Deploying open source software is like hitting your head on a rock

On my first day of GNOME Asia, I was most impressed by the Vietnamese culture and people – I think it is one that meshes well with the open source community culture. One of those cultural traits is honesty and openness.

During the opening talks, the deputy director of the ICT Ho Chi Minh City government was very honest about the difficulties of switching to free and open source software. He talked about how he's spent the last five years trying to encourage more free software usage and has had a budget of $20 million. My favorite quote was "Trying to deploy open source software is like hitting your head on a rock. We hope the rock breaks soon." I sat next to him at lunch to learn more and hope to follow up further via email. During lunch I learned about the incubator program they have for startups and how those companies think it's safer to use .NET applications. However, after they are out of the incubator stage they have a hard time supporting their company off of support revenue.

Hopefully we can help them break the rock by showing them successful business models around free software and helping develop their pool of expertise by encouraging more students to learn and participate in free and open source software.