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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Public - Private Partnerships for Open Source

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are much discussed these days by governments everywhere. The connection between innovation, growth of IT industry and PPPs will be one focal point for the work of the Open ePolicy Group 2.0.

In addition to my work on PPPs, I have been looking for examples of governments with PPP initiatives related to open technologies (open source, open standards, open architectures).

Today's example: Vietnam.

Vietnam's Central Committee for Science and Education has signed an MOU with Intel to jointly set up an OpenLab for the development and testing of open source software. Testing laboratories are nothing new, for Intel or other global IT companies. Labs focused on open source software are less widespread, but a growing trend. By partnering with the private sector, such PPPs can help governments overcome common concerns about the security and reliability of open source. And this PPP will produce the goods. In the end, Vietnam expects to install open source on 27,000 of its public sector PCs.

If you think this is simply about Vietnam luring a big investment from Intel, think again. Vietnam's government is intent on accelerating growth of its domestic IT industry and its e-government efforts. Vietnam is a government with a plan -- an official plan -- a National Plan for Open Source Software Development and Application. It is investing $20 million of its own money to develop open source locally.

What is driving this effort? As an official from Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology put it, "We are trying step by step to eliminate Microsoft."

Do you know of other PPPs focused on open ICT? The Open ePolicy Group would love to hear about them. Post a comment here to share it.

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