[Linux-aus] Malaysia to "get ahead of its neighbours" in IT through OSS

Les Bell lesbell at lesbell.com.au
Mon Sep 1 08:57:02 UTC 2003

Jon maddog Hall <maddog at li.org> wrote:

Malaysia has the issue that they are more entrenched in Microsoft than
countries, having a lack of a Unix or proprietary infrastructure.
they are feeling a bit more disoriented about how to get started.

Very, very, true, Jon. I did a two-week "train the trainer" for a training
company in KL a couple of years ago, using broadly LPI-compliant material,
and it was *very* hard work. The attendees were all young instructors and
all of them had recently graduated from their own company's MCSE courses.
They had no understanding whatsoever of working at the command line or of
other basic UNIX concepts, let alone real-world experience. Malaysia simply
doesn't have any experienced "graybeards" (begging your honourable pardon
<g>) to pass on a legacy or culture of UNIX administration. What they *do*
have is youth, enthusiasm, and energy.

I will also say that I am definitely impressed with Malaysia's almost
minded focus on becoming a "first world" power by 2020, and their
that Free and Open Source could help them get there.  They *will* be an
economic force to contend with.

The single-minded focus is a characteristic of some Asian cultures; I've
seen it a lot in lecturing there, and have seen the same thing in, for
example, some Asian flying-school students studying here. It can be a
double-edged sword - students are so focused on their immediate objective
that they will consciously pass up opportunities to learn about something
unrelated but useful. I see it a lot in Singapore and Hong Kong - students
will bail me up against the wall with specific (usually job-related)
questions that they could have answered for themselves if they'd been
thinking during the previous sessions.

I'm actually pleased that the KL audiences I get are much *less* focused
and willing to pursue alternatives; it's what is getting them into FOSS in
the first place. For example, I've introduced Linux to Windows-oriented
students in a hands-on variant of my "TCP/IP Networking in Action" course,
and been pleased with the positive response. Although I "softened the blow"
a little by using Webmin to perform network configuration tasks, many of
the students asked questions which led to use of the command line, for
example, in setting up and testing iptables-based firewalls. In fact, the
KL students usually show more enthusiasm for the use of Linux than
Australian audiences!

It is somewhat ironic that you sent out the "After Malaysia, the Nordic
Countries", because at the end of this month I am going to Sweden and
to participate in four different activities in two weeks.

Ahh, the glamorous life of the international traveller. . . The community
owes you a vote of thanks for taking this kind of thing on; it's no fun
dealing with jet-lag and living out of a suitcase.


--- Les Bell, RHCE, CISSP

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