Open source community forms national body

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Australia's open source community has established a national body to increase the take-up of free and open source software throughout the corporate, government and education sectors.

Australia's open source community has established a national body to increase the take-up of free and open source software throughout the corporate, government and education sectors.

The group, called Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA), will also work towards improving the success of firms providing software and services. This includes some 500 channel players in this country that are developing around open source technology.

There are currently 51 organisations and people that form the group -- which aims to promote Linux as a mainstream technology -- according to Con Zymaris, spokesperson for OSIA.

Zymaris said the group was formed after it recognised a need to "re-package the syntax from the open source technology sphere into a form which government and business can digest."

He said there was no real procedure for organisations to compare open source solutions, or to assess the risk of rolling out open source software. "Nobody has distilled this into a document you can hand over to management or a government department," he said.

While guidelines on technical aspects of open source technologies are good, documented migration strategies and the pitfalls of deploying these technologies were lacking. "What hasn't been covered is 'what's the business case for this stuff and how do you get the message across to corporate and government?', " he said.

Zymaris claimed that while open source channel players were good at deploying the technology, "many of them aren't good at getting the message across to the corporate and government space."

"Also from a broader marketing perspective, binding all of these organisations together gives them a hell of a lot more clout," he said.

The decision to form the national business-focused industry group was the result of a meeting held during the recent Australian Linux conference, linux.conf.au.

OSIA will initially focus on presenting a business case for free and open source software to government, education and corporates; become the first point of contact for organisations; and help members improve their local and export business success in marketing open source products and services.

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