Sun officials laud Philippines open-source community

The Philippines has the eighth largest development community for open source in the world

The Philippines has the eighth largest development community for open source in the world. This was revealed by Sun Microsystems executives who were here recently to celebrate the third anniversary of the Java Education and Development Initiative (JEDI)--an open source skills training program initiated in the Philippines by Sun Microsystems together with several local universities and college instructors.

Matt Thompson, senior director for Technology Outreach & Sun Developer Network group of Sun Microsystems said JEDI aims to make IT and computer science course materials available for "free" to colleges and universities to contribute to the objective of making the Philippines as the center for software development in Asia.

"We enable technology to be free. If they want to modernize it they can," he said. "Paying for software license is so backwards. You are stuck for technology that is five to 10 years old."

Thomspon reported that about 12 per cent of teachers and students in Philippine universities and colleges have already adopted the JEDI course and are expected to reach 50 per cent in the next two years. "JEDI in the high school level is more of a possibility," said Thompson.

He said there are now 273 JEDI member schools in the country with 2,790 teachers, of which 730 are well trained. He said Sun expects over 114,939 students to benefit from the JEDI program in the Philippines this year alone.

The Sun executive added they are coordinating with at least eight other countries for JEDI's implementation, namely: Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil, and France.

Thompson, along with Naveen Asrani, Sun's manager for Developer Relations, recently came to the Philippines to celebrate JEDI's 3rd anniversary together with more than 300 members of the local JEDI team led by members of both the University of the Philippines Java Research & Development Center (UP-JRDC) and Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE).

Asrani commented that a lot of college graduates in the Philippines are not fit to work immediately and that usually results in many companies spending a lot on trainings.

"JEDI skills reduce costs on training," Thompson added. "It is trained people that produce jobs. Jobs will follow if skills are here."

Both Thompson and Asrani said that seven courses have already been rolled-out with three additional courses being developed, namely the Sun SPOT, Scripting, and JavaDB.