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Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) is a Government agency mandated to promote Pakistan's Information Technology (IT) industry. The Open Source Resource Center (OSRC) is a PSEB-executed project. It is South Asia's first government-owned initiative. Its objective is to provide expert advice and support to the government, private sector, non-profit organizations and the academia. It raises awareness by presenting open source software as a security-rich and a more economic alternative to expensive proprietary software. Its team of experts helps organizations develop an indigenous pool of open source professionals. It combats piracy by raising awareness about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues at various seminars, workshops and forums, and migrating computer networks from pirated proprietary software to open source.
Its achievements since 2003 include training over 8900 participants during 124 training workshops and awareness-raising seminars in Pakistan's four provincial capitals, and in the federal capital, Islamabad. The OSRC estimates that its 23 computer network migrations have saved Pakistan Rs. 36 million, which would otherwise have been lost to expensive proprietary software.
The OSRC also networks with open source organizations worldwide in general, and in the Asia region in particular. This includes the National Competency Centre for the Application of Open Source technologies (CENATIC),Center of the International Cooperation for Computerization's (CICC) Asia OSS, Bellanet, MySQL AB, O'Reilly Media, Inc., OSS Watch, South Asia Partnership International (SAPI), SAP Nepal, and the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) International Open Source Network (IOSN). The OSRC has proudly represented Pakistan at 34 international conferences, and has formed linkages between Pakistan and newly emerging open source markets in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and USA.
A member of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) Alliance, the OSRC's efforts from PSEB's platform have brought together Pakistan's IT industry and the open source community, the academia and various government agencies, to debate and develop an informed national consensus on the future of open standards.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation is a US-based, non-profit organization created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab's faculty members. The OLPC project aims to provide a Linux-based laptop computer worth US $ 100 to every student in the developing world, including Pakistan, as a means of bridging the digital divide. The OSRC's proactive contributions to OLPC include Urdu language support (font and keyboard courtesy of the Center for Research in Urdu Language Processing-National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences) and running Zekr, an open source Holy Quran desktop application. The OSRC is also helping OLPC establish working relationships with various stakeholders in the Asian region.
Pakistan has produced a total of 36 Red Hat certified professionals since 2007. The OSRC's Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) and Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) training program aimed to increase that number.
Six students passed the RHCE exam, and seven students passed OSRC's RHCT exam held at Techno Ed (Pvt.) Limited, a Red Hat International-recommended local partner.
In another pioneering achievement, the OSRC has developed three freely downloadable training toolkits available at its website at http://www.osrc.org.pk/:
As part of its new roster of initiatives to promote open source software in Pakistan, the OSRC intends to launch Pakistan’s first-ever, free-of-cost, 2-day open source database "PostgresSQL" training program in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore in June 2009, in collaboration with trainers from EnterpriseDB International.
Khurram Islam Khan
Pakistan Software Export Board (G) Limited
2nd Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex, F-5 Aga Khan Road,
Ph: 051-921 5099 & 920 4074
Fax: 051-920 4075