Regarding the requests you made in a public discussion on 15th July
2020, an online meeting was conducted on 19th July.Below, you will
findthe responses toqueries to the Free Software communities of Kerala.
*1) Volunteers for framing a guideline and criteria for funding*
We need to have a transparent process for applying for funding and
following progress with public and transparentreporting of the work. The
outcome of it will be validated by a group of volunteers representing
various Free Software communities. We will need to know the budget
available in advance and allocate the amount under various broad
categories. These can be decided in a fixed time frame, once in 3 months
or once in 6 months in which the schedule to apply, discuss and decide
will be announced in advance.
Manoj Karingamadathil, Naveen P F, Ranjith Siji, Sruthi Chandran are
some of the names that got suggested in the discussion who can
volunteer. More members are to be suggested or decided by the respective
communities. We need a clear understanding of how the committee is going
to function (how frequent the committee will meet) once the suggestion
is accepted. The group of people from community who becomes part of the
committee is expected to serve for a fixed duration, i.e. not
permanently. Duration has to be finalized. A period of 1 year came up as
*2) Proposals from member groups for developing 2 Open fonts not
Since only few Free Softwarecommunity members were present who could
decide on applying for such proposals or mentoring scholars, it was
decided to reach out to them for proposals and suggestions. (Manoj
Karingamadathil who worked with SMC in the past was present but could
not be reached for comment during discussion due to technical issues).
The funding offer needs to be shared with the wider community and invite
people to apply, we found it would be best if ICFOSS can post this on
their official website which can be shared widely.
*3) Contribution of case studies for impact of Libre software in Kerala*
Here are the ones we could find within the give period, we would like to
volunteer if ICFOSS is ready to make an effort to document free software
history of Kerala.
*4) List of Communities and their Nomenclature*
It was decided to create an initial list based on the above and get
community to add any missing communities. Those who represent different
communities can add them to this list:
*5) List of Captains, representatives for inclusion in the board for
project/event selection and fellow selection.*
It was agreed that this group can have same representatives from the
funding guideline and criteria framing committee until an evaluated
decision is taken to have a separate group.
Below are some more points we would like to add to the responses.
*Appendix 1: *
Points from meeting with previous ICFOSS director last year which were
not addressed by the current Director in the telegram/matrix group
1) The brainstorming session highlighted the need for focusing on Free
Software contribution instead of academic profile as ICFOSS fellows
2) Kannan emphasized the need to develop Free Software Developers
instead of just Software Developers and involvement of community in
trainings is essential for that.
3) Sebin proposed Google Summer of Code or Outreachy like mentoring
programs where community manages the program and ICFOSS provide funding.
4) Ramesh from KSEB suggested ICFOSS should spearhead more Free Software
adoption campaigns in targeted areas like library management, 12th
standard syllabus, DTP centers, etc.
5) ICFOSS servers will be accessible for free software projects as soon
as the current server maintenance is over
We are not expecting that all suggestions will be accepted, but we
expect a reply even if a suggestion is not acceptable.
New questions raised in the telegram/matrix discussion and jitsi meeting.
Points raised by Anivar Aravind,
1) ICFOSS needs to be a facilitator for both FOSS projects and FOSS
requirements of the government. It should not be a big fat research-only
organization/funding platform/ownership holder of FOSS community
2) Major gap I see in this process is empowering room for free software
choices and suggestions in the government. I know it is not easy, but it
is a continuous battle. This needs policy briefs within government,
documenting best practices and more story telling based on FOSS projects
and their adoptions.
3) Initiate and build institutional support for voluntary initiatives
and help them to be sustainable communities. Eg. Building a Kerala
rescue based preparedness stack (I heard some good initiatives happening).
4) Research Partnership with FOSS organizations and communities in
Kerala and outside. Facilitate value for FOSS projects via this
associations, more contributors, mentors, cross community expertise
curation, etc. This will avoid Indian FOSS projects searching for
FOSSASIA type organizations abroad to provide organization home.
5) Not all FOSS projects are in a position to build campus presence. Use
campus presence of ICFOSS for joint/partnered event organizing help.
Communities can easily provide expertise while organizing efforts can be
done by ICFOSS's campus representatives.
6) Build and maintain a list of high priority projects as per the
governance + local needs. Priorities contributions to this via a task
based bounty based support structure
7) Decouple startup/product/event/certificate focused campus club
structure to contribution based model. Contribution shouldn't be code alone.
8) Use Open organization structure to maximum extend, use issue trackers
and build transparency around programs, planning and participation.
Invest efforts in addressing issues. This will avoid a lot of conflicts
even though it may be a bit difficult in start.
Point 1: We will follow up after two weeks unless ICFOSS provides a
rough estimate of how much time it will take in their reply.
Point 2: We will follow up after a week if ICFOSS does not publish the
offer on their website.
Point 3: We expect ICFOSS to share their plan for publishing existing
case studies and undertaking more case studies. We will follow up after
Point 4: We expect ICFOSS to maintain this list on their website with
procedure to update the list. Alternatively FSCI can also maintain this
list. We will follow up after a week.
Point 5: We expect ICFOSS to provide a plan for including community
representatives in their selection committees. We will follow up after
Point 6: We have taken an open approach to the new director even when
previous experiences were not good. Our support will depend on how
ICFOSS respond to community concerns.
We'd like to know the the status of your promise during the
telegram/matrix interaction earlier "to issue circular on allowing 20%
of work time on Free Software projects".
Today we had a good discussion with new ICFOSS director Sabarish K and
the discussions are still continuing at #icfoss:matrix.org matrix
Sabarish K: frame a guideline for funding, fixing criteria
Naveenpf: community grants can be split as
1. Project grant
2. Events and Travel grant
Project grant proposals can be invited once in a month in a year.
Events and travel grant proposal invited anytime.
Grants committee should be formed with community members. All depends
on yearly budget for community grant.
Structure for fund expenditure reporting template should be in place.
(can be reused from wikimedia grants reporting)
Hrishi: Adding to this,
Travel support can be of two types.
2. interestless loans
The second one should be easy to work out. Few years back I was in need
of a travel support when I had an opportunity to present one of my
projects in a prestigious event abroad. The organizers were reimbursing
the travel expenses but I had to advance it to make the arrangements. I
tried to get support from many such govt programs (including startup
mission) in vain. If such a travel support can be arranged, it is not
an expense per say. As the candidate will repay it when she gets the
Sabarish K: This is a good suggestion, biggest task before me is to
frame meticulously charted guidelines for each of the external funding
progs. Otherwise it may be the Next Story of Nepotism..
Navenpdf: Open proposals, community endorsements, diverse grant
committee and open reporting will help
You can see his responses to our demands we send to last ICFOSS
If you'd like to volunteer to be part of this team to draft guidelines
for funding from ICFOSS, please reply. We can send him the list of
people volunteered in aweek's time (by next Wednesday 22nd July.
There are also other promises from him like funding font development
which I hope someone will take up. See the pad linked above or join the
matrix group to see all the points.