Nguyen Hong Quang, Chair of the Vietnam Free & Open Source Software Association (VFOSSA), said that there are too many problems that have been putting big difficulties on the Vietnamese open source software community.
Quang said that the biggest problem now is the lack of the legal framework on information technology (IT) services, including the regulations on the norms relating to open source software.
“In the world, open source software can live well not on the licenses, but on the services. However, in Vietnam, there has been no regulation on the norms of INT services in general and open source software in particular,” Quang said.
“As a result, there is no basis for open source software firms to define and collect service fees,” he added.
To date, the development of open source software has still been carried out based on the voluntary basis, i.e. people develop open source software to contribute to the community.
“Firms have to dodge the laws through different ways in order to survive,” he concluded.
The State has vowed to develop the open source software utilization at state agencies, but it has not set up a mechanism which allows cooperating to push up the development. The Ministry of Information and Communication alone would not have enough power to settle the problem.
For example, the officers, who implement the project on developing open source software at state agencies, would have to ask for the Ministry of Finance for money. Meanwhile, only the Ministry of Education and Training can provide skilful officers needed for the project. The involvement of the Ministry of Interior Affair is really very important to ensure that open source software can be used among servants and officers. Outlining the orientation for the national software development is the task of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Nevertheless, the ministries did not have effective cooperation, which has resulted in the tardiness in the promulgation of necessary legal documents.
Quang has also pointed out that the national standards for open source software are still lacking, urging the Ministry of Information and Communication to set up new regulations on open standards, open platforms, SaaS (software as a service) and cloud computing for government sector – the factors needed to ensure the effective application of open source software.
Admitting that the promulgated legal documents still have limited impacts on the development of the industry, Do Truong Giang f-rom the Information Technology Department said that his ministry is making great efforts to speed up the building up of the legal framework.
Giang said that Vietnam would focus on four fields in the time to come, including the applications on the workstation, on server, professional applications, and open source embedded on the device.
Giang mentioned the proposal to force state agencies, society and business community to use open source software. However, he said that the proposal proves to be unfeasible, because if such a regulation is set up, this would violate the antitrust laws. Therefore, the government would encourage the use of open source software by applying reasonable policies.
Quang, at the recent meeting with the officials f-rom the Ministry of Information and Technology, suggested a cooperation program between his association and the ministry. VFOSSA would get involved in the process of building up the legal documents relating to the open source software, join forces with the ministry to conduct the surveys on the applications of open source software at businesses and assess the annual open source software index.