The History Indonesia Goes Open Source (IGOS) in the eye of JP

IGOS is a buzz term that culminating into many forms here in Indonesia. First, the term was initiated to state an act of the emerging recognition over Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Later, it was taken into a form of GNU/Linux distribution (distro) based on Fedora, or community edition of Redhat. I remembered between the transformation, the IGOS distro was introduced as Sun Desktop derivative. It was displayed in one of the counter in one of IGOS early show where Microsoft's counter was the popular and the most visited. (Too bad I didn't won the XBOX.:()

There are many difficulties that Indonesia facing during the time, including the dual stance of the government toward the use of FOSS. I remembered that Ministry of Communication and Information (Departemen Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika/ Depkominfo) really doing something about the IGOS movement. At the time, they were bond not to the FOSS side. But, they were using an underground move by deploying IGOS for their own internal use. At the time, IGOS seems lost its cause.

Luckily the cataclysm of FOSS usage in the world, the wide spread Ubuntu, got into Indonesia. I remembered when Mark himself came into Indonesia, speaking in an event held by the Depkominfo. To me, it was like the multimillionaire himself made a note that Indonesia should be dancing in freeness and he introduced Indonesian into that revolutionary.

I remembered what Mark said that day, what I was trying to convinced everyone around me about the emerging new business model: "The software is free but the service is ours"

Yeah, that was the reason why I choose the GNU/Linux and the FOSS as my main research. The new business model that now is widely adopted by IBM, SUN Microsystem, and even recently Microsoft. Mark's words seems explained every aspect of the vague business model. I thank him for the sentence really describing what at the time was to me should be explained in many paragraphs.

The continuation of the meeting is to me is described as the strong wind of FOSS movement. After the meeting, the Indonesian gathered into a small community, which in the end would became the Ubuntu-id.

I remembered back then in 2005, where Debian Conference II held in University of Indonesia, Andi Dharmawan and Ananda Putra members of that community Indonesian Ubuntu (lately bestowed as Ubuntu-id) talked in the show. I remembered back there, we even invited Stallman to talk via Video Conference. To bad, when D-Day, we didn't manage to establish a connection with Stallman so we just watched his video.

The fast growing Ubuntu in the world also affected the FOSS community in Indonesia. As far as I remember, Ubuntu was the first and the only one GNU/Linux distribution that officially accepted Indonesian community as one of their part. Canonical, the company that found and actively manage Ubuntu, even marked the official status by supporting "id" domain of Ubuntu.

Not only the official Ubuntu, the Indonesian Ubuntu community also have their own site and having google mailing list as their discussion room.

The FOSS movement were not by the Ubuntu alone. Indonesian GNU/Linux Users community (Komunitas Pengguna Linux Indonesia/KPLI) also had the contribution by creating series of event for introducing GNU/Linux to people. It was by them the informal meeting known as Kopi Darat/Kopdar became popular. KPLI itself is not an organization, they are to me like community cells.

One important note also is the media that to me successfully introduced FOSS, the InfoLINUX magazine. InfoLINUX magazine has attracted many of its new readers by giving them bonus CD contained with FOSS. They even regularly introduced many new distro. I remembered the publisher of InfoLINUX was so kind that they regularly sponsored many FOSS events.

Meanwhile, IGOS that had morphed into a distro seems like stuck in the middle of nowhere. The IGOS distribution in my point a view is seems like a dead project. Their community wasn't there to support them. Their site is almost functioning. But, the fatal thing about them is the close development they took. This is definitely not a good thing about FOSS.

I have found many exotic distros, including distros from Indonesia. They seems not well maintained and stuck somewhere and lost their cause. This is because of the inexperience of developers about the new trend. FOSS is about openness and the continued support of community. This is understandable for some distros, because they weren't hosted anywhere and never have enough fund. Unfortunately, IGOS distro have the same result while they were supported.

Now, with the lost cause of IGOS, the Depkominfo seems eager wants to put the term into the right definition, a movement. With the help of Ubuntu-id community, they want to revive the long lost BlankOn, which named BlankOn 2. It was first based on RedHat, later on as Fedora. But now, it move its core into Ubuntu-based. This BlankOn 2 project will be a new history of creating Indonesian distro. Well, this is an ongoing project and the process is in the way to establish the servers.

A note about Indonesian distro, the Kuliax distro should also have proper attention. This distro, afaik, has gained international attention. This Knoppix-based distribution have a future and I think it has interesting concept that differ from Ubuntu's Edubuntu.

To conclude, if anyone from Indonesian FOSS read this, there are things that I would like to remind you:
1. FOSS is about openness, so have your community involved, make them own.
2. FOSS is about community, create a warm community and make them own.
3. FOSS is about contribution, gives the community a chance to contribute, make them own.

And if you were a business man, well, I know some formula about making FOSS to generate venues. But, that is beyond my intention. Believe me, I was trying to convinced many people back in 2004/2005 about the emerging market. I wished we could be one of the pioneer that time. Too late, now we just one of the follower. Well, on second thought, I think we are not that late.

Btw, who am I to judge? I just watched them. Many things not covered in here, like the history of KPLI (which existed way before the term IGOS mentioned). Many movements such like the events from Indonesian universities and KPLI inviting open source people and converting people to FOSS. I just happened watched only few events. But, I just try to start my story from when the government have the term IGOS proclaimed.

Anyway, I just only a watcher, if there were something noticeable happened in IGOS, which my attention lack for, feel free to comment.


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