The push within Australia to give open source software major grip in government and large organisations has been boosted by the formation of a new representative body, Open Source Industry Australia.
The goal of OSIA is simple according to its coordinator Con Zymaris: "The complete mainstreamisation of Free and Open Source Software".
In essence, OSIA plans to increase the uptake of what it calls FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) in three major sectors in Australia economy: corporate, government and education.
OSIA has been in the planning for about six months. It was formed when a number of industry players from the open source community felt there was a need for a business-focused group to promote the business benefits of FOSS at a national level.
"We also felt that many FOSS firms are SMEs and sometimes lack the experience in selling solutions to larger corporations and government, so we needed to work on bolstering this capability, to improve the FOSS industry overall," Zymaris said.
The whole group will be run in much the same way as an open source project is run. There are a group of coordinators, who also happen to be equally apportioned in almost every state, he said.
"There will also be sub-groups of volunteers who will take on specific work projects, for example, the creation of a Linux Desktop Migration Guide, or of Open Source Risk Assessment and Procurement Guidelines," he said
This material, once created, will be openly reviewed by the group and then published under an open source/content licence. Each member can then use this material to help in the open source solutions sales process.
Although there are a number of groups which work in the FOSS space in Australia, including Linux Australia and AUUG – both of which Zymaris is closely affiliated with -- he said their focus is doing "great" work in the technical and community areas of FOSS.
"There wasn't a focus on the business and industry side…We [OSIA] are focused on the business/channel/solution provider end."
Pia Smith, the president of Linux Australia said LA is very supportive of the new group, and working with OSIA to highlight important aspects of open source software, from both an industry and community perspective.
"Both are important in order to realise the full potential and advantages of the OSS paradigm," she said.