Overview of the Asia Open Source Software Community

We, Asia Open Source Software Community, are just starting to collaborate each other.


The popularity of Open Source Software (OSS) has grown at an astonishing rate such that government, business sector, academy, R&D related organizations, and community groups have been expecting its policy to promote the use of open source software. The major advantage of open source software includes operation/development cost reduction, computer security raise, and, ultimately, competitiveness gain in software business and industry. However, in those economies which are slow in their economic development, the main focus concerns distribution of low-cost, rather than the most powerful PCs. open source software can contribute greatly to this issues.

Another issues involves the growing gap in the information society or the problem of digital divide, due to enormously varied degrees of technological advances, Government policy, and knowledge and understanding of open source software among the participating economies. This leads to the need for Asian economies to cooperate in order to bridge the growing gap. This also involves promoting open source software.

At the same time, whereas various kinds of organizations and communities conduct development and promotion activities under different circumstances/levels in order for information sharing, regional and international cooperative network including organizations and communities, have not been fully connected to share their knowledge and experience.

Considering above background, peoples who are eager to develop their own software technology by their hands are gathered from various areas in Asia. We held the "Asia Open Source Software Symposium 2003" in March, 2003 at Phuket, Thailand.

The 1st Symposium in Thailand (March, 2003)

The first symposium "Asia Open Source Software Symposium 2003" was held on March 4-6, 2003 at Phuket, Thailand. It was hosted by CICC, Japan, and NECTEC/NSTDA, Thailand.

The Symposium was attended by about 100 participants in 14 economies from East Asia and South East Asia; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Two speakers are also invited from Germany and USA. We (i.e. participants) gathered from IT policy makers, business/industry sectors utilizing OSS, R&D groups under government, academic/educational sectors, and open source communities.

After two welcome addresses from the Director of NECTEC and CICC, the symposium began with the opening address from the Governor of Phuket Province on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Thailand.

Most of the first two days were spent by the presentations of regional open source software movements from 10 economies. In the East Asia, the open source software was already considered as one of the key technology for business and industry, especially server areas and embedded systems. But, its utilization was still limited and concerning policy was examined in some economies. In the ASEAN, open source software was a focus of attention as low-cost ICT solutions for regional IT business/industry, and for bridging the digital divide. Some economies, for example Thailand, advocated open source software in their national ICT policy.

Additionally, we had two special discussion sessions about embedded system and interoperability. We also had demonstrations by local/global Linux distributors and IT vendors.

On the last day, we had a round table discussion chaired by Prof. Masayuki Ida, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan. We discussed many issues concerning open source software and shared knowledge. The issues and comments are categorized by 14 items.

Finally, we reached to propose The Statement from the Asia Open Source Software Symposium 2003 (Phuket Statement). The statement was included with 3 parts; sharing expectations for OSS in Asia, sharing vision of OSS, and future activities.

Summary of "Phuket Statement"
Sharing expectations for OSS in Asia
- 1. Current situation
- 2. Recent progress
Sharing vision of OSS
- 3. Encouraging OSS community
- 4. Human resources development
- 5. Right understanding of legal issues on OSS
- 6. Interoperability
- 7. Effective utilization of OSS in embedded systems
Future activities
- 8. Collaboration on OSS in Asia
- 9. Collaboration with international organizations
We agreed that we will continue further discussion through a mailing list and web site (http://www.asia-oss.org/) in order to establish a cooperative framework in Asian region. We also agreed with the 2nd symposium to be held in the near future.

* CICC : Center of International Cooperation for Computerization, Japan
* NECTEC/NSTDA : National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand

The 2nd Symposium in Singapore (November, 2003)

[General summary]
On 2nd and 3rd November, the 2nd OSS Symposium was hosted by Center of the International Cooperation for Computerization (CICC) and Linux Users' Group, Singapore (LUGS) that welcomed OSS leaders and related delegates in Asia.

About 70 people participated in the Symposium from 18 economies, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam.

Based on the Phuket Statement announced at the 1st Asia OSS Symposium in March 2003, the aim of this 2nd Symposium has been to share policies/technical movements of OSS in Asian economies, to acknowledge the common themes to be solved, and to discuss a concrete cooperative scheme.

[Agenda summary]
On the 1st day, a Welcome address was given by Mr. Lim Swee Tat, President of LUGS and Mr. Akio Kanaya, Executive Director of CICC, an Opening speech by Mr. Hiroyoshi Watanabe of METI, and an introduction to the Symposium and Keynote speech was presented. In the afternoon session, the OSS status of economies was shared, and active discussion was held in the BOF (Bird of the Feather) sessions under the theme of e-Learning and legal issues. On the 2nd day, participants aggressively exchanged their ideas in the Round table discussion (Chairman : Prof. Masayuki Ida of Aoyama Gakuin University) based on a Strategic Planning Roadmap Draft, and in the Special session on Standardization.

Consequently, the formation of working groups to prepare for possible action items was discussed in the Round Table discussion, which will be decided by the next 3rd Asia OSS Symposium. Further details will be discussed on the Asia OSS ML, and a concrete report of this symposium will be updated on the Asia OSS HP http://www.asia-oss.org/ as well.

We plan to have the 3rd Asia OSS Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam on 8th to 10th of March, 2004. This 3rd symposium will be open for wider attention, and the 2nd symposium was the milestone meeting with selected participants toward our goal.

Future Plan

There will be scheduled a symposium in the near future.

The 3rd Symposium in Vietnam (March, 2004)

The third symposium will be held at Hanoi, Vietnam in March 8th -- 10th, 2004. It will be the first symposium that is open to public. We expect many people interested in Open Source software will attend the symposium. The agenda will be announced in 2004.

Asia Open Source Software Community Webmaster