[Warning: This entry is real, not a joke]
The new Thai ICT minister recently gave a talk at the IT Press Club that he does not support e-Society and e-Book projects.
Keeping Digital Divide
Here is what I found about e-Society policy initiated by the previous government.
This policy thrust focuses on promoting an improved quality of life and developing a Knowledge-Based Society by bridging the digital divide within Thai society. This will be achieved by developing an information infrastructure equally accessible to all; developing human resources skilled in IT; augmenting educational capacity to promote learning within society; creating and supporting opportunities to bridge the digital divide; developing IT systems to support learning communities; using IT to improve the quality of life through dissemination of and providing access to information; and creating a society through IT support of civil society initiatives.
Apparently he comes with the idea that technology is luxury asset. What he want to achieve is to expand fiber optic network throughout the country in order to increase broadband users double every year while the price decrease. I hope he is thinking about leapfrogging penetration. Note that only about 10% of Thai population go online (Source: NECTEC). If not, the disparity of those who have and have not access to Internet will be even larger.
Time to say good bye to e-Book
For e-Book project, he argued that it is bad for eyes and feel like reading a real book, according to Thairath. I just don’t want to criticize much about his opinion. Just a little comment that instead of getting rid of the project, I hope he could further discuss with Ministry of Science and Technology to work on promoting HCI issues in Thailand.
The Ending of Open Source
He gave a short note that he does not see much benefits of opensource!!!
“With open source, there is no intellectual property. Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain. If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated,” he said.
Apart from Linux, he claimed that most open source software is often abandoned and not developed, and leads to a lot of low-quality software with lots of bugs.
“As a programmer, if I can write good code, why should I give it away? Thailand can do good source code without open source,” he said. [Source: Bangkok Post]
It seems likely what he focuses in his term is the “image” of the Ministry and the censorship of online information.
Once again, welcome to Thailand, land of egonomy.