Issue 1, 7 June 2006
IOSN Newsletter launched on the occasion of Asia Commons: Asian Conference on the Digital Commons. http://asia-commons.net
IN THIS ISSUE
Asia Commons: Asian Conference on the Digital Commons, Bangkok, Thailand, 6-8 June 2006
Governments, Going Online and Macau
Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Asia
IOSN Grows to Three More
Partnerships with Asia
LPI Certification in Northeast Asia
Intel Commits Big Money to Third World Project
FOSS Scholarship in India
GNU/Linux in Local Languages: Nepali
Messaging Solution for Small and Medium Companies in the Philippines
Winner from Singapore
Open Source in Singapore
English-Telugu Dictionary Online
UNEGOV.NET, Promoting FOSS in e-Governance
Computers, School and Goa
Whom is This Coming From?
Feeds from Asia
South Asia, Malaysia
AsiaCommons: Asian Conference on the Digital Commons, Bangkok, Thailand, 6-8 June 2006 <http://asia-commons.net>
Asia Commons aims to bring together participants from Asia-Pacific and around the world to discuss, explore and collaborate around three key themes:
- Access to Knowledge and Culture in Asia
- Models for Collaborative Knowledge and Culture
- Towards a Healthy Asia Commons
Asia Commons has some interesting perspectives, and their ideals flow in close parallel to the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) movement.
Many resources exist on the conference themes.
1. del.icio.us Links
Del.icio.us is a public collection of web resources which anyone can contribute to. Resources added (or 'bookmarked') in del.icio.us have been 'tagged' by their contributors to describe the resource's content.
Participants are encouraged to contribute resources of interest through del.icio.us using some of the tags above in order to discover new resources shared by other del.icio.us users. Using del.icio.us is easy, simply register for del.icio.us
- IPR with a Development Focus:
- Access to Knowledge:
- WIPO with a Development Focus:
- Open Business (models):
- Open Content:
2. Copyright and Access to Knowledge - Consumers International Reports
Consumers Intenational Asia Pacific Office has produced a research report Copyright and Access to Knowledge as well as two country level studies for Indonesia and Thailand. They are available at: http://www.ciroap.org/a2k
3. Yale's Access to Knowledge (A2K) Conference
Conference Website: http://research.yale.edu/isp/eventsa2k.html
Conference Resources: http://research.yale.edu/isp/a2k/resources.html
Conference Wiki: http://research.yale.edu/isp/a2k/wiki/
4. The Copy/South Dossier
Issues in the economics, politics, and ideology of copyright in the global South: http://www.copysouth.org/
5. P2P Foundation Encyclopedia Resources
The P2P Foundation is building an encyclopedia with many topics related to the conference themes: http://p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Category:Encyclopedia
Book Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Book_Commons
Budapest Open Access Initiative: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Budapest_Open_Access_Initiative
Circulation of the Common: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Circulation_of_the_Common
Clearance Culture: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Clearance_Culture
Creative Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Creative_Commons
Diffuse Innovation: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Diffuse_Innovation
Distributed Creativity: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Distributed_Creativity
Distributed Intellectual Property Right: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Distributed_Intellectual_Product_Right
Educational Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Educational_Commons
General Intellect: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/General_Intellect
General Public License: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/General_Public_License
Genome Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Genome_Commons
Global License: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Global_License
IANG License: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/IANG_License
Information Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Information_Commons
Libre Commons Licenses: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Libre_Commons_Licenses
Open Access: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Access
Open Archives: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Archives
Open Biology: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Biology
Open Content: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Content
Open Courseware Initiative: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Courseware_Initiative
Open Educational Resources: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Educational_Resources
Open Hardware: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Hardware
Open Knowledge: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Knowledge
Open Learning: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Learning
Open Media Standards: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Media_Standards
Open Networked Learning Model: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Networked_Learning_Model
Open Source Architecture: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Architecture
Open Source Biology: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Biotechnology
Open Source Economics: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Economics
Open Source Hardware: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Hardware
Open Source Industrial Design: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Industrial_Design
Open Source Licenses: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Licenses
Open Source Record Label: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_Record_Label
Open Source Telephony: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Source_telephony
Open Spectrum: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Spectrum
Open Standards: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Standards
Open Textbooks: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Open_Textbooks
Patent Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Patent_Commons
Peer Property: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Peer_Property
Peer to Patent: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Peer_to_Patent
User-Capitalized Networks: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/User-Capitalized_Networks
User-centered Innovation: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/User-centered_Innovation
Wireless Commons: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Wireless_Commons
Governments, Going Online and Macau
FROM MACAU, REPORT SAYS, "GOVERNMENTS GO ONLINE - WITHOUT WINDOWS": Inter Press Service had this interesting report on 26 March 2006.
