January 24, 2007

International Conference for Open Source in India

Bidyut Nath writes "Forum for Open Source Innovations Formed
Agenda to promote innovation in applications for pro-poor technologies; Will bring together OS evangelists from industry, government, users and media at the fourth LinuxAsia 2007 convention.

New Delhi, January 16, 2007: To accelerate the adoption of Open Source (OS) by fostering innovation and development within the country, a group of individuals from the Linux/Open Source community have come together to constitute the Forum for Open Source Initiatives in India (FOSII). Senior industry professionals, technology journalists, enthusiasts, mediapersons and others from the OS community comprise the membership of the FOSII.

Sandeep Menon, convener of FOSII and director of Linux business for Novell West Asia said, “FOSII members belong to various facets of the Linux/OSS (Open Source Software) ecosystem, which includes the industry, academia, government, and the community. Though the initial members are all from India, some foreign members too are expected to join this forum to share their global experience and aid the initiative”. The forum already claims membership of some key names in the open source industry including Sandeep Menon from Novell, Faisal Paul from HP India and Rahul Chopra from LINUX For You magazine.

According to Menon, the key objective of the FOSII is to provide a platform that – (i) acts as a neutral environment to pursue common agenda by combining and sharing resources; (ii) provides an opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals and organizations; and (iii) a meeting-ground where any conflicting stances can be resolved.

The forum is kicking off its activities with the announcement of holding LinuxAsia 2007, Asia’s premier Open Source conference and exposition, now in its fourth year, in New Delhi from January 31 to February 2, 2007. This year, the annual meet is being driven by the newly-formed FOSII which has taken over the management and organisation of LinuxAsia to further the promotion and adoption of open source and encourage innovation in the technology for the benefit of humankind. The theme for the LinuxAsia 2007 convention will be “innovations in the field of open source to help develop pro-poor technologies and thus bridge the digital divide”.

Linux and Open Source software are rapidly changing the landscape of IT in India and the whole world. Indian industry, academia and the government have started acknowledging Linux and open source as a viable alternative to high-cost computing solutions and yet maintaining high standards of quality and reliability. Today, open source solutions are being developed on nearly all of India's major languages and are cost-effectively meeting a broad range of economic and social needs.

LinuxAsia is one of the biggest Linux/OSS events in Asia, and its 2007 edition would mark the fourth anniversary of the event. With FOSII providing the overall direction to the event, LinuxAsia 2007 is sure to provide the much-needed impetus to the Indian open source community to reach to a level where it can start contributing actively to the overall software pool of the world and forge ahead with its avowed agenda of

fostering development of actual pro-poor applications, rather than just being an academic exercise.

The meet aims to bring together persons from various backgrounds, who are stakeholders in the agenda to make India a superpower in the field of open source innovations, the way it has become for software services. The organisers hope that over the years it would promote innovation in development that will bring the benefit of technology to the poorest of the poor. Key international luminaries in the field of technology and open source, like Brian Behlendorf from the Apache foundation, Klaus Knopper from the knoppix project and Louis Potts from OpenOffice.org, along with noted academicians and industry personnel will share their views on how open source can help foster innovation to address the grass-root ICT challenges. In addition, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) has agreed to be Knowledge Partners for LinuxAsia 2007. In that role, PWC will track discussions during the three-day deliberations and identify the pressing challenges for the OS community in areas of information and communication technology that need to be addressed for a country like India. The FOSII along with PWC hopes to throw these challenges into an open challenge contest for the forthcoming year.

About LinuxAsia

Being held for the fourth consecutive year, LinuxAsia is the premier open source conference and expo in the region. It attracts the Linux community, serious users, government policy makers and industry across the board. The last edition of the event attracted over 5000 visitors over a span of three days.

The last three episodes of LinuxAsia were being managed by the EFY Group (publishers of LINUX For You and Electronics for You magazines) and their US based partners – Technetra Corporation. However, LinuxAsia 2007 marks an important shift, wherein the overall 'direction' of the event will be managed by FOSII and its members. The EFY Group has provided the initial infrastructure support for FOSII including team members for its secretariat."

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