Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Open Minds launched

With an aim to putting an end to traditional closed model software like Microsoft, an advocacy group called "Open Minds" formally launched today their organization to promote the use of free and open source software in government and businesses. Letting the people/consumer and software developer that they have a choice to use another software.

Open Minds stated its members "have come together to engage in a sustained effort to promote free and open source software on the pragmatic grounds of reliability, cost, efficiency, the protection of personal privacy, national security, and the freedom to share knowledge as a community."

"We have been planning this since early 2002," said Emmanuel Amador, Open Minds spokesman, "but we decided we had to come out now in order to counter the propaganda and misinformation being spread by Microsoft about open source."

"Open source software is the intelligent alternative," he continued. "It is enterprise-ready and will help jumpstart the local software development industry. For example, Linux, an open source operating system, is free, mature, stable, and secure, and can be freely modified. In contrast, Microsoft's Windows operating system is prone to crash, susceptible to viruses, cannot be modified by users, and is very insecure."

The group noted that the cost of acquiring and maintaining proprietary software for large organizations such as universities, local and national governments, and private enterprises, has become prohibitive, even when it is heavily discounted.

Open Minds revealed that many individuals, organizations, and even governments have become aware of the difficulty of tracking and avoiding programs that may be embedded in proprietary software which can be used to compromise privacy and security also known as ("spyware"). "This is a potential threat to national security and our right to privacy," Amador noted.

Finally, the group pointed out that licensing and intellectual copyright restrictions make it almost impossible to examine and reuse existing proprietary software code in order to produce derivative or customized software or to improve existing proprietary software, thus forcing developers to spend valuable time and resources "reinventing the wheel."

Open Minds announced that the group's General Objectives include:

  1. To promote the use of Open Source software in the Philippines by all sectors, especially the government, educational institutions, NGOs, and the general business sector.
  2. To provide a forum where individuals, organizations, and companies engaged in the development, marketing, training in, and promotion of open source software can coordinate their activities in order to present a unified, coherent message.
  3. To lobby for the adoption of a pro-open source software policy in the Philippine government.

Open Minds counts as its members some of the country's leading proponents of open source software. These include the Philippine Linux Users' Group (PLUG), Cebu GNU/Linux Users Group (CeGNULUG), Bluepoint Institute of Higher Technology, Q Linux Solutions, Inc., QSR Inc., the Distributed Development Network (DDN), the IT International Group, and Filipinos for Reform and Empowerment through Education, Entrepreneurship, and Electronic Media (FREE3).