"Developing countries can't afford to buy Windows-based software. The basic Windows operating system costs a year and half salary for the average Vietnamese citizen," said Mike Reed, director of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology.
Electronic governance promises to cut corruption and improve transparency, and open source Latest News about open source software offers a way to break South Asia's technological dependence on industrialized countries, experts say.
Open source software such as Linux is non-proprietary, less complex, more efficient and freely available to anyone - unlike Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows operating system, says Mike Reed, director of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), based in Macau, China.
"Linux is now the fastest-growing software and powers eight of the 10 fastest supercomputers in the world," Reed said.
Open source software like Linux is embedded in many types of electronic devices, like mobile phones and cameras. Open source is also starting to cut into the near complete domination of the personal computer market by the Windows operating system, he said.
"Developing countries can't afford to buy Windows-based software. The basic Windows operating system costs a year and half salary for the average Vietnamese citizen," he noted.
That's led to rampant theft or illegal copying Latest News about illegal copying of Microsoft software. However, such software cannot be modified or customized to meet local needs. Companies and governments have no other choice than to commission expensive custom programming from California's Silicon Valley.
Open source, on the other hand, is easy to customize and not particularly difficult to learn, says Reed.
Although Linux has been around for more than 10 years, only a few developing countries like Brazil have a significant number of home-grown open source programmers. Without local programmers, setting up electronic governance - use of computer technology by governments to improve public access to information and services - becomes very expensive and difficult.
Access to computers is one major problem in the developing world, and so is the lack of local programming projects so that programmers can learn, says Reed.
Vietnam is one exception. A few years ago, Vietnam launched an ambitious effort to modernize, developing its own version of Linux called Vietkeylinux, partnering with the computer chip Latest News about computer chips manufacturer Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) Latest News about Intel and moving to electronic governance (e-governance).
"Vietnam has more things online than the U.S. government," Reed said.
Isolated Vietnamese villages now have public computer kiosks where citizens can conduct business with the government online, such as registering for birth certificates.
"That reduces mid- to low-level government corruption, because it's easier to keep track of paperwork and everything is visible and public," he said.
Government services are easier and cheaper to provide electronically. Plus, such an electronic/information infrastructure and expertise in these areas is crucial for a country like Vietnam to successfully participate in the global economy.
South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore are successful examples of countries with low levels of corruption and high levels of economic activity that other Asian countries are hoping to emulate, Reed said.
The information revolution has been slow in reaching two-thirds of the world, according to Darrell West, an e-governance researcher at the Center for Public Policy at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
"Many countries don't have the money, and some don't see the benefits or have the desire to make the public sector open and transparent," West told IPS.
In an exhaustive survey of the e-governance capabilities of 191 countries, West found that it is practically nonexistent in most African countries, as well as those in the Middle East. While money is the main problem in the former, the latter are dominated by "rich monarchical governments that have a very different view of public service and are not interested in e-governance," he said.
Although e-governance can reduce "street-level corruption," the biggest motivator for most countries is to improve their economic development and boost their trade capacity, he said.
