United Nations Joins Open Source

By Blane Warrene

The United Nations is beginning to put its formidable capabilities into the open source community, initially through its International Open Source Network, which operates in the Asia-Pacific region.

The division calls itself a center of excellence for free and open source software offering educational materials, public sessions with speakers (including Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation) from the open source sphere and acting as an advocate for open source technology in general in the region.

The mission is put forth clear as a vision to reduce the digital divide where Linux and open source solutions serve as an economic alternative in scenarios where budget dollars are tight.

Open source has certainly proved over the last decade that operations large and small can deploy sophisticated platforms without the significant cost of proprietary software licensing. These efforts were mirrored by Sun Microsystems in releasing an open source Solaris. At today’s conference call announcing Open Solaris, Sun representatives (including CEO Scott McNealy and prodigal son Tom Goguen, back fresh from a stint with Apple) stated that in part the motivation in bringing the OS out free and open source is to provide enterprise-class capabilities in developing countries where software licensing costs can stifle development and innnovation.

This is certainly fascinating seeing the UN in part fund this activity and perhaps we will see the seeds of this effort begin to spring up globally within the groups operations.

  • Nice to see open source finally being targeted at people/regions that need solutions that currently have nothing, rather than people/organisations that have closed sourced solutions and should change because of the benefits.

    Remains to be seen how effective it will be though. Having to train regions of people in first using computers, then getting them used to linux/open source combinations will be a very daunting task.

    That said, this is why some organisations like to hire people straight out of university. That way they dont inherit any bad habits learnt at other organisations. If people are learning computers from scratch, and start with the so called “hard” systems first, its the only thing they’ll know from the start, hence would be off to a very good start (if the initiative works that is)

  • bdogg

    Heres an article about how Brazil is scrapping windows for opensource and trying to get other countries to follow. Is this the down fall of the windows monopoly?


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