OpenMalaysia, while trying to highlight the cost advantages of open source, has highlighted a significant problem with pushing computers to new users: lack of interest.
According to ComputerWorld Australia:
“With funding from the Japanese government, the PCPS program started around the 2000 timeframe when the contractors installed Windows PCs, but five years later it was discovered a lot of the computers were not being used because nobody knew how to use them.”
Nobody knew how to use them? That is possible. I don’t know how to start up my first PC. Someone had to teach me. Orgnaizationaly speaking it was a catastrophic failure since they procure the units, but failed to ensure they are used. There is another question that we need to find out the reason for it: Why nobody tries to figure out how to use it? Do we have a lack of interest here?
Back to the story. Did Microsoft failed to get Windows on those machine on cost ground? It is certainly a factor and a big one. However, I think somewhere in the government hierarchy someone important bought the ideal of using open source to build a local computer industry and see it through. If true, this is an important victory for open source, and kudo to the person who weather through the pressure asserted on him/her. We know that even in the best of circumstances the pressure would be huge and we are actually seeing one of the worst of circumstances.