In the long term, West is optimistic. "Countries are beginning to see the benefits and the cost reductions of e-governance," he said. However, launching such initiatives isn't easy and requires technical expertise, financing and political leadership, Reed added.
It required a major two-year effort in the UNU home base of Macau, on the coast of China. Among the most difficult parts of moving to e-governance is getting government departments to open up, share their information and cooperate with each other, he said.
"It used to require permissions and licenses from 10 different agencies to start a business in Macau. Now, there is just one online form," the researcher explained, and it took a strong leadership that insisted government officials make it happen.
The impoverished country of Nepal was on the verge of achieving a good level of e-governance until the current political strife erupted a year ago. Nepal's high level of literacy and good mathematical education made it possible to develop Nepalese programmers who, with UNU training and USD2 million in outside funding, built an open source e-governance infrastructure.
E-governance in Nepal is effectively on hold now, said Reed. This month, India announced an extremely ambitious national e-governance plan to computerize data in public sector banks, insurance companies and tax departments, create national citizen databases, put passports, visas and immigration information and data online, and much more. The two-year effort is expected to cost USD1.5 billion.
To assist these e-governance attempts and to help other countries get started, the UNU has established an interactive information clearinghouse on the Internet that it calls UneGov.net.
In addition to having instructional how-to materials online, the portal will make available software and research papers, as well as contact information for others who have or are setting up e-governance in their own countries.
The World Bank is among funding agencies being approached. Already, Vietnam is sharing some of its experience with Nigeria, Reed said.
"People love to share their success stories," he concluded.
BANGLADESH: Omi Azad recently wrote about FOSS in the weekly Ekattor magazine of Bangladesh. <http://www.ekushey.org/files/ICT_Report-FOSS-9th.pdf> (article in Bangla)
Omi is a contributor to the Bangla Computing and Localization Projects including Ankur http://www.ankurbangla.org and Ekushey http://www.ekushey.org For an active Linux User Group related to Bangladesh, see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdlug/
JAPAN: Controversial David software is out in Japan < http://news.inq7.net/infotech/index.php?index=1&story_id=60585>
MALAYSIA: FOSS Spreading its Wings < http://star-techcentral.com/tech/story.asp?file=/2006/5/2/itfeature/14076084&sec=itfeature>
OPEN source is spreading beyond the operating system market and is being utilised in other areas, such as database and customer relationship management (CRM) software. About 53% of Malaysian software is based wholly or partly on open source, according to Wilvin Chee, IDC Asia Pacific software research director. In his presentation, Direction O6 Open Source Software: Its Impact to the Marketplace, he said the Linux operating system would make up 15% of the overall server market this year.
PHILIPPINES: Open source better for those school PCs by Behn Fer. Hortaleza <http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/pan/2006/03/09/oped/behn.fer..hortaleza.html>
SOUTH ASIA: Linux powers autonomous military ground vehicle <http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS5782785656.html>
Interesting to see LynuxWorks CEO Inder Singh has South Asian connections. iRobot used embedded Linux to build an autonomous unmanned ground vehicle aimed at military scouting, guarding, and hauling applications. The "R-Gator" is based on John Deere's diesel-powered, 658cc M-Gator military utility vehicle platform, with control, navigation, and object-avoidance systems based on BlueCat Linux from LynuxWorks.
