[gnulinuxinasia] Singapore hosts major Asian Open Source meet in early Nov (2003)

  • From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: gnulinuxinasia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2004 02:17:30 +0530 (IST)

This was written late last year (2003). FN


From Frederick Noronha

Japan is teaming up with the Singapore LUG, to host an Asian-level meeting
on Open Source, that aims to build a "concrete co-operative community" and
embark on "effective projects" among a larger number of countries in the
planet's most populous continent.

From November 2 to 4, 2003, delegates from a dozen-and-half countries will
meet at Singapore for the second Asia Open Source Software Symposium.

It is a follow-up to the one held in Phuket, Thailand in March 2003. This
meet's aims include updating participants of developments in each country,
building a 'management system' for the scattered Open Source community, and
finding ways to promote it through enhanced Asian cooperation.

Funded by the Japanese Centre of International Cooperation for
Computerization (CICC), the event is being organised in collaboration with
the Linux Users' Group Singapore (LUGS).

Eighteen countries reports are expected to come in during the meet, to help
paint a detailed canvas of the OSS projects which are underway, introduce
organisations and groups active in different countries, and describing the
various players in the Open Source and Free Software sphere in this critical
part of the globe. 

For a sprawling continent somewhat divided by thriving diverse cultures and
the lack of common languages across its vast lands, Asia is also making
efforts to look at the various GNU/Linux distributions being put out in
various economies here.

(For instance, the Thai TLE distro or the Filipino Bayanihan Linux, come in
their own slick and impressive packing. But few outside these respective
countries might even be aware of their existance. In India, Milan, a distro
that offers local language support in tongues spoken by tens of millions,
has recently made its little-noticed debut.)

"If you had projects in your area that were OSS related, please suggest how
you expect to succeed in them if there was support -- in whatever form --
available from the Asia OSS community," the organisers of the meet told
intending participants. See http://www.asia-oss.org for details.

Countries to be represented include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China,
India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan,
Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, and Vietnam.

Said the organisers of the event to be hosted at the Pan Pacific Hotel
(http://singapore.panpacific.com): "The last ten years have seen dramatic
growth in the popularity of Open Source Software (OSS) in all sectors --
government, business, academia, research and development as well as

"A major beneficiary of these technologies are the lesser developed
economies who are generally dependent on the ability to push national
development on the basis of the availability of low-cost computing devices
on which OSS are able to function very well."

In March 2003, the first-ever Asian Open Source Software Symposium was held
at Phuket, Thailand. That meet was sponsored by Japan's CICC and Thailand's
National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NSTDA) -- giving a hint
of growing official interest in Free/Libre and Open Source Software in Asia. 

Some 100 participants took part in the first meet. 

Participants at both meet include official organisation representiatives and
IT policy makers, officially-funded R&D groups, business and industry using
Open Source, academia, instututions focussing on human resource development,
and supporting community groups. 

Some 70 participants are expected for this by invitation-only meet.

Recently, organisers voiced their interest to expanding this network from
being primarily South-East Asia focussed, to include South Asia too. 

This time, special attempts have been made to involve countries like India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, according to Venkataraman 'Nara'
Narayanan, a Singapore-based consultant to the CICC. CICC is funded by the
Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), apart from other

"There's a lot is happening on the Open Source front in India. It's too
important to ignore," he told this correspondent, during a recent meet. 

Narayanan and CICC Singapore representative Jun Nakaya are currently India.
They focussed on IT software giants Wipro and IBM in Bangalore;
educationists and government initiatives and also school-related projects
using GNU/Linux.

Sometimes referred to as Open Source, and at other times called Free
Software -- two names for somewhat differing approaches to build software
which can be freely run, studied, redistributed and improved -- the FLOSS
(Free/Libre and Open Source Software) movements have being gaining momentum
worldwide, including in countries like India in a big way too.

Two 'birds of the feather' sessions are planned during this Singapore meet
-- one focussing on OSS legal issues. Coordinated by Kuo-Wei Wu of Chinese
Taipei, this will identify various types of OSS licenses, debate their
advantages and disadvantages, and look at alternatives.

One attempt would also be to look at a software licence that strikes a
"balance between developer and consumer".

Besides this, the other BoF will look at Open Source software for
e-learning.  It will discuss the various types of tools -- learning
management systems, content development tools, assessment systems, and
repository systems. (ENDS)
     April 2004         | Frederick Noronha, Freelance Journalist
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