Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Open source big names helping attract new users

Participation by big open source vendors is helping attract new interest in Linux user groups in Asia.

Khairil Yusof, president of the Free/Open Source Software Society (FOSS) in Malaysia, said in an interview that the group's members have benefited by sharing knowledge with others from different technology backgrounds during its monthly meetings.

New members are able to listen to talks ranging from a wide spectrum of topics such as desktop usage to running an open source software business, as well as "personally meet local and international developers", said Yusof.

"This exposes them to one of the biggest advantages of [the group], that interactions and knowledge-sharing has no barriers...a junior developer can ask questions and have an informal conversation with international personalities such as IBM's [vice president of open source and standards] Bob Sutor or Sun's [chief open source officer] Simon Phipps," Yusof said.

Denis Antipov, one of the first members of The Dining Philosophers, one of two Shanghai Linux user groups, said his group has also benefited from inviting representatives of open source companies to give talks, which he said has incited new interest in the group.

For the Malaysian group, organizing monthly meetings has also helped expand the group's contact with other developer interest groups, noted Yusof.

He said the monthly meetings have "continued to attract increasing numbers, creating a better local community compared to communicating via mailing lists in the past".

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