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[ossig] Joint UNCTAD/UNITAR event on Free and Open-source Software (FOSS) New York, 29 August 2006

Dear Community Members,

An important meeting is being organized at the United Nations in its New
York City Secretariat on 29 August on the use of Free and Open Source
Software (FOSS) in United Nations' programmes and at the UN itself. About
50-100 attendees are expected this important meeting. 

The Presenters include:
* Colleen Thouez, Chief, UNITAR
* Danese Cooper, Open Source Initiative / Intel
* Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation
* David Pogue, New York Times
* Glenn McKnight, Linux Professional Institute
* Amy Weesner, UNITAR

Key Participants include:
* Dapo Ladimeji, Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa
* Eben Moglen, Columbia University / Free Software Foundation  TBC
* Novell (TBA)
* Randy Ramusack, Microsoft
* Michael Laing, UN ITSD
* Bob Sutor, VP Open Source, Opens Standards, IBM

The details are as follows:

Joint UNCTAD/UNITAR event on Free and Open-source Software (FOSS) New York,
29 August 2006

Within the larger framework of a three-day UNITAR Web Seminar Symposium on
ICT Policy Issues for Development, UNCTAD and UNITAR will hold an event on
Free and Open-source Software (FOSS) on 29 August 2006 in New York, at
United Nations Headquarters. The event will provide a forum for discussion
on the policy and practical implications of FOSS, both globally and locally.
It will also explore the potential for and depth of involvement of the
United Nations regarding this issue.

An increasing number of countries have recognized the important role of
software  in addition to hardware, connectivity, content and human
capacities  as the medium that enables people to use technology
productively. Software is the inescapable interface between people and
hardware  without software, computers are inoperable. Furthermore, software
that cannot adapt to a diverse set of global users with a wide array of
needs will have a limited impact on the adoption of information technology

FOSS is software whose source code  its set of instructions  has been made
open to the public and freely available under a public license. It is not
necessarily free, as in "gratis" or free-of-charge. It is "free" and "open"
because it can be freely used, altered and adapted, and redistributed. FOSS
has become an inseparable component of a global technological reality. For
example, much of the Internet runs on free software, and many distinguished
firms use open  source information technology for mission-critical tasks.
Nevertheless, FOSS is often insufficiently understood from an economic,
human capacity and intellectual property perspective  all issues with
important development implications.

A greater awareness and better understanding of FOSS can help the United
Nations and its member States to adjust positively their technology policies
and practice. The notion that FOSS can have positive externalities makes it
an important consideration in countries with strong development agendas.
FOSS has triggered thinking on and consideration of issues relating to
content provision and associated issues in education, science and creative
endeavours. FOSS suggests that there may be a spectrum of approaches to
developing and licensing creative work, research and development and
knowledge distribution which fall in between the proprietary model and the
public domain.

The Web Seminar event on FOSS will bring together prominent information
technology experts involved in FOSS issues, software industry
representatives, academics, government representatives, and representatives
from civil society organizations. The objectives of the event are as

1. To provide delegates with an opportunity to discuss issues of relevance
to item 49 of the provisional agenda for the sixty-first session of the
General Assembly, on information and communication technologies for

2. To support discussions about FOSS usage within the scope of the United
Nations Information and Communication Technologies Charter (A/59/563, Annex
I) and as a result of system-wide inputs addressing this issue;

3. To exhibit a number of computers running exclusively on FOSS, giving
delegates an opportunity to experience FOSS as users;

4. To increase the visibility and relevancy of the issue via a live webcast
of the event to a global audience;

5. To raise awareness about UNCTAD partnership activities on information and
communication technologies for development, in particular those related to
developing free and open-source software technology communities and human
capacities in developing countries.

The event will provide UN delegates and other nominated officials from UN
member States with policy-focused learning opportunities in the area of ICT.
The event may be particularly relevant to countries and delegations involved
in formulating and implementing policies and activities that have emerged
from the first and second phases of the World Summit on the Information

More details, included on how to register for this event, can be obtained
from the UNITAR website: www.unitarny.org/en/webinars.html, or from:

Amy Weesner
Coordinator, ICT Programmes
UNITAR (New York)
weesner@un.org / tel: +1 212 963-3021

Dimo Calovski
ICT and E-business Branch, SITE Division
UNCTAD (Geneva)
dimo.calovski@unctad.org / tel.: +41 22 907 59 46

More information is available at

For Information Purposes forwarded by
Fouad Riaz Bajwa
General Secretary - FOSS Advocate
FOSSFP: Free & Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan  Secretariat
Office of the General Secretary
Lahore, Pakistan
Cell: 92-333-4661290
Tel: 92-42-5030039
E-Mail: bajwa@fossfp.org
URL: www.fossfp.org ; www.ubuntu-pk.org
This e-mail message is intended for its recipient only. If you have received
this e-mail in error, please discard it. The author of this e- mail or
FOSSFP: Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan (R) takes no
responsibility for the material, implicit or explicit.

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