Will There Be a Khmer Windows 8?

Local representatives of Microsoft Corp appeared to differ this week on whether the company was developing a Khmer-language edition for the forthcoming version of the company’s widely used operating software.

Piseth Chhourm, technology specialist at Microsoft’s Phnom Penh office, said the company was developing a Khmer-language version of Windows 8.

“Microsoft is developing a Khmer interface for Windows 8 but there are no promises or official announcements,” Mr Chhourm said.

However, Pily Wong, country manager of Microsoft’s Market Development Program, said Mr Chhourm was mistaken. Although Microsoft is developing Windows 8, the company does not intend to develop a Khmer interface until Cambodia’s high piracy rate decreases, Mr Wong said.

“What would be the use to develop a Khmer version of Windows if it is just copied?”

Javier Solai, coordinator for the Khmer OS project, which is run by the NGO Open Institute and aims to provide computer tools in Khmer, said that Microsoft would not see the translation of Windows into Khmer as profitable because there is no copyright on software in Cambodia.

“They do not see any money in it so do not see any point in investing in translation,” Mr Solai said.

An operating system called openSUSE, based on the Linux family of open source operating systems, has a Khmer-language interface that is used by the Information Ministry and taught to high school students, he said.

Phu Leewood, secretary-general of National Information Communications Technology Development Authority, said the government had not been informed of plans to develop Windows 8 in Khmer.

“If they are developing a Khmer-language Windows they have not told us,” Mr Leewood said.

Var Roth San, director of the Culture Ministry’s department of intellectual property rights, said copyright law only protected computer programs established in Cambodia.

“Microsoft is not protected because the programming is done outside of Cambodia,” Mr Roth San said.

Nevertheless, a draft memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation between Microsoft and the government is under consideration at the Council of Ministers, he said.


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