Last September 1-4, FOSSAP 2005 was held in Cambodia to discuss the various concerns regarding the free and open source movement in the various countries in the Asia-Pacific region. FOSSAP was organized by the International Open Source Network.
Marvin Pascual, the incumbent president of the Philippine Linux Users’ Group has been invited by Sunil Abraham to join the conference. He was able to interact with free and open source software (F/OSS) advocates in the region. He discussed the current situation of F/OSS in the Philippines.
Marvin shared some of the lessons he has learned from the conference. They tackled three major barriers to the promotion and adoption of F/OSS to the community and government for each country. These are as follows:
In his opinion, the latter is not applicable to our country. “Majority of Filipinos understand the English language,” he said. As such, localization is not a very big issue.
The issue of funding initiatives in the development, adoption and advocacy of F/OSS, he stressed the need for an organization or a collaboration of organizations that will work with the government. This would make it easier for various groups working for such causes. Some of the institutions that give grants are UNDP, USAid and GTZ.
Marvin Pascual also shared his thoughts about the need for training. “There should be a pool of F/OSS trainers for every country. Basically the idea was to conduct a series of ‘Trainers’ Training on GNU/Linux and F/OSS’ and the pilot project is to conduct trainings geared towards the LPI certification.”
This is indeed high time for the F/OSS community to work together so that these barriers could be overcome. It is the sense of community that will make these projects that Marvin has mentioned come true.