Australia's open source industry received a boost this week with the launch of boutique consulting and research firm Waugh Partners.
The brainchild of husband and wife team Pia and Jeff Waugh, Waugh Partners has three main focus areas - strategic consulting, industry development, and research and analysis.
Strategic consulting will advise businesses how to build open source into their IT strategies, industry development aims to address the need for open source skills development and aid open source companies with media exposure, and the research and analysis division will provide independent research on the challenges and opportunities for open source in the local market.
Pia and Jeff are certainly two peas in a pod with Pia working part-time as research coordinator for Australian Service for Knowledge on Open Source Software (ASK-OSS) at Macquarie University, and Jeff a founding member of Ubuntu Linux at Canonical.
"We've found there is a huge demand of a vendor-inclusive, independent voice in the open source industry," Jeff Waugh said, adding people need to understand the potential for open source outside the "vendor propaganda".
"The foundations of open begin with open source but it doesn't just end there and it's not the only thing that is important in this industry," he said. "So are open standards. If the Internet was not based on open standards we wouldn't have had the explosion in e-commerce."
The launch party attracted many in the open source industry and representatives from government departments, including Austrade.
ASK-OSS team leader Ray Warouw said because of Pia's involvement, the project has grown "beyond expectations".
"Her knowledge of the open source marketplace is vast and she is very well connected," Warouw said.
Next year Waugh Partners will conduct an Australian open source industry and community "census" which Jeff described as "a major research effort to look at the scale and impact of open source".
Waugh partners has also been working with Hannover Fairs to produce the new OpenCeBIT exhibition at next year's CeBIT in Sydney.
Hannover Fairs Australia managing director Jackie Taranto said the company wanted to focus on open source with OpenCeBIT and we are committed to it as well with our new Web site.
"There will be a one-day OpenCeBIT conference that will be managed by Jeff and Pia," Taranto said, adding there will also be a seminar section based on topics like security, content management, open source development.
Representatives from open source success story Google will be among the international speakers at the event.