Current Status on Open Source Movement in Indonesia

Yohanes Nugroho

This paper gives a current status of the Open Source movement in Indonesia. It lists and describes active projects and organizations in Indonesia that are OSS related and also contains recent events which are related to OSS in Indonesia.

Knowing the status and advances of the open source movement in other countries can be very useful to implement similar thing in our countries. We can learn other's mistakes, or give advices on solving a particular problem, we can also propose a partnership with other countries that carry out similar project or have similar goals.

This paper will present the current state of the OSS movement in Indonesia, with a hope that it will be useful, both for other countries and for Indonesia. The recent events in related to OSS in Indonesia will be presented in the first part of this paper before giving the current state of the open source movement in Indonesia.

1. Recent events in Indonesia related to OSS
The new Intellectual Property Law [1] that has been made effective since July 30th, 2003 has quite big effects on pirated software users and distributors. The new legislation has forced many companies [2] to switch to legal software (commercial or open source). But there hasn't been any survey on how much effect the new legislation has on open source software.

The upcoming national election in 2004 has drawn much attention in the Information Technology field, because of the large budget used on the IT implementation [3]. All people expect that the election in 2004 can be monitored better than the previous election through the development of a national networked computer for election monitoring. However, the open source community has failed to show advantages of the open source to the government on this matter and the government has chosen to

use Microsoft Windows based computer, with Microsoft Office for all the monitoring and data entry purpose.

These two events has drawn much attention from the open source community, but unfortunately, the effect to the open source development in Indonesia is not as good as expected. Most organization, companies, and projects are only slightly affected. But from these two events, especially the later, the open source community in Indonesia can learn to explain more about open source software to the government.

2. OSS-related projects with official support
A project which has an official support from the government or from a formal organization indicates the government or the organization's trust to the open source software. The success of a project with an official support can increase public trust on open source software. Currently, there are three projects which have an official supports and have been quite successful: KOMURA, GDL, and NetOffice.

KOMURA (KOmputer MURAh/Cheap Computer) According to survey from BPPT (Badan Penerapan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Indonesia) which was conducted in 6 cities in Indonesia with more than 1500 respondent, the biggest hurdle on using computer in Indonesia is the high cost for using computer (hardware, software, and training cost) and the language used in the software. The KOMURA project aims to solve these two problem.

To reduce the hardware cost, this project uses the LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project). The project uses cheap old computers (the price for a computer can be as low as US $120) for the client and a modern PC for the server (the price for the server is about US$750). To reduce (and almost eliminate) software cost, this project uses only open source software. They used self developed Linux distribution called WinBI.

To break the language barrier, this project translates the KDE user interface to Indonesian Language, and also provides e-books in Bahasa Indonesia (in PDF format). Currently they have five e-books in Bahasa Indonesia included in their WinBI

distribution: The KDE Documentation, WinBI reference, Translation Guidelines, and Public License in Indonesia.

The number of computer that has been deployed until October 10th, 2003 is 21 client with one server. BPPT will deploy another 25 client on Mahasaraswati University on October 15th 2003, and they will also deploy the KOMURA in 7 high school on Bali, with 10 computers on each school.

In the future, the developers of WinBI is planning to include another open source project from BPPT the Kantaya Project. Kantaya ( is a groupware to support collaboration and virtual office management. They expect to be able to show the advantages of locally networked computer through Kantaya. The Kantaya project is currently in a dormant state.

Ganesha Digital Library (GDL) GDL ( is Web based digital library software which has been sponsored by the YLTI (Yayasan Litbang Telekomunikasi dan Informatika/Foundation for Telecommunication and Informatics Research) and IDRC (International Development Research Center) Canada. GDL has been quite popular and the web page shows that it has been used in at least 34 registered sites.

The GDL has been used to implement the Indonesian Digital Library Network (Indonesia DLN), a network to share digital library data. The program is quite successful and has won an award from the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST).

NetOffice NetOffice ( is a Web based portal which specializes in corporate use (not for generic use like PHPNuke). NetOffice has been implemented in ITB, PLN (Indonesia's state-owned electricity company) Office at Depok, Ministry of Culture and Tourism Indonesia, and other sites. NetOffice is supported by Informatics Engineering Department, ITB (Institute of Technology, Bandung).

3. Successful unofficial OSS projects
There are a lot of projects which have no official support but are quite successful on the Internet, but unfortunately there are very few of them in Indonesia. This kind of projects should get support from the government or other organizations to further popularize the usage of the softwares. One of the quite successful open source projects is Endonesia (, a generic portal software (much like PHPnuke). This software is quite easy to use, still in active development, and has been used in more than 20 sites in Indonesia.

4. OSS Related group and Organizations
OSS project is a community work. The development, testing, and the advocacy are done by the community. The community plays a very important role. But a community also needs organizations or groups to make them more focused and have their work more organized. The following are Indonesia. some of the active open source group in

KPLI (Kelompok Pengguna Linux Indonesia/Indonesia Linux User Group) KPLI (,) is a non profit organization which aims to popularize and educate the society about the Linux Operating System and the OSS.

