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Getting to Know Free Software and
Open Source and Some of the
Common FUDs About It
Nah Soo Hoe (nsh@pop.jaring.my)
Malaysian National Computer Confederation
MNCC Open-Source SIG
About the Speaker
Council member Malaysian National
Computer Confederation (MNCC)
Founding member of Malaysian Open-
Source Group, MNCC-OSSIG, PIKOM-
OSSIG
Chair, SIRIM Technical Committee on
Information Security Standards
Independent consultant in areas of:
➢ open source development
➢ information systems security
➢ e-communities deployment using OSS
Presentation Will Cover
What is open-source software (OSS)?
Importance and benefits of open source
Common FUDs on OSS
State of OSS in Malaysia
The way forward
What is Open-Source Software?
Free Software
Freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and
improve the software.
Freedom to run the program, for any purpose
Freedom to study how the program works, and adapt
it to your needs
Freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others
Freedom to improve the program, and release your
improvements to the public
Access to the source code is needed to realise most of
the above.
Open-Source Software (OSS)
Term "free" can lead to negative marketing
connoctations especially to business and corporate
users.
[How can anything be good if it is free (i.e. has no
monetary value to it)?]
Term open-source software was coined to refer to free
software.
Other Categories of Software
Freeware - Non-chargeable copyrighted
software
Shareware - Software delivered without charge
but continued usage subject to payment
Proprietary Software - non-Free Software
Public domain Software - non-copyrighted
Reference:
Free Software Foundation
www.fsf.org
Relationships Among the Categories
Source: http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/categories.html
Free/Open-Source Software Licensing
Free/Open-Source software licensing falls
into 2 main types:
Copylefted
Non-copylefted
Copylefted Software
What is there to stop someone from converting a free
software to non-free software?
Copyleft is used to prevent this.
Copyright a software and add in certain distribution
restrictions to prevent conversion into non-free.
Anyone who redistributes the software, with or
without changes, must pass along the freedom to
further copy and change it.
Guarantees that every user has freedom.
E.g. GNU General Public License (GPL) - free
software and copyleft license
Linux is distributed under a GNU GPL license.
Non-copylefted Software
Much more permissive licensing than GPL
Permission to redistribute and modify
Permission to add additional restrictions to its
further distributrion and modification
This means that it is possible for someone to take
such software and make it proprietary with or
without modifications.
e.g. X11 (and XFree86) license, BSD License,
Apache License
Importance and Benefits of
Open Source
Importance of Open Source
Freedom to learn, redistribute and enhance
Prevents single vendor and technology lock-in
Promotion and preservation of open standards
Peer review and feedback will lead to:
➢ More robust and reliable software
➢ Better security and faster bug fixes
Promotes environment for positive competition,
self-learning, exploring and co-operation
Benefits poorer societies - affordable and
accessible software running on affordable
computers and networks
Promotes an environment which a society (like
Malaysia), striving to become a technology-driven
one, should have:
Ability to "look under the hood" and learn
Condusive for technical and system development
Ability to learn, innovate and invent (LIVE)
Encourages positive competition, self-help, and
mutual co-operation
Less dependence on software and technologies
where we can have no control/say
Benefits of Open Source to Developing
Countries
For Malaysia, open source provides unique
opportunities to:
Local developers to learn and participate in systems
software development
Build up a critical mass of good coders
Produce localised versions of software
Stimulate and build up the local software industry
Promote a research-based mind-set for both public
and private sectors
Benefits of Open Source to Malaysia
Open Source Usage - Server
MySQL PostgreSQL
Apache PHP Zope Perl Python
E-Commerce E-Business E-Community
Others ....
FreeBSD Linux OpenBSD
Operating
Systems
Development
Platforms,
Middleware,
Databases
Applications
Apache Tomcat JBOSS
Networking Services
Open Source Usage - Desktop
XFree86 (X-Windows)
KDE GNOME
Ximian OpenOffice Mozilla KOffice GNOME-Office
FreeBSD Linux
Operating
Systems
GUI and
Windowing
System
Applications
Networking Services
Common Fears, Uncetainties and
Doubts (FUDs) Regarding OSS
No Accountability
FUD: Developed/maintained on best effort basis,
volunteers, no single party fully accountable
Fact: Tightly knit developer community. Legally
established non-profit foundation or normal
businesses supporting the software
Fact: Most close-source software licenses come
with disclaimers - exempt the vendor from any
liabilities arising from the use and misuse of the
software
Open source has basically same level of
accountability as close source!!