IOSN Grows to Three More <http://www.apdip.net/news/opensourcecentres>
In order to address the growing information and technological needs of the Asia and Pacific region, the International Open Source Network (IOSN) has established three new Centres of Excellence - IOSN ASEAN+3, IOSN PIC (Pacific Island countries), and IOSN South Asia. Together, these Centres will continue the research and development, networking, institutional strengthening, and training undertaken by IOSN over the last three years to advance the adoption of free/open source software, open standards, and open content across the region.Feeds from Asia <http://feeds.goa-india.org>
WHAT IS ASIA talking about? You can keep track via http://feeds.goa-india.org -- a site for RSS feeds of mailing lists discussing (mainly) FOSS in Asia. If your mailing list offers RSS feeds and is not yet listed here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Partnerships with Asia <http://opensource.sys-con.com/read/224587.htm>
Enterprise Open Source News Desk reported on 19 March 19, 2006, Covalent Technologies, a trusted source for complete enterprise open source solutions, has announced it has entered into strategic partnerships with a number of technology companies based in England, Germany, India, and the Philippines. These new partnerships bolster Covalent's ability to deliver commercial support and service offerings for popular open source projects out of the Apache Software Foundation on a global basis, namely the Apache Web Server, Apache Tomcat Application Server, Apache Axis Web Services Framework, and the Apache Geronimo Application Server, and complement existing Covalent partnerships already in place in Japan, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
LPI Certification in Northeast Asia, Linux News <http://www.linuxpr.com/releases/8750.html>
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) hosted certification events and "exam labs" within the Northeast Asia region (China, Japan, Republic of Korea) during May and June 2006 to promote Linux and Open Source professionalism.
Jim Lacey, President and CEO of LPI, noted the growing importance of China, Japan and Korea as part of the organization's new global strategy.
Intel Commits Big Money to Third World Project, Nestor E. < http://www.itworldcanada.com/a/Daily-News/8318ae8c-3170-49e4-906c-f959add22722.htmls>
Arellano reports in ITWorld Canada (12 May 2006) that Intel hopes to gain a head start on untapped markets in the Third World by launching World Ahead, a global programme that will pour USD1 billion over the next five years to promote computer training and Internet use in developing countries.
The Santa Clara, California-based company recently unveiled its five-year project plan, which includes extending broadband access to one billion users and training 10 million teachers on the use of technology in education. A component of the programme is the development of a USD400 mobile personal computer, dubbed Eduwise, that will run on Microsoft Windows or the Linux operating system. The World Ahead Programme will also push adoption of WiMax wireless technology that allows high throughput broadband connections over long distances.
FOSS Scholarship in India <http://www.in.redhat.com/community/rhscholarship.php>
Mayank Sharma in an interview in Newsforge says, "there is no dearth of IT talent in India, but for a country that churns out thousands of IT students every year, the number of Indian contributors in the FOSS world is disproportionately low, due in part to a lack of proper mentoring. To encourage more students to go into FOSS development, the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KReSIT) at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay partners with Red Hat for an open source scholarship challenge each year. Participants, mentored by FOSS leaders, get the opportunity to work and collaborate to solve a real-world problem, and the winners get a share of the Rs. 1 million (about USD22,000) prize."
GNU/LINUX in local languages <http://blog.apc.org/en/index.shtml?x=4956277>
NEPAL FINDS ITS SOLUTIONS: From simplified Nepali typing...to an OS is an article by Bal Krishna Bal, published in April 2006 on the Association for Progressive Communications blog.
Bal tells the story where it starts: "Somebody rightly said, 'Necessity is the mother of invention'. Had it not been for the necessity felt by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya(MPP) for the electronically cataloging of its collection of books some four years back, which was then not possible with the help of the existing fonts of Nepali like Preeti and Kanchan, there are doubts that MPP, a principal archiving house got involved in developing software in Nepali." And what they achieved was something quite unexpected.
Messaging Solution for Small- and Medium-Size Companies in the Philippines <http://www.axigen.com>
AXIGEN Mail Server is now available for the Philippine market as a result of the distribution agreement signed between local company GEN Automation and Gecad Technologies (Romania). AXIGEN Mail Server calls itself "a fast, scalable messaging solution, perfectly adaptable to the communication demands from both small and medium companies and Internet services providers." Launched by the last fall, during Linux World Expo in London, AXIGEN says it "succeeded until nowadays to manage e-mails from over 300,000 mailboxes and to be distributed worldwide through 10 valued partners." It reached version 1.1 and operates on both Linux and FreeBSD. AXIGEN Mail Server has been designed and created from scratch by Gecad Technologies developers. Gecad Technologies has a five-year history of expertise in technology research, information security, project management and messaging solutions.
