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Thai IT Minister Slams Open Source 520

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-good-enough dept.
patiwat writes "Thailand's newly appointed Information and Communications Technology Minister has slammed open source software as useless and full of bugs: 'With open source, there is no intellectual property. Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain. If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated... As a programmer, if I can write good code, why should I give it away? Thailand can do good source code without open source.' This marks a sharp u-turn in policy from that of the previous government."
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Thai IT Minister Slams Open Source

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  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto.connexer@com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:12AM (#16865620) Homepage

    If nobody can make money from it ...

    Maybe he would be so kind as to provide links where Netcraft confirms that IBM, Sun and Google are dead or dying?

    Spoken like someone without a clue. Sheesh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nacturation (646836)
      Maybe he would be so kind as to provide links where Netcraft confirms that IBM, Sun and Google are dead or dying?

      Netcraft confirms: IBM, Sun, and Google make boatloads of money off of the countless unnamed and unpaid developers who write the code that they use. Does the amount they contribute back exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others?
       
      • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto.connexer@com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:18AM (#16865682) Homepage

        Netcraft confirms: IBM, Sun, and Google make boatloads of money off of the countless unnamed and unpaid developers who write the code that they use. Does the amount they contribute back exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others?

        You know what? You and the Thai IT Minister are right. I don't know how I missed it for all these years.

        OK. Everyone, let's pack it up and go home. Some one be sure and shutdown the web servers on the way out. I hear that Best Buy is hiring, maybe I'll try there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Almost all of the money made by open source has been made by exploiting open source. Yes most of the internet runs on OSS. But how many of the billions if not trillions of dollars has made it back to the pockets of the developers of the big parts like Apache? I would guess not much since even Apache has a 'donations' link on their site.
          • by JacksBrokenCode (921041) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:58AM (#16865980)

            I've often wondered this myself. What is the reward for developing open source software? If companies can come in and use open source components in their own creation in a way that they make money without violating licenses, but at the same time aren't obligated to give anything back to the community, where's the motivation for new developers to go open source? Not everybody operates with an altruistic "I'm giving back to the community" motivation.

            Personally, I don't develop software just so that I can be an anonymous contributor to future technology. I do it to pay the rent, buy cars, etc.

            What am I missing here? (And I'm not being sarcastic with that, I genuinely don't understand why anyone would want to share the fundamentals of their creation in a way that would compromise any potential future earnings.)

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Neil Blender (555885)
              Ask a scientist who works a lifetime for little pay and publishes their discoveries in journals anyone can read.
              • by Filip22012005 (852281) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:15AM (#16866454)
                Unfortunately, not many scientists publish in journals everyone can read. Most journals require hefty fees. Not that the scientists get rich, of course. Some journals even ask for a submission fee.
                • by xplenumx (703804)
                  Unfortunately, not many scientists publish in journals everyone can read. Most journals require hefty fees. Not that the scientists get rich, of course. Some journals even ask for a submission fee.

                  Actually most scientists publish in journals that everyone can read. Most of the top scientific journals (in the biological sciences anyway) allow for anyone to read the articles one year after they've been published. If you want to read the latest research, you have to pay. If you want to read anything that

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by xtracto (837672)
                    Scientific jouranls corporations are a mafia, I could not found (in google) a very nice article I read written by Prof. Donald Knuth criticising the current state of the scientific journals. In summary, they are all owned by Elsevier. At least the valuable ones (for example AI Journal).

                    And, to be able to read any of those journals you would have to pay a high fee. Also, given the "publish or perish" culture in the academia now, everyone and their mother are figthing to be accepted in those "high profile" jo
              • by fitten (521191) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @09:19AM (#16868196)
                Not sure where you're coming from. I was one of those scientists (worked in an academic research facility) for a while and my pay wasn't so bad... I wasn't living a rock star lifestyle off of it but I was reasonably comfortable. Plus, getting published increases your equity in yourself and your pay can increase because of them (become noted in your field and you can have your pick of better jobs and more pay).

                Most, if not all, of the research (and the money that the scientist makes) in an academic facility is funded by contracts with commercial companies. They get a bargain by tossing you a few $100k and you practically get indentured servants (in the form of graduate students). In return, they don't have to (potentially) hire employees and buy equipment. Researchers bill their salaries out of those research funds. It's a lot like a service model. The cost of your research is amortized across several similar research contracts so you can charge less per contract than if you were only did it as a one shot project.

                Then... if you do good enough research and find something interesting, you sometimes have the option to be hired by the company that funded you or you can spin-off from the facility and start your own company doing things similar to what you did for the research (which is what I did).
                • by Xabraxas (654195) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:57AM (#16870224)

                  Plus, getting published increases your equity in yourself and your pay can increase because of them (become noted in your field and you can have your pick of better jobs and more pay).

