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Vietnam: 100 percent open source by 2010?

Country's government sets an ambitious goal for its software operations, mandating that products such as OpenOffice.org, Thunderbird, and Firefox be installed before July.

Market research firm Gartner recently surveyed enterprises throughout the world and found that 85 percent are using open-source software.

Using open source for isolated applications, however, is not nearly ambitious enough, according to the Vietnamese government, which is now setting a target of 100 percent open-source adoption within the government by December 31, 2010, according to a policy paper (Word document) issued by the Vietnamese government and reported by VietNamNet Bridge.

To get to that 100 percent goal, Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications has mandated that open-source software products such as the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, as well as Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail software and Firefox Web browser, be installed on all government machines, starting with IT departments, by June 30.

Open source is not new to Vietnam, which has been promoting open-source adoption since at least 2004, as Network World reports, within its universities in an effort to develop its local software economy.

This thinking is consistent with advice I've given before in Russia: the best way to develop a local software economy is to keep the software local, rather than shipping rubles (or dong, in Vietnamese currency) back to the United States.

Regardless, this is a very ambitious project by the Vietnamese government. It will be interesting to track its progress and to place bets on how long it will take to get a Microsoft operative on a plane to try to change Vietnam's mind on the matter. I think it's likely that someone from Redmond is already sitting in a bureaucrat's office in Vietnam, making a plea for Windows.