October 20, 2003

Open Asia: Open source in the Tajikistan, Taiwan, and Thailand

Author: Frederick Noronha and Lee Schlesinger

We continue our country-by-country survey of the availability of open source software across Asian countries with a look at developments in Tajikistan, Taiwan, and Thailand.


The Linux Tajik Translation Project aims to translate MandrakeLinux into the Tajik language.


The Register last year noted that "the Taiwanese legislature has announced plans to subsidize development of open-source systems for the public and private sectors, the Taipei Times
reported. Starting 2003, the National Supercomputing Center will begin a
two-year mission to encourage development Chinese-language operating systems
and office applications for use throughout the nation's bureaux, schools and
offices. The legislature reckons that by getting into rehab and kicking the
Microsoft crack habit the government could save NT $2 billion while the
private sector could save NT $10 billion in licensing fees."

CNET reported last year that the Taiwanese government had launched an investigation into allegations that Microsoft misused its market dominance by indiscriminately increasing prices there. CNET also reported that Taiwan's
government "will encourage research and development in office
software and the opening of the source code for government agencies and
private establishments.... The government is also planning to set up six
educational centers around Taiwan to train open-source developers. Three
years after the introduction of the open-source project, the centers will be
training 120,000 basic users and 9,600 advanced users."

Taiwan is home to the XCIN project, an X Input Method (XIM) server that allows Chinese input under the X Window System. The Chinese Linux Documentation Project aims to translate Linux message into Chinese.

The Chinese Linux Extension Project, which provides Chinese add-ons to Linux, was spotlighted in Salon.com last year that covered a dispute over the use of the Taiwanese Republic of China flag in Red Hat Linux.

User groups include the Tainan Linux User Group, Kaohsiung Linux User Group, and Software Liberty Association of Taiwan.


Linux has a strong presence in Thailand. The Thai Linux Working Group provides a
mostly-Thai language Web portal for FLOSS in this part of the globe, including many relevant links. Software.thai.net provides information promoting open source software. Pladao Office and Office TLE are Thai versions of OpenOffice. Thailinux.com, OpenSource.thai.net, and the Thailand Open Source Federation provide general FLOSS information, as best we can tell without knowing the language, and the country hosts the Prince of Songkla University Linux User Group

Thailand's National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre developed Linux School
Internet Server
(Linux-SIS), a Linux distro designed to be an affordable alternative for schools ready to move beyond the
first phase of Internet implementation. Version 1.0 was released in April 1997, and the project is now up to version 4.2, which inlucdes a Digital Library Tool Kit (designed to offer easy-to-use functions, that allow teachers and specially those with no
knowledge of HTML to develop Net-based lessons for students).

Other local distros include Linux TLE and GrandLinux.


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