                  It works the same way with open source. The best open source programmers end up working for large companies like Google, Redhat, and Novell.

                  Most, if not all, of the research (and the money that the scientist makes) in an academic facility is funded by contracts with commercial companies.

                  The OSDL funds Linux kernel development and is comprised of several large commercial companies. This is very similar to payment for research and development.

                  Then... if you do good enough research and find something interesting, you sometimes have the option to be hired by the company that funded you or you can spin-off from the facility and start your own company doing things similar to what you did for the research (which is what I did).

                  If you're lucky this can happen in the OSS world too.

                  Giving away software for free is a choice. Taking away that choice would be worse in any situation, especially when governemnt does it. Governement should be open and auditable and open source is really the only way you can do that effectively with software.

                  If good programmers want to get paid they will whether or not they write open code or proprietary code. There are already several large open source companies that have hundrends of open source programmers working for them. We still need programmers in the open source world and if their services require payment then someone will pay them. The cat's already out of the bag; open source has already been shown to be viable and it is here to stay. I guess I just don't understand how some governments determine that open source isn't viable when cleary that line of thinking has been outdated for years now.

            • by macklin01 (760841) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:42AM (#16866228) Homepage
              I've often wondered this myself. What is the reward for developing open source software? If companies can come in and use open source components in their own creation in a way that they make money without violating licenses, but at the same time aren't obligated to give anything back to the community, where's the motivation for new developers to go open source? Not everybody operates with an altruistic "I'm giving back to the community" motivation.

              True, open source contributions may work against your future earning potential. On the other hand, it can also help build it in a number of ways. In my case, I'm not a formally-trained programmer. I learned C++ on my own out of books and trial/error for my scientific research. As such, I didn't have a lot of confidence as a programmer.

              Starting an open source project helped me to gain valuable feedback that improved my programming skills in a way I could never have done on my own. I also got a helpful confidence boost--I'm no longer ashamed of my coding, or scared of letting others see it. This has been liberating, and has helped me to improve as a collaborator. In my case, the improved skillset gained through open source contributions will most certainly add to my future earnings potential.

              For those who already have all their skills and couldn't possibly gain from feedback (whoever that may be), open source could be viewed as the equivalent of pro bono work done by lawyers. Lawyers often do pro bono work to help the poor, etc., and possibly to keep certain skills sharp on things they may not do on a day-to-day basis. For a programmer, open source gives the opportunity to practice something new or out of the daily grind and get valuable feedback on it. Or to work on a larger project that they wouldn't have time for otherwise.

              And then as mentioned above, there's the resume aspect. When I was applying for an NSF postdoc fellowship (still underway), I was asked for "synergistic activity": ways you contribute to the maths/science/engineering community or education beyond your normal duties. Being able to say "lead author of a project used in undergraduate education and industrial and academic research in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia" was certainly a boost, considering many graduate students can only claim making better handouts for their classes or the occasional presentation.

              So, there's another perspective. ;-) -- Paul

              • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @09:51AM (#16868540) Homepage
                Then you miss the most important projects where OSS shines and Closed source can not follow.

                MythTV and other PVR's that intentionally do what the user/consumer wants and NOT what the corperations and laws want.

                My MythTV box can rip my Cd's share the mp3's throughout my home to my audiotron, Crestron AAS on my whole house audio, etc... Even my daughter's ipod picks up the files. Now I can record Tv shows that automatically skip the commercials, rip the recordings to mp4 format for my daughter's ipod and evne generate a RSS feed so her itunes automagically gets the files for her.

                I can name numerous other projects that are 100% impossible under closed source and a business model. If you made and sold MythTV you would be sued out of existance by the media companies for destroying their profits and violating the license you "agree" to by watching TV. Then the law woud get involved because those pissed at you would get laws passed, somehow you would run afoul of patents, and other bullshit that the corperate world likes to create to force companies to do things their way or put you out of business.

                Open source is the LAST bastion of freedom for invention and innovation. REAL innovations get done in OSS because they can. More often than not a OSS project get's closer to the goals a customer wants than a closed source corperate product. If the apple ipod was easy to hack and put a new OS onto there would have been people doing it and making a better ipod without any DRM. (They did it with other mp3 players, for some reason the ipod is either harder to work on or has some kind of locking on it.. I am so hoping the Zune is hacked and a new OS for it is released that has no MS DRM on it... that will probably save that device.)

                OSS helps you learn if you are not a "edumacated" programmer, but it's biggest reward is that it can dare to go where no other model can dare to tread.

            • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:58AM (#16866336)
              Personally, I don't develop software just so that I can be an anonymous contributor to future technology. I do it to pay the rent, buy cars, etc.

