FOMCA – Malaysia Promote FLOSS Instead of FreeDOS or NoOS on PCs

The government has been working hard to promote use of GNU/Linux and FLOSS in government but a consumers’ group is agitating to encourage local dealers to sell GNU/Linux and FLOSS instead of NoOS or FreeDOS on PCs to undercut illegal copying of that other OS.

“This project aimed to encourage the distribution of Ubuntu Linux instead of FreeDOS on new low-cost computers in order to provide consumers with free and open source software and thereby also reduce piracy. Many low cost computers that do not include Microsoft Windows are instead distributed with an operating system that is called FreeDOS which is free clone of the 30+ year old pre-Windows operating system, MSDOS.

Normally a consumer who buys a computer with such a system will delete the FreeDOS and installs a pirated copy of Windows to the computer, being oblivious of any free, legal alternative. Since open source softwares are a good free alternative, was proposed that a campaign should be done to educate the consumers to move from FreeDOS to Linux which is an open source operating system which is modern and fully featured and can be used instead of Windows. By doing so, the consumer is not at a disadvantage when trying to use the computer and also helps in reducing piracy which is the usual solution for most. Since the Malaysian government also supports open source software, FOMCA also looked at collaborating with the local open source community members to promote the use of free and open source software among Malaysian consumers.”

see FOMCA's project to encourage PC vendors to distribute a usable free operating system | A2Knetwork.org.

A survey of the public about experience with PCs and FLOSS during an educational campaign is here. It looks as if 22% of the public have purchased FreeDOS PCs but very few have purchased or even knew about FLOSS. It looks like Malaysia is fertile ground for FLOSS. The educational campaign was tiny in scope but definitely needs to be expanded. From the look of happy faces, GNU/Linux is just what many folks need.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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20 Responses to FOMCA – Malaysia Promote FLOSS Instead of FreeDOS or NoOS on PCs

  1. ram says:

    When I was doing some consulting for a government agency in Japan, every machine I saw (which was quite a few!) was running one version of Linux or another. They have their own versions over there, many based on RedHat.

    Likewise when I worked in the Philippines one hardly saw a Microsoft system or a Mac. I regularly work with IT developers based in Thailand and Korea. Talking with others it is my understanding that Linux is overwhelmingly the predominant operating system in Asia.
    Of course, the People’s Republic of China has Red Flag Linux which is actively supported by the central government.

    People tell me these places never went the Microsoft route because early versions of Microsoft had very bad Asian language support and their graphics didn’t support Asian language characters, thus Microsoft was never entrenched.

    Separately, my company website server which we’ve had in operation for 15 years or so hardly ever sees any Microsoft operating system or browser traffic from Asia. Microsoft is pretty much a US and British phenomena with some penetration into (corrupt) EU governments.

  2. Yonah, writing from remote China, wrote, ” I haven’t seen one single desktop Linux machine in use at ANY government facility be it a police station, immigration checkpoint, tax office, or transit system. Not a single one.”

    Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is owned by the government of China and has 20K GNU/Linux servers which it switched from SCO UNIX OS. Those servers are GNU/Linux terminal servers running the sessions for client PCs. They run TurboLinux but RedFlag is used at Agricultural Bank similarly.

    Maybe Yonah should get out more.

  3. Yonah says:

    “Governments are huge users of IT.”

    Once again, I reiterate, I haven’t seen one single desktop Linux machine in use at ANY government facility be it a police station, immigration checkpoint, tax office, or transit system. Not a single one. If Linux is being used it’s hidden away on a server where nobody sees.

    I don’t get that from the “Internet”, but buy poking my head around AND asking questions of people who know. I openly invite you to Shenzhen (I was previously in Beijing) to prove me wrong in person. I even saw a MAC running Windows XP, but I wasn’t able to find out of it was emulated or they completely wiped out OSX.

    The Word Doc is a FLOSS propaganda piece written by a “true believer”. Don’t get suckered by the agenda-soaked pundits. Hit the streets and see for yourself.

  4. oiaohm says:

    In fact the csis document shows a slow but growing tide of FOSS. It also shows that FOSS is down right stubborn.

    That the web stats don’t show it don’t mean its not happening.

    Now why would you not detect this from non china based survey sites. China has the great china firewall that does deep packet inspection and runs proxy servers and runs filters.

    China has a nice big road block around it.

    Chris Weig government policy tracking makes up ground survey data.

    Ground survey data shows that FOSS is like water moving a mountain. It does not appear to at first but this does not mean its not happening.

  5. Chris Weig wrote, “I’m pretty sure the universal statement that Linux has at best 1 or 2 percent market share can be made for all Asian countries,”

    In the face of adoption by governments and their school-systems? Governments are huge users of IT.