No Support
FUD: No technical support
Fact: Software author may not offer support but
support available from many sources:
Local vendors
User communtities worldwide
Internet resources
Fact: Commercial proprietary software users still
mainly rely on local vendor for support
Not Secure
FUD: OSS insecure as source code is available
Fact: Inavailability of source code does not mean
vulnerabilities cannot be discovered - use
modern debugging and software development
tools
Fact: Source code availability facilitates:
Scrutiny by many people to flush out
weaknesses in design and code
Independent check and 3rd party audit
Hidden Backdoors
FUD: Possibility of hidden backdoors in OSS
Fact:
Possible but not vulnerable if download
software from well known/trustworthy sites
Ensure software secuirty checksum
corresponds with published value
Ability to examine source and re-compile
Fact:
Commercial proprietary software known to ship
infected with virus and backdoor
Backdoors possible in close source too and
more difficult to detect
Not User-friendly
FUD: UNIX-legacy - CLI, need to remember
archaic comands
Fact: Possibilly true in the past. In recent times
GUI Windowing system very much the default
interface.
Fact: User has a choice of using either GUI or
CLI to run most of the applications where
applicable
State of Open Source in Malaysia
Server Deployment
Internet web, mail, DNS servers for many
organisations, attracted to the $0.00 side of OSS
Popular in small to medium-sized business
organisations and non-profit organisations
May be set up and configured by vendors not well-
versed with the software and so may not be set up
properly or securely!
Main platform used: Linux running Apache, OpenSSL,
BIND, Sendmail, PHP, MySQL
ISPs
Corporate Deployment
Awareness is there, many questions still being
asked
Still locked in by close source in most cases
Not officially sanctioned to use open source but
technical people in IT dept may put in some non-
critical apps running on OSS or use open source
security applications e.g. snort, nmap
Senior management mind-set is now open at
least, so if can demonstrate enough advantages to
switch over to OSS, willing to try
SMI Deployment
Use as Internet servers for Internet presence
Use office solutions based on open source e.g.
➢ file, print and fax servers
➢ Internal email, webmail
➢ security products: web proxy, firewall, IDS
➢ desktop office applications
Software price important and so will try open source if
vendor proposes it and can support it
Usually go for the cheapest solution/vendor, improper
or poor setup/configuration may be an issue
Academia
Awareness high, usage high among academic staff in
comp science, IT and engineering faculties
Some public universities do expose students to OSS,
mainly in projects
Private colleges - most still promote close source
training; exposure and usage driven mainly by market
demands for such skills
Public Sector
Government studying OSS deployment in public sector
seriously mainly because concerned about:
➢ rising software licensing costs and faster
hardware obsolescence
➢ over-dependence on foreign proprietary
software (USA-centric)
Key government agencies tasked with producing
deployment and roll-out plans for introducing OSS
usage in government depts and agencies
Several important government-led national ICT
initiatives may use OSS as platform
Schools
Not much activity in open source
Efforts to get Ministry of Education to push for
more OSS activities and training in schools
Local Open Source Community
Several Linux User Groups exist
Not much co-operation among the LUGs
Few people involved in OSS development activity,
culture of sharing and OSS development not there
PIKOM and MNCC have Open-Source SIGs
Both quite active, assist in govt. working groups, task
force and committees on OSS
MNCC-OSSIG: organisation of talks/lectures, OSS101
training materials
PIKOM-OSSIG: white paper on Open Source to
MECM, working with MAMPU for deployment
Current State
Summary:
Deployment mainly on server side especially as Internet
servers
More and more corporations taking notice of OSS and
asking questions.
