According to Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Information and communication, open source products and solutions have been used in state agencies in information portals, document management, district-level one-stop-shop public services and email systems.
Forty three out of the 63 provinces and cities have installed and used open source software. It is estimated that 7300 officers have been trained in the plan to build up the labor force to support the open source software application.
In many localities, open source solutions have been developed and utilized by the local budget. Quang Nam province, for example, has 90 percent of electronic information websites of the local state agencies developed onJoomla open source. Meanwhile, two districts and three departments in the province are using the one-stop-shop software based on Drupal open source.
Tuyen said that Vietnam encourages organizations and agencies to use open source software because of its outstanding advantages. It is clearly more economical to use open source software than close sourced software which is always very expensive.
However, despite the great advantages, open source software still has not been utilized in a large scale. There are only 30 institutions providing open source software in Vietnam, which all have small scale, limited capability and lack cooperation.
Experts have urged the State to make announcements about its clear and consistent viewpoint on using open source software. It is necessary to point out the right direction for open source software in Vietnam to follow: either the application of workstations, servers, specialized business applications, embedded open source on device, or all the four.
The joint consultancy unit C3S-DTT which acts as the advisor to the Ministry of Information and Communication on how to develop information technology and communication in Vietnam, has suggested some solutions to push up the utilization of open source software.
First, the State needs to propagandize its clear notes about the use of open source software. For example, in order to ensure the data security, it is advisable to use open source software for back-end systems (DBMS, OS for servers) in order to avoid the reliance in information infrastructure on close source back-end solution providers.
Second, state agencies draw up the annual estimates on software product procurement as types of regular expenses, and submit the estimates to competent agencies for approval
Third, it is necessary to build up the documents guiding the way to calculate the total investment costs of software products. Especially, institutions and businesses need to be shown the method to assess the investment efficiency for at least five years.
Fourth, it’s necessary to build up the tariffs on packaged software imports and collect tax on the imports.
Fifth, it would be better to approve the state budget allocation to the open source software built up to clients’ orders with no fixed total investment capital limitation.
Sixth, open source software needs to be brought into universities by setting up the required indexes of the number of computers on the number of students, considering this a criterion to assess the training quality of the schools.
Seventh, open source software would be utilized in 100 percent of public service kiosks.
Meanwhile, Le Trung Nghia f-rom the Vietnam Free & Open Source Software Association (VFOSSA) has called to lay down a policy that forces state officers to use open source software. Those, who do not obey the policy, would bear punishment. Especially, Communist Party’s members would be expelled f-rom the party in case they make heavy violations.