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Srinivasan explained: "These organizations might perceive commercial software to be more dependable in terms of support services, as compared to open source software."
Beyond the technology debate
Red Hat's Pillay believes it is important not to turn the discussions into a debate that pits one technology against another.
"The point is that it is not about open source per se," he said. "It is not [about] a proprietary market versus an open source market. It is about a single market that should rightfully be empowered to do things and not be constrained by proprietary interests. It is about being able to access and yet retain control of one's content, whether newly created or acquired. It is about rehash, or mashing up contents freely without being asked to pay a bundle. It is about being able to do as one feels with stuff one has acquired--music, video, software and so on."
"The point is that it is not about open source per se... It is about a single market that should rightfully be empowered to do things and not be constrained by proprietary interests."
-- Harish Pillay, Red Hat Asia-Pacific
The focus, Pillay added, should be on "growing the commons", where people can use private rights to create public goods. He explained: "It is about entrenching the concept and philosophy of the Creative Commons in Singapore. Creative Commons Singapore is slated for launch in December, and I recommend focus on that."
The lack of activities from the Singapore Open Source Alliance is, perhaps, also reflective of the state of the open source market. In 2005, a nine-member industry alliance, led by Resolvo Systems, was formed to promote open source software adoption in Singapore. The other members are Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Novell, Red Hat, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
According to Yap, not much is happening today with the Singapore Open Source Alliance. "There has not been much traction since [the alliance was formed]. Part of the reason is because the enterprise market in Singapore is still not ready or open to consider adopting open source," he said.
But all is not lost in Singapore, and others have a more bullish outlook.
Neeraj Shaabi, country manager for IBM Singapore's software group, said: "Open source has certainly built too much interest to be ignored any more.
"It is certainly expected to accelerate," Shaabi added. "Many organizations are getting past the 'discovery phrase' and real adoption is beginning to take place. The industry is certainly promoting it and a broad and real adoption is beginning to take place. The industry is certainly promoting it and a broad line of solutions from most vendors are being supported."
According to Novell, open source adoption will also increase as companies see established software companies step up support for this market.
Tham Joon Nam, Novell's business strategist for Asia West, said: "There is growing consensus that open source technology provides better security compared to proprietary products. However, reliability is still a major concern for companies in Singapore."
"With big players such as HP, Dell, IBM and SAP certifying open source software, the industry is recognizing the reliability of open source," Tham said.
He noted that the key factors affecting the adoption rate of any technology is its ease of use and level of available support. "With the growing adoption of open source software, there is now greater demand for talent to support the platform," he said. "Novell has addressed this by introducing Linux training programmes in academic institutions and enabling partners to provide Linux training here in Singapore."