China encourages financial sector to use open source software • The Register

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China has asked its financial sector to embrace free and open source software (FOSS).

An advice from the People’s Bank of China and the country’s cyberspace administration basically boils down to “go there.”

The document calls on Chinese financial industry players to use free software whenever they see fit, to contribute to free software projects, and to respect the licenses under which such software is released. Financial institutions are also encouraged to collaborate with technology companies, universities and other institutions on FOSS efforts.

China particularly wants its financial institutions to work on operating systems, databases, middleware, cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain projects.

Organizations are also urged to be vigilant, creating internal committees to assess the security of open source software and reviewing software supply chains.

One of the recommendations in the document is that users should create contingency plans in case free and open source software contains backdoors or security holes. China also appears to be aware of litigation alleging FOSS patent infringements, as the notice sets out steps users should take to mitigate the risk of intellectual property litigation.

It does not mandate free software, but strongly recommends participating in global efforts to create free software.

China has already had huge success with free software – its telecom operators and web giants like Baidu and Tencent are among the largest users of OpenStack in the world and its existence has helped them all reach extraordinary scale in very not much time.

The Middle Kingdom therefore has a very good example of FOSS bringing immense benefits, which makes these new decrees for the financial services community unsurprising. ®


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