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Foundations of Open: Technology and Digital Knowledge

Submitted by donna on 3 April, 2008 - 22:52

Local Summits - Australia 2020

Participated in a local summit today at the ANU. Senator Kate Lundy put together a program covering many aspects of not only Open Source technology but also issues around Creative Commons, access to knowledge, and participation.


Edit: April 15

Open Source Software is here now and will help us create a participatory future.

Senator Lundy was assisted by Tom Worthington of the ACS, who put together a moodle site for the forum. Presenters slides and video of all the day's talks have now been posted there, along with formal submissions to the National 2020 Summit arising out of the Foundations of Open Forum.

Foundations of Open Technology and Digital Knowledge: Colloboration | Freedom | TransparencyThe proceedings of the forum are available in their entirety online here:

Brianna Laugher blogged, she's a fellow linuxchick and was there representing wikimedia. She notes some of the highlights of the day and concludes by saying "Let’s see if this big picture thinking can translate into anything concrete!"

There's an unrelated opensource thread on a 2020 summit wiki called Oz Ideas.

News arising:

If the FOO forum is anything to go by - the national 2020 summit will be brilliant. There's been a fair chunk of cynicism about it all being a huge useless talk fest - but one counter response to that I heard asked "will anything come from NOT talking about the issues?" The debate has begun.

Make your case - say it somewhere online, participate in conversations about the future. We are the architects of the future. We now build houses. We no longer live in caves we've been lucky to discover. So too we must now actively design, resource and construct the future we expect to inhabit.

The submission I made on behalf of Open Source Industry Australia follows:

Australia's Open Source Industry is poised for massive growth. Increasing demand for open source skills draws attention to a deficit our education system is not addressing. Misconceptions are the key barrier preventing broad local adoption of, and contribution to, Open Source Software. [1]

Commoditisation of information technology software infrastructure democratises productivity and competition. Open Source Software is levelling the international platform for Information and Communications Technologies [ICT].

Open Source is no longer an emerging technology. It is here now. OSIA [2] believes it's in Australia's best interest to not only adopt Open Source software, but actively contribute to the Open Source economy of ideas and innovation. Each of the 10 areas of focus for the 2020 Summit depend on the new reality of a global interconnected information economy. Google and Wikipedia were built with Open Source Software because it was the only way it could be done. Open Source Software enables us to compete, connect and communicate.

Google has demonstrated the benefits of Open Source for their ICT platforms. Recognising the value of contributing back to the development community they are now investing in and facilitating the next generation of open source software developers with the Summer of Code and Highly Open Participation initiatives.

Australia must show leadership in the development of an ICT platform for Asia and Oceania. We need to invest in ICT education. We must stem the ebb and increase the flow of young people into a culture of participation and contribution to ICT rather than rely on training them to be consumers of technology created by others. The Open Source development process plays to Australia's strengths in software construction and marketing, and bypasses our weaknesses.

Innovation depends on building on what came before by improving it, by making it better. This is why Open Source is so successful. There are no barriers to innovation in the open source ecosphere. There is an open market for improvements, and users are not only welcome, but invited to contribute to improve the product to meet their own needs. If suggested changes are welcomed by others they are added to the whole. If a suggestion only meets a niche, users have the freedom to customise for their own use cases. In this context there is no market too small to be effectively serviced. This is critical for Australia. How often are we told our market is too small to warrant investing in the customisations we need to address local needs? Technology innovation in source code is generating change so fast it's literally changing the nature of the world. Access to that code is critical for all of us. We should harness the power of change by taking part and driving it forward, not taking a back seat.


[1] Waugh Partners, Australian Open Source Industry & Community Report 2008

[2] OSIA: Open Source Industry Australia is an industry association representing over 120 Australian businesses engaged in developing, supporting and selling Open Source Solutions.