Some OSS penetration in SMIs
In academia, usage high in IT, Computer Science and
Engineering Faculties
Government considering OSS deployment in public sector
seriously
MOE may push for more OSS penetration in schools
Not much development work in local OSS community
The Way Forward -
Some Proposed Initiatives
Government Initiatives
Open source strategy and deployment
Establish a national open source policy
Establish an open source strategy and
implementation roadmap for public sector
Take lead in implementing OSS in government
agencies and departments where feasible
Set up open source resource centre in key
government agencies and departments
Government Initiatives
Insist on open standards and technologies in ICT
procurement
Ensure that file, data and communication formats
remain open
Technology and protocols used remain free and
open
No vendor or proprietary technology/format lock-in
Government Initiatives
Encourage OSS usage and training in schools,
public universities and institutions of higher
learning
Incalcate open source sharing and self-help ideals
in students
Encourage them to learn, innovate and invent
(LIVE) using open source
Recognise talented students and build up pool of
good programmers and software developers
Encourage usage of open source in R&D
Government Initiatives
Encourage (possibly with incentives) private
sector participation in training and supply of
open source resources/skills
Private training supplements Government training
as is currently the case
Shortage of skilled open source support and
development people may affect public sector
projects and deployment
The more people trained on open source
technologies the easier to ensure widespread
usage and less dependence on proprietary
software
Private Sector Initiatives
Develop products which can use open source as
software base e.g. embedded systems
Develop products/services which build upon
existing open source ones
Draws upon expertise and experience of
international open source community
Contribute some modifications back
Faster learning curve
Faster time to market
Make money with OSS!!
Private Sector Initiatives
Engage in open source businesses. Possible
business models:
Charge for services, support, customisation,
training, etc. but not the software
Develop application using OSS platforms and
tools. Product developed is not open source.
Develop tools and/or generic applications and
open source them. Charge for enhanced version.
Dual licensing approach to software developed,
one is open source, the other is commercial close
source licensed.
Private Sector Initiatives
Set up human resource and skills training
centres on open source
Widespread open source adoption by Government
will result in high demand for workers with various
open source skillsets
Baseline skillsets availability will instill confidence
all round
Easier for corporate adoption of open source if
skilled personnel available
Private Sector Initiatives
Drive the development process
Sponsor open source projects
Company gains technology and/or product from
output of project
Encourage local people to participate
Encourage local developers to participate in
international OSS projects/development
Non-Business Initiatives
Non-profit professional and industry
organisations like MNCC, PIKOM
• Promotion and awareness programs, dispel FUDs
• Set up SIGs to facilitate communications and
exchange of ideas
• Start development projects for local OSS
community
• Participate in government OSS WGs, task-force
etc.
• Act as link between industry and government.
Feedback from industry viewpoint.
Summary
• Open source offers a viable alternative to
proprietary software
• FUDs abou open source unfounded
• Adherence to open standards and open
technologies allow users the freedom to
choose the appropriate software - open source
or proprietary
• Developing countries have numerous benefits
if they use open source
• Government and private sectors have
prominent roles to play to encourage open
source usage and acceptance
Thank you!
Nah Soo Hoe
MNCC-OSSIG
nsh@pop.jaring.my

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opensource.ppt

  • 1. Getting to Know Free Software and Open Source and Some of the Common FUDs About It Nah Soo Hoe (nsh@pop.jaring.my) Malaysian National Computer Confederation MNCC Open-Source SIG
  • 2. About the Speaker Council member Malaysian National Computer Confederation (MNCC) Founding member of Malaysian Open- Source Group, MNCC-OSSIG, PIKOM- OSSIG Chair, SIRIM Technical Committee on Information Security Standards Independent consultant in areas of: ➢ open source development ➢ information systems security ➢ e-communities deployment using OSS
  • 3. Presentation Will Cover What is open-source software (OSS)? Importance and benefits of open source Common FUDs on OSS State of OSS in Malaysia The way forward
  • 5. Free Software Freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Freedom to run the program, for any purpose Freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs Freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others Freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public Access to the source code is needed to realise most of the above.
  • 6. Open-Source Software (OSS) Term "free" can lead to negative marketing connoctations especially to business and corporate users. [How can anything be good if it is free (i.e. has no monetary value to it)?] Term open-source software was coined to refer to free software.
  • 7. Other Categories of Software Freeware - Non-chargeable copyrighted software Shareware - Software delivered without charge but continued usage subject to payment Proprietary Software - non-Free Software Public domain Software - non-copyrighted Reference: Free Software Foundation www.fsf.org
  • 8. Relationships Among the Categories Source: http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/categories.html
  • 9. Free/Open-Source Software Licensing Free/Open-Source software licensing falls into 2 main types: Copylefted Non-copylefted
  • 10. Copylefted Software What is there to stop someone from converting a free software to non-free software? Copyleft is used to prevent this. Copyright a software and add in certain distribution restrictions to prevent conversion into non-free. Anyone who redistributes the software, with or without changes, must pass along the freedom to further copy and change it. Guarantees that every user has freedom. E.g. GNU General Public License (GPL) - free software and copyleft license Linux is distributed under a GNU GPL license.
