The government is pressed to cut costs agreed with world lenders such as World Bank and IMF, and cost cutting was one of the major changes the current government brought when it assumed power. However old habits die hard. The fact that the government and its related institutions are still buying overpriced popular softwares from Microsoft is evidence that the cost cutting measures haven’t been pursued far enough. On average the offices of the local government and its computerized works does not go beyond word-processing and spreadsheets, which can easily be accommodated by other free Operating systems like Ubuntu Linux.
The fact that retraining employees to a new OS will take time and effort is true, however the average overall office use of the OS is not likely to go beyond a few functions such as word processing and spreadsheets which is only a fraction of the capabilities of an OS. So if there was a need to retrain, it could be limited to what the employees are expected to work with in the OS.
Another development which will add substantial expenses to the government is the proposed copyrights bill which the “Ministry of Economics” erroneously believes will benefit the country. This erroneous belief is based on the belief that there is growing substantial IT sector (& a ‘film industry”) which is supposed to be protected from piracy. However the reality of the situation is that we do not have an IT industry in Maldives yet. We do not have enough online connectivity thanks to the still high rates charged by the ISPs and most of our IT experts are expatriates from India and Sri Lanka and they are certainly not clamoring for copyright bills. As for our ‘fim-industry’ (LOL), one could be forgiven for a laugh… our film industry (if that is the right term) is simply not a film industry. Its a half hearted attempt by some brave souls just to attempt to bring a few smiles and laughs to the country which is made larger than life by the small media we have.
Summing up; the copyrights bill currently in the People’s Majlis (or is it?) if it ever is debated on is likely to be passed and as a result the country will be poorer than as it is. Our parliamentarians (most of them any ways…) are simply not capable of understanding the implications of what they are going to debate and they will end up making Bil Gates a few thousands of dollars richer than already he is at the expense of the our countrymen.
some Anti-copyright arguments from wikipedia:
- Intellectual monopoly
- …results in a weaker incentive at creativity
- …increases the cost of creation
- unlike physical property, intellectual property is not scarce and is, they claim, a legal fiction created by the state
- knowledge should be “shared in solidarity”.