Kasper Skårhøj keynote speaker at Cambodia’s first software conference

The first ever software conference in Cambodia was centred on a Danish open source content management system (CMS) named Typo 3. The conference was held this past weekend at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The keynote speech was conducted by the Danish TYPO3 founder Kasper Skårhøj, He gave his own perspective on the importance of open source technology, a philosophy he has become something of an evangelist for.

Skårhøj, who stopped developing TYPO3 five years ago but remains a supporter of the system, believes the community, the goodwill and the fact that information is shared not just among TYPO3 developers but by all users, along with the lack of licences to be purchased, make open source software the key to Cambodia’s, and other emerging economies’, development.

“The issue of licensing costs is actually a player in these contexts, and to me it would be sort of obvious that if you can have the licence for free, then it’s going to help people with less money than, for instance Denmark or the US,” he said.

Open source software is not without its barriers to use. For one, the learning curve can be quite steep. Skårhøj recognises that learning TYPO3, just like any system, can be quite difficult.

“Naturally, the learning curve of TYPO3 is definitely high, but it’s also because what you need to learn with TYPO3 is the inner technical details of the CMS. This is what is required to implement it.”

Hak Kimthong, a graduate student who attended the conference, was pleased with the conference.

“This conference is a good start for Cambodia; its generating ideas about communication and creating for the Web. The disadvantage is that because the English levels of students vary, it can be difficult for them to understand technical aspects of the work,” Hak Kimthong told Gregory Pellechi from Phnom Penh Post.

Cambodia’s largest internet service provider, Ezecom, supported the event, providing an location for the participants to upload their data, photos and presentations to.

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