              What am I missing here? (And I'm not being sarcastic with that, I genuinely don't understand why anyone would want to share the fundamentals of their creation in a way that would compromise any potential future earnings.)


              Because the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.

              The vast majority of people who write free software ARE compensated. Lots of students do it for the educational value (for example, Mosaic the proto-netscape, was written by undergrads and graduate students at NCSA). Lots of software developers do it in support of their daily job - for example, the guy who writes a module for Apache because his employer's website needs that functionality, or the guy who writes perl because he needs a better way to process log files at NASA, etc. Or they are paid specifically to work on it, like the hundreds of developers at IBM and HP and Redhat.

              Most developers of Free software realize they have the choice of starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel, or standing on the shoulders of the people who have gone before them and getting the results they need so much faster with a much higher level of quality. Since their jobs aren't about monetizing software creation, there is little to no upside to starting from scratch.

              While the "altrustic" streak is there, just like it is in the proprietary software world (look at all the people who spend man-months of their life giving out free support for proprietary software users on various web forums) Free software as an economic model is solidly based on the self-interest of the developers who use it to as a tool, not an end unto itself.

              If companies can come in and use open source components in their own creation in a way that they make money without violating licenses, but at the same time aren't obligated to give anything back to the community, where's the motivation for new developers to go open source?

              The GPL prevents that. Any improvements that are distributed beyond the improver him/it-self must effectively be made available to the community in general. Other licenses, like the BSDs do not protect against that sort of free-rider problem. (Which is one reason MS is so very anti-GPL, but pees a little every time they talk about the BSD license).
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              "If companies can come in and use open source components in their own creation in a way that they make money without violating licenses, but at the same time aren't obligated to give anything back to the community..."

              This is actually one of my favorite topics. The presumption is that a company that makes changes in an open source package won't submit the changes back to the community. I'm not sure that that's true.

              If the company makes changes to the open source program and does not submit the changes back
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by zotz (3951)
              "What am I missing here? (And I'm not being sarcastic with that, I genuinely don't understand why anyone would want to share the fundamentals of their creation in a way that would compromise any potential future earnings.)"

              One thing you are missing is that you can cut costs with Free Software. Your costs. (Your tools can cost less for one.)

              Another is that one can get paid up front for one's work. That is good enough for some and if they go the Free Software route, their work can impact your potential future
            • by dsginter (104154) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @08:32AM (#16867692)
              I've often wondered this myself. What is the reward for developing open source software?

              Passion fulfilled.

              Right now, there are many projects that I have on the burners. They are on the burners only because I am driven to do them. Some people climb mountains - others code software. Don't ask why - the reason is the same.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by MeNeXT (200840)
              You are missing the fact that you don't have to use OSS.

              On the other hand, if you had some code that would benefit you financially but you did not have the energy, time, or money to develop a full fledged application that clients required. You could always add your code to an FLOSS project and benefit financially by supporting the final solution.

              When people put their greed to the side and look for a fair solution to a problem we all benefit. As can be seen by Microsoft borrowing code from BSD to get stabil
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Blikkie (569039)

            I would hardly call it exploiting. It would be exploiting if people were forced to do their programming in a sort of sweatshop. As it is, it is a deliberate choice to share your code.

            As it is there are some very compelling reasons for a coder to make open-source software:

            • It's an excellent way to get experience
            • Ideological reasons
            • It allows you to work on an idea, or a project, without having to carry the burden alone
            • For some developers it pays rather good, these days most leaders of large projec
          • by rifter (147452) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:14AM (#16867192) Homepage

            Almost all of the money made by open source has been made by exploiting open source. Yes most of the internet runs on OSS. But how many of the billions if not trillions of dollars has made it back to the pockets of the developers of the big parts like Apache? I would guess not much since even Apache has a 'donations' link on their site.

            Apache Software Foundation (apache.org) has a donation link on their site because they are a non-profit corporation [apache.org]. So by definition they don't make money. That does not mean they don't get money and resources; it just means that they use it all on improving the product.

            That said, the companies listed (and many others) have indeed contributed to as well as profited from open source software. IBM spends billions every year on Linux alone. And where do you think all that code comes from? the magic code monkeys? People that work for these companies are either paid directly to work on open source software or allowed to do so because of permissive policies that derive directly from the fact that those companies are making money from the profit of their labour.

            Meanwhile all of this work is shared and the wheel does not have to be reinvented. IBM benefits from the code contributed by Sun as well as Chucky down the street. And it works the other way too. And all of them are making money ... I mean even Chucky gets a job or can do consulting work because he's been working on this stuff all that time. Like when AOL hired all the Mozilla people. Or RMS's consulting, which probably has not made him particularly rich, though he is not exactly starving to death.

