Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some random open source stuff

I had just finished helping some people from Jabatan Pelajaran with their reporting and PHP which by the way took the whole day. They've been developing it from scratch. Even I forgot the insert syntax :P yea I'm quite used to framework already. Anyway, the point is, they said they know some other government agencies who already has this and that system so why can't they just take it and reuse it at their own agency? Such a hassle to build when they're the only 2 IT people supporting the whole Jabatan. And they're not even programmers.

The answer to this is quite obvious - open source environment. Malaysian government should have its own sourceforge where all these systems can get in there and show off. Doesn't matter if they're build from scratch or by using frameworks, elegant code or not, it's supposed to be where malaysian government servants should feel comfortable at, at least as a playground for programmers in the government sector. I like the idea when other people come and see my code and suggest some new features or report bugs or better yet, submit patches. My apps will not only get better, but I get to learn too. This of course varies to each of us, some of us may be get intimidated at the idea of others who's probably better programmers looking at our wee wee code. Some will right away jump at the opportunity to the point of annoying everyone. Some will just accept it as it is and do nothing about it. I'm sure you've heard this a million times: it's the first step that counts. Here's an advice: take that step and see where you'll end up.

Who cares if the app is not perfect, then again, which app ever is. It's the continuous development along with the requested features that will make it 'perfect'. A success of a software doesn't depend on how advance the code or the tool is, it's when the user says "I like this software. It helps me alot in my day to day tasks. I use it everyday". Now wouldn't that something every developers would want to hear. You've developed a small app still using PHP with every page you have to mysql_connect at the top but everyone in your bahagian/seksyen/jabatan/etc depends on it, I will say to you - you rock!

For you men of real martians, you get to feed you ego. Ya ya everyone will know you as the so and so contributor, you have stories to tell to you fellow colleagues and later on your kids, you get to brag, and sometimes you can make some money out of it even though open source is not really about money. Just be careful, ego too big will cut your life short. Too small it's a turn off ok. And girls, this is the time for us to rise and show the world what we've got. There's so many of us graduating in IT/CS in Malaysia, alot working in the government as IT Officers - where are you? Get in here ladies. First step: join

I think what could stop them from sharing apps even if we have this kind of sourceforge is they probably think if they share it, they'll lose ownership of it. Pride. One of the deadliest sin - seems the deadlier it is the more people has it. Or they think if they share their app, they'll share their confidential info too. Hmmpphh... shows how much open source education is needed. Lack of understanding and exposure is one item we still have to beat and it's not going to be easy.

Ooohh didn't mean to write this long. Just feeling bad for the people I helped today - it's better if they can just browse and download and install.


  1. can be accessed with that domain now btw. easier to remember.

  2. Maybe there's a problem with the "open source environment" in regards to the workplace here in Malaysia whether private or public sector. Because usually whatever is done for the workplace is "owned" by whatever organization the person work at, and thus they do not feel free to just upload it somewhere to be shared by others. Maybe if there was more awareness the developers might push for being allowed to publish their work, but since most people are not even aware of the advantages of open source there's no one fighting for it. Just my 2 cents.

  3. @abdza: lack of awareness and common (but very wrong) perception of being open is not safe@kaeru: i LOVE u for that!

  4. boycott israel.. boycott php... boycott zend..kill.. kill.. die.. die...