The Jordanian government has committed the country to becoming a hub for open source adoption in the Middle East
The Middle East government of Jordan had signed a deal with open source database specialist Ingres to promote the use of open source software in the country.
In a statement released this week, the Samer Shamayleh, director of strategic agreements at the Jordanian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, said the country plans to act as hub for the adoption of non-proprietary software across the region. The Ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ingres to push the adoption of open source technology generally throughout the country’s infrastructure.
“Our agreement with Ingres will help us to raise awareness and create a general understanding among government agency leaders about the value of open source software,” said Shamayleh. “Open source allows IT systems to be built without expensive upfront investments in license fees and, with Ingres, without compromising on critical needs for privacy, security, and reliability that are crucial to our government agencies.”
Measures to be taken under the agreement including organising technical boot camps, offering free training and the development of an laboratory specialising in open source development in one of Jordan’s universities.
Commenting on the agreement, Roger Burkhardt, chief executive of Ingres said he hoped to see other governments in the region, and around the world, follow Jordan’s lead in making concrete steps towards adopting more open source technologies and cutting public sector spending on IT. “This is a huge first step and we hope to see other governments follow Jordan’s lead by taking concrete actions to adopt open source, to accelerate innovation and reduce the taxpayers costs,” he said.
In February 2009, the UK government said it intended to use open source to save £600 million a year and published guidelines the that effect but, despite this, the UK lags badly at open source, using it less than countries like Mali, open source activists said at a meeting in September.
Late last year, Ingres announced a partnership with a Hungarian software provider to take advantage of the country’s commitment to open source. But some Hungarian open source experts have questioned how committed the country’s government is to adopting open source amid accusations that Microsoft still holds sway over a large number of IT contracts within the country.
“The reality is that most of the government projects are still awarded to proprietary software vendors and open source alternatives are not invited to the discussion tables. We hope that Hungary will reach a similar state in terms of open source leadership as France, for example, where the government provides clear leadership and guidelines to the public sector in terms of realising the benefits of open source and open standards,” said Gábor Szentiványi, chief executive of Hungarian open source integrator and Red Hat partner ULX.