            There are a lot of ways to make money from open source. Some of the easiest ways involve working with or for companies, but there are others. Still, to focus too much on the aspect of direct monetary gain is to miss the greatest benefits of free software / open source. The best thing about the software is when you actually get to USE the software. Sure, you can contribute code if you want to, and you can customize it for your needs, but ultimately you derive gain from the fact that you can use the software freely, unencumbered by onerous licenses and likely free as in beer as well. That means that whether you need software for your business or for personal use you have easy access to it and you don;t really have to do anything to get it other than go get it.

            Maybe your business is making money from free software (lots of people and companies do). Maybe you are doing something else but you use free software to accomplish those ends (way more companies are doing that). Maybe you just use it to learn, or because you feel like it. But no matter what you end up saving time, money, and other resources because you are benefitting from the community, and thus you profit from the use of Open Source / Free Software.

      • by strider44 (650833)
        I thought that was the point. For everyone the amount they gain is more than the amount they contribute, that's the beauty of open source.
      • by jlarocco (851450) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:59AM (#16865984) Homepage
        Does the amount they contribute back exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others?

        I understand why you listed Google and IBM. But why is Sun in your list?

        If you hadn't heard, Sun just open sourced the entire Java compiler, virtual machine, and JIT compiler. That makes Java one of the most popular open source projects in the world. And then there's the tens of millions of lines of code for OpenSolaris. So far, Sun is the largest contributor to both of those.

        I'd almost be willing to say Sun has released more open source code than any other company.

        • by nathanh (1214) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:25AM (#16866118) Homepage
          If you hadn't heard, Sun just open sourced the entire Java compiler, virtual machine, and JIT compiler. That makes Java one of the most popular open source projects in the world. And then there's the tens of millions of lines of code for OpenSolaris. So far, Sun is the largest contributor to both of those.

          And OpenOffice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by zotz (3951)
          "I'd almost be willing to say Sun has released more open source code than any other company."

          Which goes to show how much Sun's multi-minded talking over the years has seriously hurt their image with many people. I know it has undermined my trust in them. I certainly have liked some of the things they have done over the years but I have not liked others and have not liked a bunch of things they have said.

          Lost opportunities galore there I guess.

          all the best,

          drew
          http://www.ourmedia.org/node/262954 [ourmedia.org]
          Sayings - De
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Netcraft confirms: IBM, Sun, and Google make boatloads of money off of the countless unnamed and unpaid developers who write the code that they use. Does the amount they contribute back exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others?

        Even before I join Google I never minded the idea that some corporations would benefit from the work I did, it is totally ok with me. In fact I would get really worried if that were not the case, it would mean I failed to make something useful. Speaking as a
      • by zotz (3951) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:52AM (#16867380) Homepage Journal
        "Does the amount they contribute back exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others?"

        You know what? It's not a zero sum game.

        Secondly, I would guess for most heavy users of Free Software, the amount they contribute back doesn't exceed the amount they gain by benefiting from the work of others.

        That is a good thing. I can put in a little and take out a lot. Cool. I can also put something in once and a million people can take it out five million times without me having to lift a finger from there on. Cool. This digital realm has some amazing properties that it seems many don't get or don't want to admit to.

        That said, I am not sure I know of any big coproration that I think is all good when it comes to Free Software or that I would trust in the matter.

        all the best,

        drew
        http://code.google.com/p/drsoundwall/ [google.com]
        dRsoundWall
    • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:25AM (#16865744) Journal
      Spoken like someone without a clue. Sheesh.

      What a strange quality for a politician, don't you think?

    • Money? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:43AM (#16865864) Journal
      Maybe, just maybe, people are not in it for the money. Maybe they love to code for "the pure fun of it". After all, millions of people do crosswords, solve sudoku, climb mountains, ride bicycles, and blast apart aliens, for the sheer joy of it. They don't get paid a red cent (or <color><smallest Thai coin>) for doing it. Maybe they like the recognition of being the one that wrote $widgit$. Maybe they want to put "Accomplishments: Developed $wigit$ software" on their resume. Maybe they're already so filthy stinking rich that a few measly $100K a year isn't worth the hassle of cowtowing to a pointy haired boss with no more imagination than week old oatmeal, who couldn't code his way out of a paper bag if all he had to do is double click on the "Escape from paper bag" icon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dalutong (260603)
        I don't think it's just for the love of it. I know that I contribute to OSS because I could never write a full (pick your app/framework/daemon) myself. So something can be, in part, "mine," without me having to be either a genius or part of a great software team.
    • by Gregory Cox (997625)
      OK, so he's an idiot politician.

