>>International Centre for Free & Open Source Software (ICFOSS) is organizing the Fourth International FOSS Conference, Kerala (FOSSK4) during December 27-29, 2011, at Trivandrum. The event, which will be attended by representatives from Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the US in addition to India, will be inaugurated by Hon. Minister for Industries, IT and Urban Affairs, Shri P K Kunhalikutty at 4pm on December 27, 2011. Prof. S.V. Raghavan, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government Of India, New Delhi, who is one of the architects of the National Knowledge Network, will deliver the Keynote address on the theme “Open Source Software as the Basis to Create National Software Assets”, during the inaugural session. The inaugural ceremony will be followed by two days of technical sessions at Technopark.
FOSSK4 is the fourth in the series of Free and Open Source Conferences organized with the support of the Government of Kerala, with previous conferences being held in 2001, 2005 and 2008. The Conference, organized around the theme of “A Decade of FOSS: Looking back, looking forward”, aims at reviewing the last ten years of FOSS in Kerala, projecting the achievements of Kerala in the FOSS domain, fostering international collaboration with other developing and developed countries, and highlighting Kerala as a destination for FOSS-based activities including R & D and software development for a wide range of domains including e-Governance, business, and social computing. FOSSK4 is organized by ICFOSS and supported by the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), Delhi; Computer Society of India (CSI); and the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The technical sessions on 28th and 29th are expected to be attended by FOSS enthusiasts, programmers, policymakers, business & industry representatives, students, and academics as well as practitioners of non-software domains such as literature, music, film, print media and culture, where the principles of the FOSS movement have been applied with a great deal of success.
Discussions will be organized through plenary presentations as well as three parallel breakout tracks of Technology/Education, Policy/Enterprise and Development/Culture, which are organized around theme “The Next Decade: Achieving the Potential of FOSS for Communities, Enterprises and Governments”. Presentations will be made in person as well as through video-conferencing and online media. Countries from where delegates are participating include South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Cuba, UK, and the US. Successful FOSS applications of the Government of Kerala, such as IT@School and InSight will be showcased at the meeting.
The Conference will take up one of the new developments stimulated by the FOSS movement, Open Hardware, which enables creation of royalty-free, programmable, customizable hardware for a wide range of local applications.
The technical sessions in FOSSK4 will highlight developments in Open Hardware including Arduino, Beagle, Comet and other circuit boards, and also Open Source Robotics. In addition, in order for students to benefit even more from the presence of experts in the Open Hardware domain, a separate workshop is being organized on December 30, 2011 exclusively for students, where experts in these domains from the FOSSK4 will interact with them.
Some of the dignitaries participating in FOSSK4 include Prof. Martin Fransman, University of Edinburgh; Ms. Nina Paley, New York-based independent film maker and creator of the acclaimed animated movie, “Sita Sings the Blues”, who joins on videoconferencing; Prof. HÃ©ctor Figueredo, University of Information Sciences, Havana; Ms. Dorothy Gordon, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre for ICTs, Accra, Ghana; and Mr. Srinivasan Ramakrishnan, Former DG, C-DAC, India. Mr. Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Project will address the participants through a video message.
In these times when ICTs are emerging as an important constituent of how we work, play, govern, and do business, FOSS provides a framework promoting equitable use of ICTs. As one of the earliest adopters of FOSS in the world, it is appropriate that Kerala has organized this conference. It is hoped that the Conference will set out a strategy in the FOSS domain for the next decade so as to take the benefits of ICTs to every citizen.
The full programme is available at the Conference website