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Vietnamese Communist Party gets Intel onboard

Open-source software for the people

The Vietnamese Communist Party's decision to move its computer systems to open-source software got a boost today from Intel, the world's largest chip maker.

Under terms of a memorandum of understanding signed on Friday, Intel will help the Communist Party's Central Committee for Science and Education (CCSE) set up a laboratory, called OpenLab, for testing and developing open-source software. Over the next three years, the lab will oversee the installation of open-source software on 27,000 PCs running Intel processors, the chip maker said.

The Communist Party's decision to use open-source software matches a wider Vietnamese government effort. In 2004, the government announced plans to promote the use of open-source software in a bid to reduce its IT costs and promote the development of the local software industry.

The Communist Party is counting on open-source software to improve office automation and efficiency across different party organisations. It also hopes to benefit from improved security and reliability, the chip maker said. An Intel spokeswoman in Vietnam was not immediately available to comment further on the deal.

Intel is investing heavily in Vietnam, which has emerged as a low-cost alternative to manufacturing in China. In February, Intel announced plans to build a $300m (about £159m) test and assembly plant in Ho Chi Minh City. When completed, the Ho Chi Minh City site will be Intel's seventh test and assembly plant, joining the ranks of similar facilities in China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Costa Rica.

The Ho Chi Minh City plant is expected to eventually employ 1,200 workers.


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