      The good thing is, he's an idiot politician who knows the terms "open source" and "source code" and can use them more or less coherently in a sentence. This shows that these concepts are becoming more mainstream.

      Better, if a politician makes a comment like this, it starts a debate. People who didn't know what "open source" means might start to want to find out.

      Even better, his arguments are ridiculously confused and easy to dismiss. "Public domain"? He may have power in Thail
  • by Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:12AM (#16865626) Journal
    He sounds eminently qualified for politics.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      So then, he must be reserved for that first civilian flight to the Moon along with the Congress.

      Worst case scenario is that he's not getting anything from Santa next month.

  • in other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackcoot (124938) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:13AM (#16865630)
    in a public ceremony today, the thai government thanked microsoft for their generous assistance in lining government coffers, i mean, developing thailand's it infrastructure.
    • My guess is that Microsoft probably backed the recent military coup. j/k
    • by strider44 (650833) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:28AM (#16865762)
      I hate it when people always dismiss things like this as paid for by Microsoft. That guy could very well just be a genuine idiot, and yet you're trying to insult him by saying he's corrupt as well.
      • by Kangburra (911213)
        I hate it when people always dismiss things like this as paid for by Microsoft. That guy could very well just be a genuine idiot, and yet you're trying to insult him by saying he's corrupt as well.


        To be fair if it wasn't so plausible people wouldn't be so quick to think it. You can only base your assumptions on history and Microsoft's is chequered to say the least.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by famebait (450028)
        I hate it when people always dismiss things like this as paid for by Microsoft. That guy could very well just be a genuine idiot, and yet you're trying to insult him by saying he's corrupt as well.

        But on a serious note: There is also the possibility that he is neither, only doing his job (although in a slightly weasly way).

        "Follow the money" is a useful game, but don't just pick an obvious trail and ignore all others. Seeing as they have an IT minister at all, they obviously value the sector as a strategic
    • Re:in other news (Score:5, Informative)

      by badfish99 (826052) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:34AM (#16865798)
      It's not the government coffers he is thinking of.

      A Thai friend once explained to me why Bangkok has both a monorail system and an underground railway. I think the same principle is at work here: a new government always abandons the projects started by the previous government, and starts new ones.

      You see, bribes are always paid at the start of a project, during the vendor selection phase. This person is looking to get a large sum of money from Microsoft in exchange for abandoning some open-source projects and switching to Windows.
      • a town with money's a little like a mule with a spinning wheel. no-one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it
      • Re:in other news (Score:4, Informative)

        by DrXym (126579) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:21AM (#16866494)
        I have to say that Bangkok used to be a steaming hell hole of traffic jams and pollution before the monorail came along. It sure looks ugly but it makes an enormous difference to be travel across the city.

        Anyway the only people who make money from commercial software in Thailand are the pirates. Its been a few years since I visited but Pantip Plaza was literally a 6 story high mall where every single shop sold pirate cds, dvds and software. Thailand should embrace open source as a way to get Microsoft and others off their back. If businesses do business on Linux, if governments run off Linux, there is less market for the pirates and the problem will simply recede through less demand.

  • "OMGZ! Microsoft has set us up the BRIBEZ!"
  • budget whore (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:19AM (#16865694) Homepage Journal
    At first I was going to bid the minister a hearty, "Good luck starting from scratch!" Then I realized that he's choosing a path guaranteed to furnish him with a huge government budget and staff to control. I figured this out when I noticed he never used the word 'cheaper' when comparing open to closed source options.

    Seth
  • Fud or just dumb? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:20AM (#16865696) Homepage
    "With open source, there is no intellectual property. Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain."

    I am hoping something was lost in translation, because if it wasn't this guy is not only not getting the idea but totally missing the point. Then one must ask, what kind of country has an "IT Minister"? I bet he gets razzed for that... in fact that my explain this. If the guy can't install anything open source without causing errors, I really don't think he belongs in that job.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:50AM (#16865926)

      this guy is not only not getting the idea but totally missing the point.

      He is a smart politician.

      That means: what he says has little or nothing to do with what he thinks. A politician says something for one of two reasons:

      1. He/she thinks it will persuade more people to vote for him
      2. He/she thinks it will attract money (in whatever form: campaign donations, bribes, bigger budget)

      Once you understand this, the world will start making more sense to you.

    • No I think this guy meant what he said. From the article he also said:

      "The new ICT Minister expressed his belief in censorship and said that even the most avid freedom of speech advocate would change his mind if he sees doctored pictures of his daughter's head on a naked body posted on the Internet."

      This guy does not seem to understand freedom speech nor want to. But considering they have a military dictatorship it's no wonder.

