Open source event targets developers

The organizer of the Open Source Singapore Pacific-Asia Conference expects developers and programmers to make up 80 percent of the expected attendees.

The organizers of an event billed as Southeast Asia's largest open source conference, are counting on developer interest to fill the seats at the event in February next year.

The Open Source Singapore Pacific-Asia Conference and Expo (OSSPAC), which is also billed as the first open source conference to be held in Southeast Asia, is expected to draw some 800 delegates ranging from programmers to c-level executives.

But Kent Barnard, CEO of KB Conferences, which is organizing the event, said it is the developer population that the organizers are eyeing to fill about 80 percent of the seats. He said in an interview with ZDNet Asia, the burgeoning enthusiasm surrounding open source technologies has been gaining pace.

"I know the market in Singapore is ready, in fact overdue, to embrace open source," said Barnard.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include cloud computing, project innovation, patents and legal issues and the "blending of visions" between governments and enterprises.

The agenda for the three-day event comprises presentations by vendors, but also includes technical training sessions that Barnard is expecting would draw a smaller but enthusiastic audience.

Oracle is running a showcase of its Oracle Enterprise Linux OS and virtualization product, Oracle VM, at a session it calls InstallFest, targeted at developers.

Shane Owenby, senior director, Linux and open source, Oracle Asia-Pacific, told ZDNet Asia he expects a good turnout at the session. "Both products are receiving significant interest from developer communities [and] are also freely distributed by Oracle which also makes them attractive to developers," he said.

Barnard said the organizers issued a call for speaker proposals earlier this month, and have narrowed the submissions down to "two dozen that we're looking at seriously".

He said there has also been keen interest from government bodies, including the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) with which he is in talks in the hope of securing speakers from the industry regulator.

There has also been cooperation from open source vendors such as IBM, Sun and Oracle. Six conference "advisors" from those and other companies have helped steer the event agenda toward the interest topics of the local attendees, he said.

And it is this Asian focus that is helping to draw delegates from outside the region: "They are interested in what is happening in the industry here," noted Barnard.

MySQL founder, David Axmark commented recently in an interview on the lack of developer contribution from the region to open source projects.

Barnard said this "surprises" him, going by the developer response to OSSPAC. "There seems to be a hunger in the Southeast Asian market for new ideas, fresh solutions and innovative thinking. Open source is only just beginning to change the face of business in Asia and across the world," he said.

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