However, the situation of OSS/FS in Asia is by no means uniform. China is investing enormous sums of government funds to develop a desktop Linux environment equivalent to Windows. In Korea and Taiwan, products with Linux pre-installed are actively being developed. In this way, in East Asia an IT industry has already developed, and these countries are supporting OSS/FS in order to nurture their own IT industries. In Southeast Asia, however, OSS/FS activity has only just begun. As personal computers are relatively expensive, in these countries expectations are greatest for OSS/FS as a low-cost desktop environment in an effort to eliminate the "digital divide," one of the major problems associated with information technologies.
In all of these countries, the training of OSS/FS developers is becoming a pressing national policy issue. It is also crucial for Japan to take the initiative in the OSS/FS field in Asia, and to contribute to Asian countries and achieve growth together. This survey was conducted to determine the current status of OSS/FS developers in Asia and to provide reference material for studying these policies.
This survey represents the Japanese version of the FLOSS survey* conducted in Europe in 2002, the FLOSS-US survey** conducted in the United States during the first half of 2003, and the FLOSS-JP survey*** conducted in Japan during the latter half of 2003. The FLOSS survey was implemented by the International Institute of Infonomics, University of Maastricht, Netherlands, in 2002 under a grant from the IST Program of the European Commission. The FLOSS-US survey was implemented in 2003 by Stanford University's Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) under a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). As these surveys were conducted in English, there was little participation by developers in Japan and the other countries of Asia. Accordingly, the authors decided to implement a FLOSS-JP survey in Japanese and a FLOSS-ASIA survey in the languages of the other countries of Asia.