Winner from Singapore
Congratulations to Ricky Lee of Chevalier Singapore for winning the Asia Pacific's RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) of the Year title. Red Hat would like to thank all RHCEs for their submission. Ricky has won himself a sponsored trip to the Red Hat Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, and will be presented with the RHCE of the Year plaque.
Open Source in Singapore <http://wiki.lugs.org.sg/>
LUGS is maintaining a list of Free and Open Source contribution, usage and companies that support this in Singapore. These can be in any area that supports the concept and philosophy of open source.
English-Telugu Dictionary Online, Ind Linux, 30 May 2006 <http://www.swecha.org/dict>
Swecha team has put up a web interface for English Telugu Dictionary. The interface is in Telugu Unicode unlike most other online dictionary lookup services. It is based on Charles Philip Brown English-Telugu Dictionary, available under GPL at http://ltrc.iiit.net/onlineServices/Dictionaries/Eng-Tel-DictDwnld.html
UNEGOV.NET, Promoting FOSS in e-Governance <http://www.unegov.net>
Established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1973, United Nations University is an international community of scholars engaged in research, advanced training and the dissemination of knowledge related to pressing global problems. The University operates a worldwide network of research and post-graduate training centres, with headquarters in Tokyo. UNeGov.net is also actively promoting the use of open source software for e-Governance through its schools and courses by teaching open source technologies and tools. It will also provide a rich collection of open source frameworks and tools for building e-Governance applications through its portal.
Computers, School and Goa <http://wikiwikiweb.de/FlossInSchools>
A Spanish volunteer from Catelonia, working for the Goa Schools Computers Project (Knowledge Initiatives Trust), put together this interesting collection of software suitable for use in schools.
Whom is This Coming From?
If you would like to know more about the work of the compiler of this newsletter or would like to explore possibilities for FOSS-style collaborative working (specially in the information and mailing-list area), then check out http://wikiwikiweb.de/FrederickNoronha You can also find a link to a report that gives a snapshot of FOSS in many Asian countries circa 2003, at http://www.maailma.kaapeli.fi/asia.html/
From Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and More < http://business.newsforge.com/business/06/05/18/1459236.shtml?tid=35>
This is the first time that Red Hat is doing such a program of this nature anywhere in the world. In the first two years, we started with India because this is a vast geography to cover. The third year's program has been expanded to the Indian subcontinent, and we have received project submissions from Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and more. -- Venkatesh Hariharan, on the South Asian scholarship challenge.
Take Responsibility for Something You Believe In... writes Khairil Yusof in MyOSS Community of Malaysia <http://www.iosn.net/Members/kaeru/blog/being-involved>
Let's be clear. MyOSS community consists of students and developers. Hard pressed for time and other resources. Every now and again, somebody comes up and says that the community ought to do something. They've done a lot already:
Of course these students and developers should give up what little personal time they have left to do what other people tell them to do. I take this personally, because whenever this comes up, it usually comes down to a few people (aizat, ditesh, nsh) who do real things (papers, presenting at conferences and talks, organising meetups). It's unfair to ask any more of them.
This won't be the last time we hear such requests, but what I would like to see next time is something along the lines, "I want to do this guys, and have spent some time doing it and would like the community to help me out." Taking responsibility for something you believe in is a much better attitude, then just throwing it to the "community."
IOSN promotes the adoption of free/open source software, open standards and open content for sustainable human development in the Asia-Pacific region. It is an initiative of UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme and supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada.
To include Asia-Pacific related news about FOSS in this newsletter, please email email@example.com
This newsletter is released under the Creative Commons Attribute 2.5 license. Reproduction of the contents of this newsletter is encouraged, provided acknowledgement of the source(s) is made.