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Use of open source software in govt offices, e-govt projects suggested
FE Report

Speakers at a brainstorming seminar Wednesday said the government should use open source technology in all its offices while trying to implement various e-government projects.
Mentioning that open source technology is very much suitable for introducing e-governance in poor countries like Bangladesh, they said the government needs to adopt a policy right now to procure open source software in implementing e-government projects considering the cost effectiveness of this technology.
The speakers made the observations at a seminar on "Open source: A software development alternative" at the city's Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre (BCFCC) on the sidelines of a five-day mega software exposition, BASIS SoftExpo-2005.
The seminar was also told that specialised training on open source technology and creation of the trained people are very crucial in adopting this pro-poor technology.
The speakers urged BASIS to arrange the specialised training required in this regard while the aid organisations have been urged to use open source in their aided project apart from distributing relevant study material as education aid.
They, however, identified limited resources like slow bandwidth as well as ignorance about this technology as the main reasons for the slow adoption rate of open source here and said media can play a pivotal role to make the people aware about the open source technology.
Former BASIS (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services) president A Towhid chaired the seminar where Senior Vice President (SVP) of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) M Rezwan Al Bakhtiar presented a keynote paper.
Morten Kjaersgaard, Director of Magenta, Denmark, attended the seminar as special guest. Among others, the seminar was addressed by Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) president SM Iqbal and Associate Professor of the BRAC University Dr. Mumit Khan.
IBBL's SVP M Rezwan Al Bakhtiar said, "The primary benefits of open source lie, not surprisingly, in its openness. Being freely available, it lowers the costs of acquisition, but more importantly, with the right to see and modify the code, companies find themselves in the unique position of being able to tailor their software to the way they run their business".
He also said that for implementing e-governance as well as e-banking projects open source is very effective and suitable.
Morten in his speech said open source is not only suitable for the countries like Bangladesh, it is also very much useful in the developed countries.
Adoption of this technology can minimise different project implementation cost significantly, he observed.
"But," he said, "if the government doesn't support this technology, the whole situation can be vulnerable".
SM Iqbal said open source is not only a pertinent issue for Bangladesh, it is, in fact, a growing concern worldwide.
Many governments in the world have already adopted policies to use open source as their main operating system, he said, adding that Bangladesh, too, should follow in their footsteps.
"The sooner we cope with the open source system, the better since it is free and very much economic," he opined.
Currently, the Support to ICT Taskforce under the Ministry of Planning is using and encouraging open source in their different projects.