Tech meet-up draws hundreds

A panel discussion at the FOSSASIA conference at Norton University on Saturday
A panel discussion at the FOSSASIA conference at Norton University on Saturday. TRANG TA THUY

Tech meet-up draws hundreds

Hundreds of Cambodian techies spent the weekend networking with their international counterparts at FOSSASIA 2014.

With 87 speakers addressing more than 800 people, the three-day conference aimed to promote free and open source technology to aid in the economic development of the Kingdom.

“We want to bring people together who are interested in sharing technology and knowledge,” said Mario Behling, a Vietnam-based software developer and the principle FOSSASIA organiser.

“We believe that free, open-source software, hardware, content, all these things, are very good ways to offer people a [living].”

Free and open source software (FOSS) refers to computer programs that are distributed along with the source code, which is necessary for programmers to modify the software, as well as a free licence for users to change or distribute the software. Famous examples include the Linux operating system and the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

Cambodian developer Danh Hong, who attended FOSSASIA, said that free and open source technology is particularly useful in a developing country where copyrighted software is seldom sold legally.

“We don’t need to steal someone’s source when we have the good [open source] applications, and we can sell to other people in other countries,” Hong said.

FOSSASIA has already attracted the attention of major international industry players, with substantial funding for the event provided by Google. Behling said that the fact that a major company was willing to promote software development in the Kingdom was evidence of the sector’s local potential.

“Over 70 international speakers were here, who are all funded by different projects and communities, and people start to understand that these companies wouldn’t give money to fund these people to come over here if it wasn’t valuable to them.”

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