    “It has been argued, however, that it may be more reasonable to calculate the market share in terms of sales volume than in terms of sales revenue. If so, the market share of the desktop Linux had been as much as 33 percent in China in 2007, which is so encouraging. (Sirius 2008)”

    see Against Intellectual Monopoly: Free Software in China

  6. Nice find, oiaohm. Look at the Battle for Argentina:
    “Argentina
    Legislative Mandatory Apr. 2001 Failed
    Article 2 of the Bill 5613-D-00, known as the Bill of Free Software V5, stated: ―The Executive Power, the Legislative Power, decentralized organizations and companies where the National State is a majority stockholder, will use for their systems and IT equipment only free programs (software).‖ After being reviewed by several committees, the bill expired in March 2002.
    1
    Argentina National Information Technology Office & National Information Office Advisory Mar. 2004 Approved The two institutions, which coordinate IT policy and implementation, announced that they promote Linux in all applications in public administration. The rationale for this decision is lower costs, creating local employment, and security.
    2
    Argentina Legislative Mandatory Mar. 2002 Failed The Bill of Free Software V5, mandating OSS in all federal government agencies and companies in which the state is the majority stockholder, was reintroduced as Bill 904-D-02 in March 2002, the same month that the previous bill (5613-D-00) expired. In March 2004, it expired before passage.
    3
    Argentina Legislative Mandatory June 2004 Failed After Bill 904-D-02 expired in March, Bill 1280-D-04 was introduced in June 2004. It was the third attempt to pass the Bill of Free Software V5, but it also expired before passage
    4
    Argentina Legislative Mandatory 2008 Proposed A new bill would make the use of open source software throughout all government institutions and offices mandatory. Currently, it is provided only per the request of officials.
    5
    Argentina Ministry of Labor R&D Oct. 2008 Approved Argentina‘s Ministry of Labor approved EnterTECH, a public-private collaborative program that trains citizens in open technologies.
    6”

    Wintel dies hard there.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Chris Weig
    –I’m pretty sure the universal statement that Linux has at best 1 or 2 percent market share can be made for all Asian countries, as it can be for the whole world. Therefore they must use something else. What could it be? Perhaps Windows?–

    Chris Weig again attempt to put facts on the record with no documentation to back statement.

    I kinda would suspect Linux usage would be a little higher particularly in countries like Singapore were you get a tax break for using Linux.

    http://csis.org/files/publication/100416_Open_Source_Policies.pdf

    Note the large cluster of governments with pro FOSS policies in the asia area.

    Due to government actions you would expect spikes around EU and Asia.

    Ground data does not agree with your assessment that it should be the same as the USA. Chris Weig.

  8. Chris Weig says:

    I’m pretty sure the universal statement that Linux has at best 1 or 2 percent market share can be made for all Asian countries, as it can be for the whole world. Therefore they must use something else. What could it be? Perhaps Windows?

  9. oiaohm says:

    Besides the issue is a completely different one.

    Freedos still does not have UEFI support. I really don’t know how you would do proper secured boot with Freedos.

    UEFI+GPT is going forwards. That really causes dos some issues designed around MBR ideas.

    Chris Weig Thailand is way different to Malaysia. Malaysia does have active copyright enforcement. Started 2009.

    So store selling counterfeit will risk being done in Malaysia. Not minor-ally either. All assets ceased as profit from crime.

    Malaysia illegal copy drop exactly lines up with the start of official enforcement.

    Singapore has local mostly nailed these days. Copyright infringement entering Singapore is by import and Internet not local shop sales.

    Chris Weig Asia is a true mixed bag. Some countries tough effective enforcement like Singapore.

    Some like Malaysia where enforcement is common just not fully effective yet. But is quickly working that way.

    Some like Thailand where it lax. And some like china where is up and down depending on the current person in charge of enforcement.

    Chris Weig really you don’t know Asia that well if you think you can guess what is going on in Malaysia by what is happening in Thailand.

    Singapore its an offence to have chewing gum without medical reason.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewing_gum_ban_in_Singapore
    If you try to apply universal to asia you will land in jail travelling through there.

  10. Chris Weig, insulting Thais, wrote, “Thai people certainly don’t bother with Linux.”

    Nope. GNU/Linux is no bother at all for them. They manufacture GNU/Linux PCs and sell them all over the world.

    Here’s a “raid” in Thailand of a computer shop. The raiders were turned away empty-handed after demanding bribes. In the comments one writer states that raids had caused people to clean up their acts and that a number had switched to GNU/Linux.

    With such harassment being common, I can see shop-owners being careful about legality.

