“The driving purpose behind the FOSS week would be to bring recognition to Sri Lanka by hosting international FOSS conferences, to promote the use of FOSS solutions in Sri Lanka for the benefit of business, government and academia, to bring awareness to Sri Lanka’s FOSS capability and accomplishments and to help brand Sri Lanka as a hub for FOSS activities in Asia,” chairman of the ICTA, the country’s apex body for ICT-related policies and activities, Professor V.K. Samaranayake told LankaPage.
This year Sri Lanka will host the National Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) week on September 5-11. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The week will feature a number of important events, conferences and workshops. Of the many events organized is the CXO conference targeted at business decision-makers, CEOs, CIOs of the public and private sectors, LK-LUG, IT engineering and MIS professionals, the education community, academic lecturers, headmasters, teachers and of course the general public.
A major incentive for developing countries to adopt FOSS systems is the enormous cost of proprietary software licenses. Because virtually all proprietary software in developing countries is imported, their purchase consumes precious hard currency and foreign reserves. These reserves could be better spent on other development goals.
One of the most important benefits for enterprises and government organizations is the low total cost of ownership due to low cost of development, and the return on investment makes it incomparable to any other proprietary system in all of the above areas.
Sri Lanka has a lead in the Asian region on FOSS mainly due the degree of contribution to the FOSS community by Sri Lankans. Most of this contribution has been to the Apache Software Foundation through the NPO Lanka Software Foundation.
Lanka Software Foundation (LSF) is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to encourage Sri Lankan developers to participate in global open-source software projects. LSF believes that open source can be a major positive influence in the further development of Sri Lanka.
In addition, FOSS has been promoted in the IT industry for 10 years now by the LK-LUG (Lanka Linux User Group), which was founded at Peradeniya University but now spans most of the IT industry. This group has also been responsible for developing the first Sinhala Operating System (based on Linux). This cause is now being supported commercially by companies like Redhat.
In addition, for the software export market, companies such as Virtusa, M-net, hSenid and system integration companies such as VCS and OST have or are building export oriented service/product offerings on FOSS.