O'Reilly Open Source Convention - August 1-5, 2005 - Portland, Oregon
 Convention Coverage

Session

Open Source and Developing Countries
Sanjiva Weerawarana, Chairman & Executive Director, Lanka Software Foundation, CEO, Serendib Systems

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2005
Time: 5:20pm - 6:05pm
Location: Portland 251

While open source is a global endeavor, the community that has driven the technical evalution of the open source world has primarily been from the US and Western Europe. The rest of the world has been content with being "users" of OSS, much like how they are users of proprietary software.

In this talk we present how a group of developers from Sri Lanka are beginning to contribute actively to the Apache open source world. Generalized to the developing world, this could translate to a major shift in how open source software is built.

Many open source projects suffer from lack of resources. On the other hand, highly skilled technical experts in developing countries suffer from lack of opportunies; not lack of well-paying jobs, but lack of jobs that allows them to be creative.

The Lanka Software Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in Sri Lanka about two years ago, is attempting to basically connect these two to bring more and more technical resources to projects and to give the developers the opportunities they so crave. It is slowly succeeding: From around the 1200+ committers in Apache today nearly 50 are now from tiny Sri Lanka. While the numbers do not directly translate to contribution and impact, the numbers are the beginnings of an environment where significant contribution may occur.

In this talk, we discuss some of the opportunities that the globalized development of open source project creates and how it could fundamentally change the dynamics of the global software industry.



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