The official launch of the Oman Free & Open Source Software Platform, a joint initiative by the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and the College of Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University, was held on Sunday, 28 April 2019 at SQU under the patronage of H.H. Sayyida Dr. Mona bint Fahad Al Said, SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation. Oman Free & Open Source Software Platform is an initiative among a number of FOSS capacity building programs organized by SQU and ITA.

Through this platform, the organizers seek to promote awareness, training, consultation and technical support in Free & Open Source Software in the country. Awareness on Free & Open Source Software history, concepts, business models and local initiatives; specialized training in different Free and Open Source Software Technologies; Free and Open Source Software Consultation for Government and Private organizations; and technical Support on different Free & Open Source Technologies are on the agenda. So far, five requests for FOSS awareness initiatives, 220 requests for training, nine requests for consultation and three requests for technical support have been placed through the Oman Free & Open Source Software Platform.

Speaking on the occasion, Eng. Khalil Ibrahim Al Ma’wali, Executive-Projects, ITA, said that the capacity-building program in FOSS aims to develop human and research competencies through hands-on projects related to the needs of different institutions. “The free and open source software portal would serve as a source of knowledge, promote awareness and provide a number of awareness-raising and specialized workshops on free and open source software”, he said. A lecture on “the future of free and open source software” was delivered by Dr. Ahmed Saeed Al Maashari, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering. The joint projects between ITA and the University to support free and open source software were also reviewed.

The inauguration ceremony included a panel discussion entitled “challenges and opportunities for the adoption of free and open source software”.  Prof. Hadj Bourdoucen, Dean of the College of Engineering at SQU, Fahad Al Saidi, Director of the National Initiative to Promote and Support the Use Free Software, Mohammed Jidad, Head of the Maintenance Department, Public Authority for Civil Aviation and Khalil Al-Ma’wali, Executive-Projects, ITA participated in the panel discussion moderated by Dr. Ahmed Saeed Al Maashari.