The government of the Republic of China will start a "National Open Source Plan" in the Republican Year 92 (2003) to facilitate the development of Free Software. The plan will last two years and complete in Rep. Yr. 94 (2005) and its results will benefit government agencies and non-government organizations. This will save the government NT$ 2 billion (about US$ 59 million) and the society NT$ 10 billion (US$ 294 million).
The Information Technology Committee of the Legislature Yuan held a meeting for "the development and adaption of free software, in order to, in an environment without barriers, increase the competitiveness and independence of the IT industry." The meeting was attended by officials from the National Science Commission, National Supercomputer Center, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Institute of Industrial Technology, Public Works Commission and other organizations.
One official said that in Taiwan most office and school computers run products from few foreign companies. Users do not have much choice, and government agencies and schools spent large sums of money for software purchases every year.
A government estimation shows that, at the end of Rep. Yr. 89 (2000), there were 1,230,000 computers at schools and in the government in Taiwan. If the Windows license fees for each cost NT $6,000, Microsoft collected over NT $7 billion. Adding in the cost of application software (MS Office), the sum would be over NT $10 billion.
Therefore, the National Supercomputer Center is drafting the "National Open Source Plan". The goal is to establish Taiwan's basic software development infrastructure. Via the "common sharing" of open (free) source code, anyone can add his/her own creation onto the common foundation, thus resulting in more perfect software. Free software development will create a diverse software eco-environment and lay a solid foundation for Taiwan's software industry.
The Plan will include the completion of a "Chinese Open Source Software Environment" for the needs of Taiwan users. Also included are international cooperation on free application software development, with the results freely shared internationally, thus raising Taiwan's profile in the high-tech field globally.
Besides software development, this Plan also includes training and education. The government will cooperate with Taiwan's community colleges and other non-government organizations to establish six training centers which will train 120,000 users the basic skills of free software environments. Advanced courses will train 9,600 "seed" people who will then help further adaption of free software environments.
Also, the national education system will switch to Open Source in order to provide a diverse IT education environment and ensure the people's rights to the freedom of information.