Over 130 IT professionals of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from more than 27 countries had gathered at Sukabumi, Indonesia for a nine-day Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) training camp called “ASIA SOURCE II” from 22-30 January 2007. The key objective was to promote the use of FOSS for social and economic development and to build a network of FOSS practitioners and trainers with Asia.
Asia Source II was jointly organized by UNDP's International Open Source Network (UNDP-IOSN) through its ASEAN+3 Centre of Excellence, , InWEnt - Capacity Building International (Germany), Tactical Technology Collective (Netherlands), Aspiration (USA), and ICTWatch (Indonesia). The event was supported by The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Hivos and UNDP's Asia-Pacific Development Programme (UNDP-APDIP).
InWEnt Capacity Building of Germany sees networking as one of the main outcomes of Asia Source II. The newly constituted FOSS network service to key groups such as SMEs and NGOs in the region. One concrete example is a software resource toolkit for SMEs which was kick started at Asia Souce II. According to InWEnt, such capacity building provides large scale opportunities for networked local industries in Asia based on affordable localized solutions and support services. Such economic and social development is one of the main goals of InWEnt IT@FOSS programme[www.it-foss.org].
The Indonesian Minister for Research and Technology, Mr. Kusmayanto Kadiman visited the camp for the inaugural session and the closing ceremony. He reminded the participants of the social and economic benefits and impacts of FOSS to the NGO and SME sectors and introduced the participants to “Indonesia, Go Open Source” (IGOS), an initiative of the Indonesian government which promotes the adoption of FOSS.
During the press conference at Sheraton Hotel Jakarta, Bona Simanjuntak, senior researcher of ICTWatch of Indonesia pointed out that Asia Source II is a most timely opportunity for the Indonesia FOSS community to showcase their achievements to the global community. Idaman Andarmosoko, one of the facilitators, says the choice or venture into Free and Open software for developing countries is basically a strategic choice, as it enables a repositioning on the industrial relations in the software sector. Fran Boon from Oxfam UK emphasized that access to ICTs can be made cheaper by using cheap & simple solutions, such as community radio, wireless networks using hand-built antennas & using old low-powered PCs as thin clients. Allen Gunn of the USA based NGO Aspiration says ”FOSS is both a democratizing and empowering technology, giving practitioners control of their technological destiny while creating publishing, infrastructure and revenue opportunites that would likely be unaffordable with proprietary software”.
The main focus at Asia Source II was open publishing and broadcasting, alternative hardware and access, system migration and information management. There were also special technical sessions on localisation, cryptography, mobile phone and VOIP and non-technical session on FOSS for women, effective communication, campaigning and advocacy strategies, disaster management, FOSS business models, etc.
Facilitators and participants at Asia Source II included Onno Purbo, IT Specialist from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). Farzaneh Sarafraz from Iran who developed Sharif Linux with support for Persian Language. Ravindra De Silva from the Lanka Software Foundation who worked on the Sahana Disaster Managment System. Natasha Primo from Women's Net from South Africa who has helped many African organisations shift from proprietary software to FOSS. Sayamindu Dasgupta from Free Software Foundation, India and Jamil Ahmed from Bangladesh Linux User Group who have jointly contributed to the development of Ankur, a Bengali language distribution of Linux. There are also participants from the National ICT Development Authority of Cambodia, the Philippine Linux User Group, Free Software Foundation of Pakistan, TXTPower from the Philippines and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Indonesia and many other organizations.
Asia Source II is a follow up event to Asia Source I which was held on January 2005 in Bangalore, India and was build on the model of Source Events developed by Tactical Technology Collective – more information: http://replication.tacticaltech.org
For more information on the outcomes of the event such as news reports, blogs, agenda, organisers, please see