      Frankly my opinion about this guy is, "Moving along nothing to see here..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:20AM (#16865698)

    Hmmmm... By what means was his message delivered? What kind of server?

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 07:15:11 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.27 (Unix) PHP/4.2.2
    X-Powered-By: PHP/4.2.2
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html
    • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:43AM (#16865866)
      The headers you posted are for the Bangkok post website [bangkokpost.net]. However, the Thailand Ministry of Information and Communication Technology website [mict.go.th] is running ASP.net (Microsoft) [nwtools.com]:
      HTTP/1.1 200 OK
      Content-Length: 8641
      Content-Type: text/html
      Content-Location: http://www.mict.go.th/index.html
      ETag: "4a7c5a4cef2c71:331"
      X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
      Last-Modified: Wed, 08 Nov 2006 04:35:20 GMT

      However, it is interesting to note that it was running Linux about a month ago [netcraft.com].

      • by jesterzog (189797) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:52AM (#16866666) Homepage Journal

        However, it is interesting to note that it was running Linux about a month ago.

        The Netcraft link you posted does claim that it was running Linux in September, but it also claims that the web server was still IIS. Perhaps this is me mis-interpreting the way that Netcraft presents its data, but how does one run IIS on a Linux platform? Unless it was something like Apache temporarily configured to report that it was Microsoft-IIS, but I can't see the point in doing that.

        The IP address is also radically different, so my guess is that the domain was temporarily redirected to another hosting service in September that had a server configured quite differently, and possibly wasn't reporting its state as accurately.

  • This only shows how bad the minister really is. It is beyound his mind that someone does something for free to make the world better. Besides that there also is a viable business model behind giving code away for free and that is support for people willing to pay for on time support.
  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:24AM (#16865734) Journal
    Let's not forget that Thailand's legitimate government was toppled by the army a short while ago. I'm sure this clown is the least of Thailand's troubles right now.
    -jcr

    • by bjprice (863197) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:29AM (#16865768) Homepage Journal
      The coup was obviously undemocratic, but Thailand is now actually in a far better situation than under the previous regime. I live here.

      But yeah, this chap clearly has no idea what he's talking about.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:00AM (#16865996)
        The coup was obviously undemocratic, but Thailand is now actually in a far better situation than under the previous regime.

        I don't live there, but I have friends who are in the royal family (it is a big family) and that's the impression I get too. The guy who was ousted appeared to have gone a little too far in indulging in american-style government/corporate bogus-free-market kleptocracy (the "socialize the costs, privatize the profits" kind where he and his family were majority shareholders).

        Thai, but otherwise unrelated, I just saw Citizen Dog [imdb.com] and loved it. Along with Bangkok Loco [imdb.com] and Shutter [imdb.com] the Thai film market has been showing some real potential. I hope this "regime change" will continue with the economic circumstances that have encouraged recent local film production.
      • Is it? For example do you agree with the following comment?

        "The new ICT Minister expressed his belief in censorship and said that even the most avid freedom of speech advocate would change his mind if he sees doctored pictures of his daughter's head on a naked body posted on the Internet."

        Yeah I suppose censorship is better...
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:28AM (#16865758) Journal
    I can't say I'm in a position to properly evaluate this, but I wouldn't exactly consider the Thai government very trustworthy right now.
  • No suprise. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Don_dumb (927108) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:28AM (#16865764)
    A country that doesn't like open government, doesn't like open sourced software.

    They did have democracy, but the military 'closed' that.
  • by tyrr (306852) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:33AM (#16865792)
    I can write good code, why should I give it away?

    And you, mister politician, why should you serve your community? How about telling your people that you are looking for money, fame, and power? Fortunately, there are still people in this world who are not in it for the money.

    • by rossz (67331)
      Speak for yourself! I work with Linux, Apache, and a host of other open source packages. I'm in it for the money. You can't expect me to show up for work every day for the fun of it, do you? I have bills to play.
  • by spiritraveller (641174) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:35AM (#16865802)
    The ICT Ministry will soon put forward draft Acts to the National Legislative Assembly on cybercrime and on web sites that are pornographic or considered lese majeste, allowing officials to arrest, fine and imprison offenders.

    lese majesty also lèse majesté (lz mj-st)
    n. pl. lese majesties or lèse majestés

          1. An offense or crime committed against the ruler or supreme power of a state.
          2. An affront to another's dignity.
    • by jaiyen (821972) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:37AM (#16866566)
      I live in Thailand, and there's masses of internet censorship. Although it's not quite to Chinese limits (as all news sites are available), they block as many porn and gambling sites as they can find and anything that fits the rather vaguely defined category of "lese majeste" or "threat to national security" also. Criticizing the decision of a high-court judge is against the law too. On the most popular Thai language forum (pantip.com) you're required to give a valid ID card number to register, and there's often stories in the news of contributors being tracked down for their opinions. I guess at the moment any anti-coup or pro-democracy website could fall under the national security category, it's all a bit uncertain. So much for free speech!

