One of the key issues why open source software has not taken roots in Singapore is the mismatch in messaging and perception in what open source offers. Though innovation is the key message as the benefit of open source software, the more dominant message that persist in the country regarding OSS is cost saving. In the society and nation like Singapore where there is abundance of economic wealth and which is more interested in banking on the big brands, why should they care about saving cost and working with smaller companies? The common perception related with cost savings is not positive aspect but of compromise with quality or functionality. Why would a nation which can afford to spend money adopt the products with such messaging.
Though open source software is not just meant for cost saving and it has more positive messages and benefits associated with it, it needs to be communicated.
So what are those key benefits that nations and societies like Singapore should look for in open source software.
Lets us first look at the reasons and benefits the biggest economy of the world – America derived from adopting open source. America and some developed economies adopted open source software to address many challenges that these nations have to address. Even if you have economic wealth the key engine for growth and leadership lies in innovation, pace of development and giving tools in the hands of people to drive growth. As a leader, it is not enough to be in sync with developments, but it is important to set the pace and create tool-kits for innovation.
With the traditional model of software development you can’t do this, in general.
Open source software development model presented America and all those who are aspiring to address various challenges of society and nation with the model that allowed them to drive innovation in a ubiquitous manner. Open source software has enabled collaborative development leading to faster pace. It enabled the enterprises to remove vendor lock-in and set its own (often faster) pace leading to more business. Open source software has fueled the competitive environment challenging the inefficient monopolies which are impediments.
In the same way Singapore should embrace open source software development model to inculcate the habit of innovation, to help drive competitive environment and remove the inefficiencies caused due to proprietary development models in software industry.