Australia gets open source think-tank

A newly formed, Australian-based open source advisory group aims to deliver expert advice and information on free and open source software (FOSS).

Dubbed an open source “think-tank”, the Open Source Expert Group (OSEG) was formed primarily to advise the Australian Computer Society (ACS) on open source issues. While sponsored by the ACS, the group says it will also operate independently, acting as a repository for information on open source for all types of users.

According to its charter, OSEG will represent “Australian open source stakeholders” and “stimulate debate on, and provide advice to, the Australian community on open source issues”.

“OSEG will remain independent of ACS and will operate outside the primary role of advising ACS,” the charter states. “OSEG will not represent itself as an organ of ACS.” OSEG will be assisted and supported by Linux Australia (LA), the Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG) and a variety of industry computers and software bodies, all of which are now linked through the Open Source Software Web site ( According to the OSEG site, the group will also draw on information from the Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA), which was formed in early March.

In addition to its policy work, OSEG will provide information on some of the frequently asked questions about FOSS. This will include a list of open source legal support groups and contacts in Australia, as well as access to a range of case studies and testimonials, looking into the use of open source products and solutions within the business, government and education sectors. In a statement to the Linux Australia members’ mailing list, Linux Australia president Pia Smith described OSEG as “a group of experts head-hunted for particular skills and knowledge bases”.

“The vision for this group in future is to be an advisory group with ties to all of the groups, that can pull in the necessary experts for certain advisory roles it may have to fulfil, whether it be help on creating policy on open source, or government,” Smith said.

OSEG is currently working on some policy and FAQ information, and on “getting itself set up for future advisory roles”, she said.

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