Singapore to Host Open Source Conference

Vendors such as Novell, Oracle, and Red Hat hope the expo, to be held next February, will raise awareness of their software products in Southeast Asia

The Open Source Singapore Pacific-Asia Conference and Expo (OSSPAC) is slated to be held from Feb. 16 to 18.

Kent Barnard, president of the U.S.-based event organizer, told ZDNet Asia the event is expected to attract over 800 delegates ranging from systems administrators and developers, to C-level executives from countries in the region including India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Barnard said via e-mail: "This is the first open source conference of this scale to be held in Singapore, and in fact the entire Southeast Asian region."

According to the executive, OSSPAC is distinct from other smaller open source conferences in that the latter tend to focus on specific components of the open source community, such as the Linux OS.

The OSSPAC, however, aims to include other open source technologies in its lineup, such as PHP and Rails, as well as Linux, said Barnard.

He added that commercial and government interests need to focus on a market, such as open source, that is "not constrained by proprietary interests".

So far, open source vendors Oracle, Novell and Red Hat, and local entities Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board, have signed on as sponsors.

Novell's Asia-Pacific president, Maarten Koster, said in an e-mail interview: "Asia is very fragmented in its understanding and acceptance of open source, both in the public sector and private sector."

Novell is hoping the conference will help raise awareness of open source software for decision makers and sophisticated markets, "on critical issues such as mixed environments and technologies such as virtualization", Koster said.

Research firm IDC said businesses in the region last year were warming up to open source technology, for reasons such as perceived cost savings and increased security associated with open source software.

According to IDC, businesses in Asia reported between 25 percent and 70 percent of their software assets were based on open source last year.

The research house expects open source worldwide adoption to accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent from 2006 to 2011, with global revenues hitting US$5.8 billion in 2011.

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