Another one for the OSS conference calendar

By   |  August 4, 2003

If the number of conferences on any one topic are a good measure of a sector\’s health then open source is looking very healthy indeed with yet another OSS conference scheduled for South Africa.

Just two weeks ago the Free Software and Open Source Foundation announced Idlelo, an Open Source conference planned for January in Cape Town. Now Trade Conferences International has announced its OSS conference scheduled for Johannesburg in early September. This one, however, is more pricey affair and clearly targeted at big business and Government with a attendance price tag in the region of R4500 a delegate. Although a few concessions might knock that price down a bit.

The speaker line-up, however, looks to be very promising and includes the likes of Thomas Black of the Shuttleworth Foundation\’s open source programme, Professor Derek Keats, of the University of the Western Cape, Arno Webb head of the SA Government\’s IT Officers\’ Council OSS workgroup, Francis Malema of the State Information Technology Agency as well as a host of local business representatives from Obsidian Systems, Microsoft, HP and Sun Microsystems.

The conference, from September 3 to 4 2003 at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg, was originally billed as being chaired by a representative of NGO Bridges.org. The NGO has subsequently announced it will not chair the conference although it does intend to attend. The decision to not chair the event, says Philipp Schmidt, Programme Manager at Bridges.org, was made because the organisation felt the it may be viewed as a conflict with a study Bridges is working on to evaluate the merits of open source software versus proprietary software.

In an email last week the organisation said: \”Bridges.org has built a reputation for providing objective and unbiased information to decision makers on a range of issues related to the digital divide. We are currently conducting a number of research projects that attempt to identify the benefits and problems of open source and proprietary software in the African context. We understand that chairing this conference could create the impression of us taking one side over the other in the ongoing debate of what type of software is \’best\’ for Africa. We cannot allow that to happen.

\”We continue to regard the conference as an important opportunity to learn about latest developments, and to interact with leading experts from one side of the debate.\”

Trade Conferences International told Tectonic late last week that a platinum sponsor, IBM, has been secured for the event.

More information on the conference can be found by contacting Trade Conferences International through their web site at www.tci-sa.co.za

Download the conference brochure here (Right-click and choose \”save as\” if it does not download automatically)

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