      So I guess I'd better avoid giving an opinion of the minister in question in case of getting a unwelcome knock at the door! Regardless of him though, open-source is quite strong in Thailand. The National Computer Center (http://www.nectec.or.th/) has released a lot of open source code and data, and there's a relatively thriving OS community here - linux.thai.net (a thai slash-code site), opentle.org, thaiopensource.org, tosf.org, osdev.co.th etc. It seems unlikely to me these comments will change that much.

      Whether these comments have anything to do with an alliance with Microsoft I don't know. Often when you buy a new PC here, they don't want to pay the Windows tax but instead of coming with Linux (or, god forbid, XP starter edition) it's advertised as coming with "Microsoft DOS Operating System" (!). After you pay, the shop staff then load a pirated version of XP pro for you without even asking! I guess it's certainly in Microsoft's interest to get that situation improved.
  • >> The new ICT Minister expressed his belief in censorship and said that even the most avid freedom of speech advocate
    >> would change his mind if he sees doctored pictures of his daughter's head on a naked body posted on the Internet.

    The man had bad experiences before -- who can blame him.

  • This marks a sharp u-turn in policy from that of the previous government."

    Well, considering how the government turnover was handled, is that actually a surprise?

  • He had a point! (Score:2, Insightful)

    When the mortgage and car payments bills grow into a huge pile next to your computer and you have a wife with six kids, writing software for free is just plain stupid. I guess most open source authors think somebody might be interested in hiring, but little do they realize its much easier to copy the whole software tree and hire some vietnam programmers for 13 cents an hour to takeover.... "Silly Programmer, Tricks are for kids."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kangburra (911213)
      I think the Mozilla team have proven you can code for free. internetnews [internetnews.com]
    • by smoker2 (750216)
      When the mortgage and car payments bills grow into a huge pile next to your computer and you have a wife with six kids ...
      Aaah, the old "chicken and egg" scenario !
    • You can't do both? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spaceman40 (565797)
      I happen to like writing software. In fact, the coding job I have right now (that pays money -- you know, the stuff that you give to people in payment?) is kind of a pain, so I write my own stuff on the side to clear my head.

      It's like being an artist -- you have your day job, and then you have what you like to do. If you're really lucky, you do what you like as your day job. Where's Bad Analogy Guy when you need him?
  • clueless gibber (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:45AM (#16865876)
    Well, everyone should stick to what they know and not shame themselves by useless proud ignorance. I think the proper reaction to this speech should be total dismissal and disregard. Otherwise he might think his opinion counts.
     
  • a thai's take (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ghort (2896) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:45AM (#16866244) Homepage
    An authentic thai told me:

    "open source" has almost no meaning in thailand because 99% of software you can buy is pirated

    it's true though you can buy "Microsoft" Windows for like $5

    at what seems like a real computer store
  • If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated...

    I wonder how much M$ paid him. And how much pie-charts and presentation they have fed to him. Because you know, the only company which makes money out of OS and development software - is Microsoft. Everybody else are just trying to survive, barely.

    No big software houses have emerged in last decade - because investors afraid to put money anywhere close to Microsoft.

    Of course, previous

  • This guy is just another idiot.
    Why does slashdot make it so hard to ignore these idiots by continuing to post stories about them?
    He is seeing it from the perspective of a software company that wants to sell software.
    FLOSS is from the perspective of the user that wants to actually use the software.
    Businesses love FLOSS because it saves huge amounts of money by not making their developers recreate the wheel.

    If I am a programmer and I can write good code then I'll get a good job writing good code. Who cares if
    • by marcushnk (90744)
      because hiding the embarrassment does nothing to fixing it.
      Highlighting it and acknowledging it DOES.
  • It is even more moronic. Our country's very own Software Industry Association is opposing a gov't bill mandating educational institutions to offer open source training to prepare a possible shift to open source software in government, stating "Government has no business or expertise mandating the use of one technology platform over the other. Government's role is to partner with the private sector in providing the environment and business framework in which innovation, creativity and freedom of informed cho
  • by Dom2 (838) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:05AM (#16866380) Homepage

    I hope that James Clark [thaiopensource.com] will be able to help correct the situation.

    In case you haven't heard of James Clark, he wrote groff (for displaying man pages amongst other things), XSLT, the expat XML Parser and the Relax NG schema language. I'd be very surprised if anybody here hasn't used his stuff... Take a look at his bio [jclark.com].

