Archive for January, 2005

Conference on Linux Open Source Adoption in Pakistan

We had a conference on Open Source Adoption in Pakistan, jointly arranged by IBM and PSEB at Hotel Sheraton here. The number of people attending the conference was close to 400, as claimed by Mr. Humanyun Bashir, Country General Manager IBM.

The agenda of the meeting was as follows:

09:00 Registration and Welcome Coffee
09:30 Welcome Note: Mr. Humayun Bashir, Country General Manager, IBM Pakistan
09:35 Introductory Address: Mr. Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Minister for IT & Telecom*
09:45 Enterprise Linux: Is it there yet?: Mr. Rudolf Simmer, Linux Business Manager, IBM Central Europe, Middle East and Africa
10:05 Linux Live Case: Manufacturing Sector: Mr. Sardar Naufil Mahmud, Corporate IT Manager, ICI
10:25 TCO & ROI: A Clearer Perspective: Mr. Mohammad A. Sabzwari, Director, LPI Pakistan
10:45 Pakistan Government’s Linux Initiative: Dr. Amir Mateen, Managing Director, PSEB
11:05 Session Chair’s Summary: Ms. Jehan Ara, President, P@SHA
11:15 Coffee Break
11:30 Linux Initiative in Other Governments: Mr. Bashar Kilani, Manager Software Group, IBM Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan
11:50 Linux Live Case: Financial Sector: Mr. S.M. Baqar Muzaffar, Head of IT, UBL
12:10 Linux Live Case: Textile Sector: Mr. Mahmood Ahmed, Director IT & Processing, Al-Karam Textiles
12:30 Linux Live Case: Government Sector
12:50 Session Chair’s Summary: Mr. Munawar B. Ahmad, Managing Director, SSGC
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Software Industry and Linux: Kamran H. Meer, Senior Vice President, NetSol Technologies
14:20 Linux on the Desktop: Mr. Kelvin Na, Business Partner Executive, Novell Asia Pacific
14:40 IBM Strategy on Linux: Mr. Ahmed Shanab, IBM Software Linux Sales Manager, IBM Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan
15:00 Panel Discussion - Q&A and Thank you note
15:30 Session Chair’s Summary: Dr. Amir Mateen, Managing Director, PSEB /Mr. Humayun Bashir, Country General Manager, IBM Pakistan

The session commenced on time and almost all the speakers spoke within the allocated timeframe. The best thing about the conference were the complete migration cases which were presented. We saw a complete migration report of AlKaram textiles as they moved from Windows NT 4.0 based systems to Linux. UBL has 1200 locations and 700 of those locations are connected through Linux to their central backbone. These companies are also running SAP and Oracle under Linux and they are extremely happy with the performance they are getting. UBL decided to build their entire banking application inhouse called UniBank around Linux and open-standards.

IBM laid a lot of stress on the Open-Standards and what linux had to offer. IBM has invested about $2B in Linxu since 2000 and Linux is their vision of the future. IBM’s partner Novell had a presentation in the conference where Mr. Kelvin explained the power of SuSE Server and SuSE Desktop. Novell has acquired the German based SuSE distribution of Linux, which also happens to be the only enterprise-level competitor to RedHat. Mr. Kelvin also told us that Novell has completely shifted to OpenOffice on all their Windows based systems, which saves approximately $2M in licensing costs. All employees at Novell will have to move to SuSE Linux in the near future, he further added.

The presentation from the City District Government was unimpressive and all we had were some statistics. Senior Vice President of Netsol Technologies Mr. Kamran H Meer shared his views on Linux development at his company. He told us about the tools that they have been using to deploy solutions internationally. He specifically mentioned of a tool called JBoss which is an open-source Java application server and it competes with IBM’s WebSphere. He spoke highly of the tools available in OpenOffice and the experiences at Netsol.

Lunch was given to all the delegates of the conference and the speakers were available in the lobby for questions, that is what we call the true open-source spirit!

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