  • 11. Non-copylefted Software Much more permissive licensing than GPL Permission to redistribute and modify Permission to add additional restrictions to its further distributrion and modification This means that it is possible for someone to take such software and make it proprietary with or without modifications. e.g. X11 (and XFree86) license, BSD License, Apache License
  • 12. Importance and Benefits of Open Source
  • 13. Importance of Open Source Freedom to learn, redistribute and enhance Prevents single vendor and technology lock-in Promotion and preservation of open standards Peer review and feedback will lead to: ➢ More robust and reliable software ➢ Better security and faster bug fixes Promotes environment for positive competition, self-learning, exploring and co-operation Benefits poorer societies - affordable and accessible software running on affordable computers and networks
  • 14. Promotes an environment which a society (like Malaysia), striving to become a technology-driven one, should have: Ability to "look under the hood" and learn Condusive for technical and system development Ability to learn, innovate and invent (LIVE) Encourages positive competition, self-help, and mutual co-operation Less dependence on software and technologies where we can have no control/say Benefits of Open Source to Developing Countries
  • 15. For Malaysia, open source provides unique opportunities to: Local developers to learn and participate in systems software development Build up a critical mass of good coders Produce localised versions of software Stimulate and build up the local software industry Promote a research-based mind-set for both public and private sectors Benefits of Open Source to Malaysia
  • 16. Open Source Usage - Server MySQL PostgreSQL Apache PHP Zope Perl Python E-Commerce E-Business E-Community Others .... FreeBSD Linux OpenBSD Operating Systems Development Platforms, Middleware, Databases Applications Apache Tomcat JBOSS Networking Services
  • 17. Open Source Usage - Desktop XFree86 (X-Windows) KDE GNOME Ximian OpenOffice Mozilla KOffice GNOME-Office FreeBSD Linux Operating Systems GUI and Windowing System Applications Networking Services
  • 18. Common Fears, Uncetainties and Doubts (FUDs) Regarding OSS
  • 19. No Accountability FUD: Developed/maintained on best effort basis, volunteers, no single party fully accountable Fact: Tightly knit developer community. Legally established non-profit foundation or normal businesses supporting the software Fact: Most close-source software licenses come with disclaimers - exempt the vendor from any liabilities arising from the use and misuse of the software Open source has basically same level of accountability as close source!!
  • 20. No Support FUD: No technical support Fact: Software author may not offer support but support available from many sources: Local vendors User communtities worldwide Internet resources Fact: Commercial proprietary software users still mainly rely on local vendor for support
  • 21. Not Secure FUD: OSS insecure as source code is available Fact: Inavailability of source code does not mean vulnerabilities cannot be discovered - use modern debugging and software development tools Fact: Source code availability facilitates: Scrutiny by many people to flush out weaknesses in design and code Independent check and 3rd party audit
  • 22. Hidden Backdoors FUD: Possibility of hidden backdoors in OSS Fact: Possible but not vulnerable if download software from well known/trustworthy sites Ensure software secuirty checksum corresponds with published value Ability to examine source and re-compile Fact: Commercial proprietary software known to ship infected with virus and backdoor Backdoors possible in close source too and more difficult to detect
  • 23. Not User-friendly FUD: UNIX-legacy - CLI, need to remember archaic comands Fact: Possibilly true in the past. In recent times GUI Windowing system very much the default interface. Fact: User has a choice of using either GUI or CLI to run most of the applications where applicable
  • 24. State of Open Source in Malaysia
  • 25. Server Deployment Internet web, mail, DNS servers for many organisations, attracted to the $0.00 side of OSS Popular in small to medium-sized business organisations and non-profit organisations May be set up and configured by vendors not well- versed with the software and so may not be set up properly or securely! Main platform used: Linux running Apache, OpenSSL, BIND, Sendmail, PHP, MySQL ISPs
  • 26. Corporate Deployment Awareness is there, many questions still being asked Still locked in by close source in most cases Not officially sanctioned to use open source but technical people in IT dept may put in some non- critical apps running on OSS or use open source security applications e.g. snort, nmap Senior management mind-set is now open at least, so if can demonstrate enough advantages to switch over to OSS, willing to try
  • 27. SMI Deployment Use as Internet servers for Internet presence Use office solutions based on open source e.g. ➢ file, print and fax servers ➢ Internal email, webmail ➢ security products: web proxy, firewall, IDS ➢ desktop office applications Software price important and so will try open source if vendor proposes it and can support it Usually go for the cheapest solution/vendor, improper or poor setup/configuration may be an issue
