Hong Phuc Dang
Number of years as an open source contributor: 13
Projects or communities: FOSSASIA, Open Source Initiative, Eventyay, SUSI.AI, Pocket Science Lab
Summary of contributions:
Seeing how open source was helping with the rapid education and skill development in her native Vietnam encouraged Hong Phuc to explore further. She co-founded FOSSASIA in 2009 as a community devoted to improving people’s lives through sharing open technologies and knowledge and fostering global connections. She especially wanted to encourage developers from Asia to participate in the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement. Since then, FOSSASIA has become one of the largest open source communities in Asia. In 2019, Hong Phuc was elected to the Open Source Initiative board of directors.
Hong Phuc actively works with the organization to develop and sustain a number of open source projects, including SUSI.AI, the open source voice assistant framework, Pocket Science Lab, a miniaturized FOSS hardware and software laboratory, and Eventyay, an open source event solution. Hong Phuc supports participation of these projects in numerous coding programs training thousands of new developers under the FOSSASIA umbrella.
Every year she organizes the FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit in Singapore, an event where open source contributors from around the world get together to share, collaborate, and build a bridge between the East and West. She also runs events such as OpenTechSummit in China, Science Hackathons in Vietnam, and Jugaadfest in India. Furthermore, Hong Phuc created and manages online coding contests for education like Codeheat, which introduces more than 1,000 students to open source each year.
Hong Phuc also supports a range of companies — from the automotive industry to fashion tech companies — to expand their work models to become more efficient by helping people collaborate more openly inside and across companies. Her goal is to share her learnings with as many people as possible to spread the model of open source collaboration around the world. Hong Phuc speaks at tech conferences like Chaos Communication Congress, FOSDEM, Open Source Summit, and OpenTechSummit Europe. She trains high school teachers on how to use open source tools for education, sets up local open source meetups across Asia, and organizes UNESCO hackathons for the UN sustainable development goals.
Open source has been a life-changing experience for Hong Phuc. She grew up in a small town in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam and cannot imagine her life today without open source. It has given her the opportunity to learn, grow, be independent, see the entire world, and connect with many people. She believes that free and open source enables sharing and collaboration across borders, regardless of language, race, religion, gender, background, or skills.
What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
During the FOSSASIA Summit 2020 in Singapore Hong Phuc and team gained experience in running a mixed on-site and online event as many people could not participate in-person due to travel restrictions. They found there is much to learn and improve on how to do collaborative events entirely with FOSS.
In the next year, Hong Phuc plans to organize more online events and, in particular, workshops of people working together on practical solutions to solving the COVID-19 crisis. In this crisis, communities are lacking medical equipment like ventilators, textile masks, pharmaceutical drugs, educational online content, and open digital tools for schools. Global supply chains are interrupted and the market is not able to supply what is needed. Prices are skyrocketing.
To Hong Phuc, this shows we can no longer rely on centralized production pipelines and we need solutions that can be deployed anywhere and products that can be produced locally. Open source software, open hardware, and open science with which code, schematics, and knowledge can be shared around the world are the way to achieve this. Hong Phuc would like to use her energy to create a paradigm shift in society making "open" the default and to allow everyone to be part of it no matter their background.
By sharing the story of her journey, Hong Phuc wants to encourage more women and people with different backgrounds to participate in FOSS. Furthermore, she plans to run a developer coding program in the summer with companies in support of FOSS.