE-ISM.

  • by D H NG (779318) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @07:13PM (#26365161)
    I've been observing the growth of Vietnamese-language software for the past decade, and I have to say that open-source growth have been outpacing proprietary growth. In a country where the piracy rate tops 90% [bbc.co.uk], major software companies don't see much incentive to support the Vietnamese language. With more than 80 million speakers, the Vietnamese language has about 8 times as many users as Swedish, a commonly supported language. The repertoire of open-source software supporting Vietnamese grew from virtually nothing in 2003 to support in most major Linux applications in 2009. This includes some of the most common Vietnamese-language keyboard drivers such as Unikey [unikey.org] and even expanded to the fast-growing Vietnamese-language Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]. At the same time, Vietnamese-language support among proprietary software barely grew; IE still doesn't have a Vietnamese-language version, and Word does not have a Vietnamese spellchecker. The only notable exception to this is Yahoo!, who has a dominant presence [vietnamnet.vn] in the online market.

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