  • 28. Academia Awareness high, usage high among academic staff in comp science, IT and engineering faculties Some public universities do expose students to OSS, mainly in projects Private colleges - most still promote close source training; exposure and usage driven mainly by market demands for such skills
  • 29. Public Sector Government studying OSS deployment in public sector seriously mainly because concerned about: ➢ rising software licensing costs and faster hardware obsolescence ➢ over-dependence on foreign proprietary software (USA-centric) Key government agencies tasked with producing deployment and roll-out plans for introducing OSS usage in government depts and agencies Several important government-led national ICT initiatives may use OSS as platform
  • 30. Schools Not much activity in open source Efforts to get Ministry of Education to push for more OSS activities and training in schools
  • 31. Local Open Source Community Several Linux User Groups exist Not much co-operation among the LUGs Few people involved in OSS development activity, culture of sharing and OSS development not there PIKOM and MNCC have Open-Source SIGs Both quite active, assist in govt. working groups, task force and committees on OSS MNCC-OSSIG: organisation of talks/lectures, OSS101 training materials PIKOM-OSSIG: white paper on Open Source to MECM, working with MAMPU for deployment
  • 32. Current State Summary: Deployment mainly on server side especially as Internet servers More and more corporations taking notice of OSS and asking questions. Some OSS penetration in SMIs In academia, usage high in IT, Computer Science and Engineering Faculties Government considering OSS deployment in public sector seriously MOE may push for more OSS penetration in schools Not much development work in local OSS community
  • 33. The Way Forward - Some Proposed Initiatives
  • 34. Government Initiatives Open source strategy and deployment Establish a national open source policy Establish an open source strategy and implementation roadmap for public sector Take lead in implementing OSS in government agencies and departments where feasible Set up open source resource centre in key government agencies and departments
  • 35. Government Initiatives Insist on open standards and technologies in ICT procurement Ensure that file, data and communication formats remain open Technology and protocols used remain free and open No vendor or proprietary technology/format lock-in
  • 36. Government Initiatives Encourage OSS usage and training in schools, public universities and institutions of higher learning Incalcate open source sharing and self-help ideals in students Encourage them to learn, innovate and invent (LIVE) using open source Recognise talented students and build up pool of good programmers and software developers Encourage usage of open source in R&D
  • 37. Government Initiatives Encourage (possibly with incentives) private sector participation in training and supply of open source resources/skills Private training supplements Government training as is currently the case Shortage of skilled open source support and development people may affect public sector projects and deployment The more people trained on open source technologies the easier to ensure widespread usage and less dependence on proprietary software
  • 38. Private Sector Initiatives Develop products which can use open source as software base e.g. embedded systems Develop products/services which build upon existing open source ones Draws upon expertise and experience of international open source community Contribute some modifications back Faster learning curve Faster time to market Make money with OSS!!
  • 39. Private Sector Initiatives Engage in open source businesses. Possible business models: Charge for services, support, customisation, training, etc. but not the software Develop application using OSS platforms and tools. Product developed is not open source. Develop tools and/or generic applications and open source them. Charge for enhanced version. Dual licensing approach to software developed, one is open source, the other is commercial close source licensed.
  • 40. Private Sector Initiatives Set up human resource and skills training centres on open source Widespread open source adoption by Government will result in high demand for workers with various open source skillsets Baseline skillsets availability will instill confidence all round Easier for corporate adoption of open source if skilled personnel available
  • 41. Private Sector Initiatives Drive the development process Sponsor open source projects Company gains technology and/or product from output of project Encourage local people to participate Encourage local developers to participate in international OSS projects/development
  • 42. Non-Business Initiatives Non-profit professional and industry organisations like MNCC, PIKOM • Promotion and awareness programs, dispel FUDs • Set up SIGs to facilitate communications and exchange of ideas • Start development projects for local OSS community • Participate in government OSS WGs, task-force etc. • Act as link between industry and government. Feedback from industry viewpoint.
  • 43. Summary • Open source offers a viable alternative to proprietary software • FUDs abou open source unfounded • Adherence to open standards and open technologies allow users the freedom to choose the appropriate software - open source or proprietary • Developing countries have numerous benefits if they use open source • Government and private sectors have prominent roles to play to encourage open source usage and acceptance
  • 44. Thank you! Nah Soo Hoe MNCC-OSSIG nsh@pop.jaring.my