  11. Chris Weig says:

    I never visited Malaysia, but I’d be very surprised if it weren’t the same as in Thailand. There you will find plenty of computer stores where you can buy very illegal proprietary software — Windows, Office, Photoshop and so on — for two or three Euros on legit-looking CDs/DVDs, complete with working cracks if need be. Thai people certainly don’t bother with Linux.

  12. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    ‘very few have purchased or even knew about FLOSS’

    Reads like your usual “the world is ignorant” editorial to me.

  13. I was summarizing data from the article I referenced.

  14. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    ‘You are the one who brought up the Mall.’

    Which was mentioned for the sole reason of responding to the following speculation from you:

    ‘It looks as if 22% of the public have purchased FreeDOS PCs but very few have purchased or even knew about FLOSS.’

    Seriously, Mr. Pogson, stop playing games with me.

    ‘Again, that video demonstrates industry and recycling/re-using, all stuff of which I approve for which GNU/Linux is ideal. No evidence of illegal copies there at all.’

    Looks like your yarn has just spun out of control there.

  15. TEG wrote, “Shopping malls similar to Low Yat can also be found in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, etc. That’s probably news for some guy who tries to understand the world from the comfort of his home in Winnepeg, “

    Not at all. I bought stuff in places like that 40 years ago in Saudi Arabia.

    Again, that video demonstrates industry and recycling/re-using, all stuff of which I approve and for which GNU/Linux is ideal. No evidence of illegal copies there at all.

    Further, according to BSA, illegal copying is down quite a bit in Malaysia from the average emerging market country.

    USA: 19% illegal copies 31% admit to using illegal copies
    Malaysia: 55% illegal copies 78% admit to using illegal copies.
    Brazil: 53% and 46%
    Saudi Arabia: 51 and 57%
    China: 77% and 77%

    So, Malaysia is a poster-child for propriety and on the right path, using GNU/Linux. legally.

  16. You are the one who brought up the Mall.

  17. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    Your very well set-up spam filter has eaten my comment again. May I suggest you to take a serious look at how such things are supposed to be done properly?

    ‘I imagine the government has limited that kind of stuff with a raid. No way to escape from a tall structure like that…’

    So that’s the closest you can get to actual leg work – some news picked up by Wikipedia, regurgitated without source, which you then proceed to copy and paste onto your blog without hesitation. Is there a single thing you do that is not this underwhelming and predictable?

    If you actually knew what you were talking about, you would notice that, in Kuala Lumpa, there is this place called “Petaling Street” where bootlegs of all sorts are sold. But since your international insights are mostly limited to this fantastic Internet resource we call “Wikipedia”, it’s hardly surprising that you instead end up spouting another speculative piece of nonsense as shown above.

  18. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    ‘I saw no sign of that in the video. People seemed to be buying name-brand stuff. It was quite impressive but I imagine some of those PCs would come preloaded with something legitimate.’

    Really, Mr. Pogson? Really? Seriously, get yourself a plane ticket and do some leg work before giving me this kind of nonsensical, ill-informed, knee-jerk response.

    Low Yat Plaza is one of the most popular “lifestyle” mall in Malaysia. What the video shows you are mostly the bottom few floors, which mainly deal with cell phones and general gadgetry. The top two floors, on the other hand, are where more IT-centric stuff are sold.

    Shopping malls similar to Low Yat can also be found in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, etc. That’s probably news for some guy who tries to understand the world from the comfort of his home in Winnepeg, Manitoba, but to those who are actually familiar with the region, it’s just general knowledge.

  19. TEG wrote, “People go to one of these place, pick the parts they want and then either build the machine on their own or ask the shop to build it for them. In most cases, the OS itself is an optional thing, FOSS or no. If they want Windows, pirated or no, that’s their conscious choice.”

    I saw no sign of that in the video. People seemed to be buying name-brand stuff. It was quite impressive but I imagine some of those PCs would come preloaded with something legitimate.
    “In November 2006 the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs raided Low Yat Plaza and Imbi Plaza, confiscating more than 27,000 copies of pirated computer software and movies.”

    see Wikipedia

    I imagine the government has limited that kind of stuff with a raid. No way to escape from a tall structure like that…

  20. That Exploit Guy says:

    ‘looks as if 22% of the public have purchased FreeDOS PCs but very few have purchased or even knew about FLOSS.’

    Have you seen one of those computer malls in the Asia Pacific region?

    People go to one of these place, pick the parts they want and then either build the machine on their own or ask the shop to build it for them. In most cases, the OS itself is an optional thing, FOSS or no. If they want Windows, pirated or no, that’s their conscious choice.

    Again, try and do some leg work before spouting another bit of speculative nonsense.

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