    -Dom

  • by oGMo (379) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:33AM (#16866556)
    1976 called. It wants Bill Gates' Open Letter to Hobbyists [wikipedia.org] back.
  • Strange comment .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheros (223479) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:42AM (#16866602)
    .. coming from someone in a country where the average monthly salary wouldn't buy a legit copy of Windows without depriving the family of basic needs. I wonder if this is simply someone trying to get into bed with software vendors. And don't get me started on 'buggy'.

    AFAIK, Thailands' universities have quite a decent track record in Open Source, with various school projects targeting low cost IT for schools (a bit like what happened later in Spain in the Extremadura region) and I think they have decent code for OpenOffice as well, with algorithms to support spell checking for a language where spaces between words appear more or less optional.

    In summary, I think some people shouldn't be allowed near the press for their own good..
  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:38AM (#16867302) Journal
    The Thai information minister is right in that the motivation in closed source software to write good code (read code that sells better) is generally higher than that of open source software (even though there are very many exceptions of course). And, in general, companies like closed source for the simple fact that they have known support and someone they can blame in the case of a disaster. But he is also awfully wrong as to why this is.

    If companies providing support and training for Open Source were to better advertise themselves, they would capture far more of the market. As it is, neither Red Hat nor SuSE nor Mandriva advertise much in public. The joke is that Ubuntu gets far more mainstream media attentions than any of the others, and that without Microsoft type of FUDvertising (word coined by me).

    As for Thai companies providing good code, they may do so in Thailand for the Thai market, since localization to Thai is probably not high on many companies' priorities (it's ironic that Open Source support Thai better than most closed source software packages do), but they certainly don't have much say in the market outside Thailand.
  • by Cytlid (95255) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @08:31AM (#16867686)
    I think this is kinda weird but this is how I see it. You know that show on cable, Junkyard Wars, where they take two teams and they have to accomplish something? That whole idea reminds me of the Open Source argument. You have two teams, they use their skill and knowledge and available resources to meet a goal. And sometimes they need to make a dune buggy or scuba suit, and maybe team A's device is better than team B only because they were more clever or had a better selection of resources.

    This is where the analogy gets a bit strange. Let's say the two teams were still competing against each other but take the motivation away. Not just a contest, but let's say the goal was extremely important. Now the teams are stranded on a Junkyard Island and *need* to make a device to survive, to remove themselves from the Island.

    Do you think they would do a better job individually or working together?

    Intellectual Property at this point becomes "my team is better than yours no matter what resources we have, and we're gonna leave you here to rot".

  • by wk633 (442820) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @09:21AM (#16868218)
    "A public domain work is an orphan. No one is responsible for its life. But everyone exploits its use, until that time cretain when it becomes soiled and haggard, barren of its previous virtues. Who, then, will invest the funds to renovate and nourish its future life, when on one owns it? How does the consumer benefit from that scenario? The answer is, there is no benefit."

    -Jack Valenti, quoted in "Digital Copyright" by Jessica Litman

    Thank god Hollywood has stepped up to save Shakespeare et al.
  • by nightsweat (604367) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:29AM (#16869810)
    "if I can write good code, why should I give it away?"

    Because no matter how code the code from your one set of eyes is, it won't be anywhere near as good as the code that's been reviewed by 100,000 sets of eyes?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:40AM (#16869980) Homepage Journal
    That's what you get from you IT minister when he's appointed by a military coup directed by the military dictator ("king") against your too-popular Prime Minister.

    Then again, when your PM uses his family's telco to steal over a $BILLION from the country, it's no surprise his IT director will be fired, and the old IT policies discarded.
  • Where to begin? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:47PM (#16871004) Homepage Journal
    With open source, there is no intellectual property.
    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    Copyrights and Trademarks fall under that bastard term Intellectual Property and you get to keep them.

    Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain.
    Wrong. Open Source != Public Domain. Anyone you distribute it to can use, modify/improve and distribute it, if they give the same rights to whom they distribute it. Even Playing field.

    If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated...
    Wrong.
    a.If the code is not useful it is not used/maintained and becomes outdated.
    b. If you do make money from useful OpenSource code (as many do, IBM/Apple/Nokia/Sun/RedHat/Novell ), you should use it to maintain your codebase.
    c. Ever hear of Dual-Liscencing?

    As a programmer, if I can write good code, why should I give it away?
    1. If you want to horde your superior code away go ahead.
    2. Aren't you a government employee? shouldn't you contibute to the common good of your people?

    In summary, You appear to be misinformed, ignorant or waiting for an MS Handout. (BTW, if the latter were the case, you get handouts faster from MS for using open source rather than by bashing it.)

    Glad the new Thai government is already advertising its idiots, I was afraid they'd be hard to spot.

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