Major Asian IT groups to collaborate on open source

Three major IT industry associations from China, Japan and South Korea agreed Friday to work together to push regional development of open-source software and lobby their governments to use it.

The China Software Industry Association (CSIA), Japan IT Services Industry Association (JISA) and Federation of Korean Information Industries (FKII) agreed to create an open-source software-promotion body in their respective countries and also form an organization, tentatively called the Japan-China-Korea Open Source Software (OSS) Promotion Partnership, to bring together work done by the national groups, they said in a joint statement.

The agreement was reached at a meeting in the western Japanese city of Osaka which follows an agreement in September by the governments of the same three countries to form a joint open-source software project.

With the decision to unite and promote open source, the three organizations have already begun setting a schedule for their initial collaboration and said they expect “concrete action plans” to be drawn up as soon as possible.

In particular they have targeted the setting up of a database, called the “OSS know who list,” to detail open-source work being carried out in each country and promote collaboration. They are also looking towards the establishing several working groups in areas such as standardization, embedded systems, human resources, operation, support and business models, the statement said.

The three have decided to meet again in Beijing in March to measure progress and cooperation and have also scheduled tentative meetings for July in the Japanese city of Sapporo and in November in Seoul.

The collective membership of the three groups is well over 1,000 companies. The CSIA says it has nearly 700 affiliates while the JISA says it has 550 corporate members and the FKII reports 170 members, according to their respective web sites.

Announcement of the agreement and plan comes on the eve of a scheduled visit to Japan by Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. Analysts consider Microsoft stands to lose market share should open source software gain wider adoption.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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