Vietnam's Communist Party switches to open source

Vietnam’s Communist Party plans to switch its 20 000 desktop computers nationwide to open-source software next year, avoiding problems with copyright infringement, state media said on Friday.

Microsoft has stepped up efforts to reduce software piracy in Vietnam, where an industry group has estimated more than 90% of all software is counterfeit, sold widely on bootleg CDs for about $2 each.

To avoid breaching the law or paying hundreds o f dollars per licensed programme, the ruling Communist Party has announced it will replace Microsoft Office with OpenOffice, a free software product, VietnamNet reported.

“Accordingly, by the end of 2008, all 20 000 desktops at party organs throughout Vietnam will be installed with OpenOffice,” the news site reported.

“The project will start early next year ... beginning at the central level,” a party technology official said, asking not to be named.

Other state agencies, such as Ho Chi Minh City’s departments of trade, post and telecommunications, and science and technology are already using OpenOffice on a trial basis, the report said.

Trade group the Business Software Alliance has said more than 90% of software sold in Vietnam is fake, among the highest rates in the world.

Vietnam, a fast-growing emerging-market economy, joined the World Trade Organisation in January, increasing pressure on the country of 84-million people to adhere to global standards on intellectual copyright protection.—Sapa-AFP

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