Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is now a part of everyone's life. For example, when you browse the Web, 70% all Web servers in the world use the open source Apache Web server, many of them running on the free Linux operating system and often using the free MySQL or PostgreSQL database. Free and open source software permeates every aspect of the software industry and is no longer a niche: it is here to stay and to change the software landscape.

The Sri Lankan Free and Open Source Software Community has organized a series of events this year to raise awareness of FOSS technologies and solutions and to raise the profile of Sri Lankan FOSS activities in the world.

We have already executed the first two events of the year: FOSS-Ed 2006 and FOSS-Ed for Hackers, which were educational events focused on informing & educating the user and developer communities, respectively, about available FOSS solutions for everyday tasks. Both events were massive successes – with more than 250 attendees. Brian Behlendorf, CTO of CollabNet and Co- Founder of Apache Software Foundation and Manju Hattotuwa, CEO & MD of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka were amongst the distinguished keynote speakers of FOSS-Ed 2006, while Prof. Lawrence Lessig of Stanford University and Founder of Creative Commons delivered the keynote address for FOSS-Ed for Hackers.

The event plan for the remainder of this year includes:

FOSS-Code 2006 (June to August, already in progress)
A program designed to encourage contributions to free and open source software projects by Sri Lankan students. Interested students submit proposals and the selected projects are granted an award and mentored to ensure that the work results in a valuable long term contribution. This program is modeled on the highly successful Google Summer of Code program run globally by Google.
FOSS-Fun (July 7th to 9th)
FOSS-Fun (July 7th to 9th): FOSS community social event modeled on the highly successful “FOO Camps” organized by O'Reilly. The objective is to encourage lively social interaction between various FOSS community members and to help foster new ideas, as well as to have some fun.
FOSSSL 2006 (August 14th to 18th)
A week long celebration of Free and Open Source Software in Sri Lanka. This is a continuation of the highly successful FOSS Week held in 2005. This year's FOSSSL consists of the following events:
  • FOSS-School (August 14th): A FOSS-Ed like educational event targeting school children. The objective is to expose students to the world of FOSS and to encourage use and contribution.
  • ApacheCon Asia (August 14th to 17th): The first Asian offering of Apache's annual conference providing in-depth technical exposure to technologies developed by the Apache Software Foundation. The first day will be a "hackthon", followed by two days of the main conference and last day will be in-depth tutorials on various topics. Several globally renowned speakers are expected to attend.
  • FOSS-Enterprise (August 18th): A one-day conference focused on public and private sector CIO/CTO community to educate about the benefits of FOSS. Several globally renowned speakers are expected to attend.
  • FOSS-Feast (August 18th): An invitation-only evening (dinner) event focused on public and private sector CEOs to educate about the benefits of FOSS.
  • FOSS-Fun (August 14th to 18th): This will be a series of evening events offering the FOSS community a chance to socialize and network with each other.
FOSS-Fair for Software Freedom Day 2006 (September 16th)
A series of country-wide public events to celebrate International Software Freedom Day. The objective is to raise awareness of FOSS amongst the general public.
FOSS-Ed on Wheels (October)
A series of day-long educational FOSS-Ed events targeting multiple cities across the country. The plan is to get a group of speakers and appropriate presentation hardware into a bus and then travel around the country to 4-5 major cities and offer the program free of charge or at low cost at partner sites.
FOSS-Mas (December)
Year end FOSS party to provide the Sri Lankan FOSS community an opportunity to reflect on a successful year of FOSS and to plan ahead for 2007.

Details about the events will appear on http://www.foss.lk/ as event draws closer.