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Friday, August 29, 2008

Malaysia formally embraces Open Document Format

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia
Monday, August 13, 2007 09:15 PM

The Malaysian government today announced plans to adopt open standards and the Open Document Format (ODF) within the country's public sector.

The Malaysian Administration Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) last week issued a tender for a nine-month study to evaluate the usage of open standards in its information communications technology (ICT) deployment. The study will also look into how the Malaysian public sector should migrate to open standards and the ODF, according to the Malaysia Open Source Software Alliance (MOSSA).

"The decision taken has been deliberated carefully for a considerable amount of time, and much thought process has been put into it," Nor Aliah Mohd. Zahri, ICT deputy director general at MAMPU, said in a statement.

"These discussions centered on open formats, particularly as they relate to office documents, their importance for the current and future accessibility of government records, and the relative 'openness' of the format options available to us," Nor Aliah explained.

The study will document the benefits of open standards, suggest policies and guidelines for achieving openness and provide a roadmap for implementing the ODF in Malaysia' public sector, added MOSSA.

The country unveiled its intentions to consider the ODF as a national standard for office documents in July last year. A month later, Hasannudin Saidin, a technical committee member of Sirim, the country's standards development agency, said on his blog that the proposal would have to gain approval from a higher-level committee within Sirim before it could proceed.

In July this year, Japan became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to embrace open software standards. Last August, the United Nations urged countries in the region to adopt the ODF.

Published by OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), the ODF--or Open Document Format for Office Applications--is an XML-based open standard, enabling any office software to format, save and exchange file documents such as spreadsheets, databases and text.

Malaysia's schools get

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 07:20 PM

The Malaysian government has unveiled plans to roll out in schools across the nation--a move that will affect some 300,000 PCs.

Announced Wednesday by the chief minister of the state of Terengganu, the initiative will see all 467 schools in the Malaysian state using the open source office suite from January next year.

Some 100 schools in the state are already using, after the first phase of deployment began in January this year, according to a statement from the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). MAMPU is a government agency that was set up to study the feasibility of implementing open source software in the public sector.

The decision was made based on case studies of other government agencies in the country, which have had successful implementations, Khairil Yusof, a MAMPU spokesperson, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview.

Noting that increased security and knowledge-sharing were some of the positive findings of these case studies, Yusof said: "[The] open source deployments were not affected by viruses. The case studies also highlighted that staff were able to build their skills and knowledge due to the wealth of free information and tutorials associated with open source technologies available on the Internet."

The savings on licensing costs were an added draw for the government's decision to embark on open source deployments. MAMPU said: "Combined, [government agencies] have saved millions of ringgit for licensing fees [with the] expenditure now spent [elsewhere] to provide better public services."

Already an open source supporter
Yusof noted that open source software is not new to Malaysia's government agencies. Melaka, Kedah, Pahang and Sabah have adopted Melaka and Kedah at the forefront having done so since 2003, he said.

Overall, 281 agencies nationwide have adopted open source software, according to MAMPU.

"The migration at the agencies in which MAMPU has assisted, have had positive results," Yusof added, citing successful implementations at the Ministry of Human Resources and Meteorology Department as examples.

"The Ministry of Human Resources has migrated over 2,000 users with very few problem reports… To date, over 10,000 seats in over 15 agencies have fully migrated [to open source software]," he said.

He noted that news of the move to has caught some by surprise, because of the lack of fanfare accompanying each deployment.

"Some have been [involved] since 2003 with little information shared [publicly]... [so, it seems as if] suddenly [people] are finding out that entire states are moving [to open source]," Yusof said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ICT Penting Demi Majukan Daerah Tertinggal

Achmad Rouzni Noor II - detikinet

Tarian Penyambutan di Papua (hayid/detik)

Papua - Dirjen Postel Basuki Yusuf Iskandar mengaku sangat antusias jika diminta membuka akses teknologi komunikasi informasi (ICT) di daerah terpencil. Ia yakin peran ICT sangat penting untuk memajukan daerah tertinggal.

"Peran ICT sangat penting untuk kegiatan belajar dan mengajar. Dengan adanya akses internet, peluang daerah untuk mengejar ketertinggalan terbuka luas," ujarnya usai memberikan donasi komputer dan akses internet di 12 sekolah di Papua bersama XL di Sentani, Papua, Rabu (20/8/208).

Ia berpendapat, minimal diperlukan tiga langkah untuk memajukan daerah melalui ICT, yakni ketersediaan akses telekomunikasi dan internet dengan tarif kompetitif, kualitas layanan yang bisa diandalkan, serta pembentukan karakter sumber daya manusia.

Basuki berterimakasih atas bantuan komputer dan akses internet. "Internet hanya alat, punya dua sisi, baik dan buruk. Jadi, peran pendidikan sangat penting untuk menjaga ICT agar tetap di sisi yang baik. Sementara, operator juga tidak boleh lepas tangan setelah memberi bantuan akses, harus terus dibina," tandasnya.

Ayo majukan dgn ICT, bukan hanya soal pengadaan komputer, bikin lab komputer, pasang wireless ke daerah2, tapi yang penting, bagaimana kontinuitas pembelajaran menggunakan media komputer dapat terjadi terus.