Tim Pandu Tim Pandu ( is a group of people who creates and maintains Linux articles and ebooks in Bahasa Indonesia

Developer Force Developer Force ( is a community of people who developed Open Source J2EE Software.

OSCG (Open Source Contributor Group) OSCG ( is a group of people who intends to create a place to host, discuss, and develop open source projects (much like source forge).

5. OSS Players in Indonesia
The Indonesian government still does not pay much attention to open source projects. The support is still limited to funding some research and not on implementing large-scale open source project or even to create an open source policy. There are currently no person, organization, or companies which has influence strong enough to affect the government's decision.

There are however few persons who has big impact on the open source community. Two of them are Onno W Purbo and I Made Wiryana. Onno W Purbo has written many practical books on the usage of open source software, but now he is currently active in the wireless telecommunication service. I Made Wiryana has been a Linux and Open Source advocates in Indonesia, and has managed to convince many people to use open source software, he also involved in many open source documentation and translation project.

6. Linux Distributions in Indonesia
Open source gives freedom to its user, and one of the expression for this freedom is in the number of the Linux distribution that are available in this world. Some of this distributions is definitely necessary because it of its special features, but other distribution is only a derivative from other distribution with very small changes. The large number of distribution can be a good indication of freedom, but can also confuse people who tried to use Linux for the first time.

So does that mean a new distribution is unnecessary? There are some problem that can be solved by modifying an existing mainstream distribution but some requires developing a new distribution. A distribution for the Indonesian should solve the problems faced by the Indonesian.

The first problem faced by the Indonesian is in the cost. Although Linux doesn't cost anything, newer distribution (such as RedHat 9 or Mandrake 9) requires expensive hardware to run. This problem can be solved by heavily modifying existing

distribution, or creating a new lightweight distribution. Another problem faced by the Indonesian people is mostly in the language used in application (the user interface and the help), but this can be solved easily by adding translation file to any distribution. Most existing Indonesian distribution, however, doesn't try to solve these problem.

A site called distrowatch ( has been setup to watch the Linux distributions in the World, but unfortunately, not much of the distribution maker who care to register their distribution. The only registered Indonesian distribution is WinBI (which hasn't been updated since last year). Information on other distribution needs to be searched manually in the Internet.

The following are the list of the Indonesian Linux distribution with their description, some of the unimportant Linux distribution such inullinux (which is actually just a parody) and bijaxlinux (which is not used widely and just a one man project) is not included here:

Linux Sehat Linux Sehat ( which literally means Healthy Linux, is a Knoppix based distribution which is distributed freely (both, the ISO image and the CD, including the shipping cost is free) by ICT and University of Gunadarma. The web sites shows, that there are more than 400 CD has been sent.

WinBI WinBI ( contains popular open source software and uses localized KDE. It uses Star Office and KOffice. It also has an LTSP server and client. WinBI is distributed by BPPT, a government research organization.

Rose Rose ( is a Knoppix based distribution without GUI, designed to be run on an old PC (Intel 486 Processor, 16 Mb RAM and 500 Mb of disk space). This distribution is used by the RAB Software Company (an open source software developer) to promote it's open source product (by including it in the

distribution), but can also be used for daily use.

Rimba Linux Rimba ( or tries to create a unique Linux distribution which will fit on Indonesian people. These distribution starts out as a community based distribution, but now it has been marketed by a software company called the Rimba Software. Rimba also provides open source solution, like the aforementioned RAB.

7. Open Source User and Developer in Indonesia
There are currently no data available to indicate the number of open source user or developer in Indonesia. An attempt was made to count the number of the Linux user in Indonesia through the web site, but the site has been stop operating last year, and the last count is not available as the maintainer of the site can not be contacted.

8. Conclusion
Currently, the open source movement in Indonesia has a very slow progress and is quite left behind compared to other Asia countries. The government is still not considering open source as a movement that can bring many advantages and even profit to the country.

Apart from the lack of government support, Indonesia has many disadvantages over other Asian countries. Officially Indonesia does not use non Latin script so the

development of special Input Method (IME) or special version of DNS or special version of any software is not needed (a lot of Asian OSS project is done to modify or create Open Source Software to support a particular script). The bad economic condition also plays important role, many programmers prefer to do work on

proprietary software because currently the open source projects in Indonesia is not very promising economically.

Indonesia still has a very long way to go to catch up with other countries on the open source movement. But some work has already been done, and hopefully many

others will follow. Support and partnership from other countries in Asia is highly needed. References [1] UNDANG-UNDANG REPUBLIK INDONESIA NOMOR 19 TAHUN 2002 TENTANG HAK CIPTA, [2] Hari Pertama Pemberlakuan UU Hak Cipta Pusat Perbelanjaan Bersih dari Barang Bajakan,

cetak/0307/30/utama/460548.htm [3] TI Jangan Jadi Alasan Pembengkakan Dana Pemilu,

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.