FSF is entering 2006 with a very important task, drafting GPLv-3.
GPLv-2 was released in 1991, and it is the most widely used free
software license. During the course of time, the computing
environments are transforming, particularly with the entrance of
webservices and embedded devices. In the context of these changes,
it is possible that user's freedom may not be preserved.
FSF is committed to protect the software freedom even under the
transformed conditions in future. A draft of the GPL-v3 will be
released during the First International Public GPL-v3 launch
conference to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) on January 16 and 17, 2006. It is very likely that I will
attend this event and will participate in the delibrations
representing FSF India.
I invite the free software community in India to actively
participate in shaping the new license. If you would like to share
any specific inputs let us discuss them here in the list. You may
also want to send me your thoughts directly.
wishing you all a success in protecting software freedom.
I have searched in vain for the 3rd stanza of "The Morning Songs" by
Rabindranath Tagore . Could someone please point a link or send me the
complete text of "The Morning Songs"? It would be used to update
Is there any effort to list the Free Software events in 2005 ?
It'll be nice if such a WIKI is set up by FSF for this pupose. This
will provide a good reference in the future and also serve as a review
of the past year.
>The aforesaid article and some other articles by his lordship Justice
>Yatindra Singh dealing with computer software, open source are available
>on the web site of the Allahabad high court (www.allahabadhighcourt.in).
>They may be seen by going to the
>web Diary - Item Wise - speech/article or may be accessed at
Thank you for the information. I'll forward the news to other mailing
lists that would find the articles and site interesting and useful too.
It is heartening to know that the Allahabad High Court is using free and
open software and standards so extensively. If I may say so, the
articles by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Yatindra Singh have approached free
software from a neutral point of view and present a fair picture to the
In the talk titled "OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
RIGHTS" delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh at NALSAR Hyderabad and NLS,
Bangalore and NUJS, Kolkata, Linus Torvalds has been quoted from "Just
for Fun: the Story of an Accidental Revolutionary' as
"The GPL and open source model allows for the creation of the best
... It also prevents the hoarding of technology and ensures that anyone with
interest won't be excluded from its development.
So open source would rather use the legal weapon of copyright as an
to join in the fun, rather than as a weapon against others. It's still
the same old
mantra: Make Love, Not War, except on a slightly more abstract level."
The quote captures the key IPR feature central to free software, and
makes the legal intricacies involved superfluous.
The practical reasons why many prefer to use free software is succintly
summarised in the following words:
"I shifted to GPLed software few years ago: the reasons were practicable.
GPLed software comes without any cost. And it does what I do--word
playing music, watching Video, surfing internet,and electronically
calendar --as well as any other proprietary software."
More generally, the observations on using computers in the talk titled
"IT: The Road to Speedier Justice" is remarkable:
"Computers are like 'English butlers'. They have to be told what to do
and they do it in that way and no other way. Computers love routine and
are never bored. But to achieve any success the minds of the judges,
lawyers, and court employees have to be streamlined into a method. One
has to leave individualism. The reports cannot be generated unless data
is fed into computers; they will not have any meaning unless they are
utilised and goals are fixed. And above all, if there is no will to
change, no orientation to the work culture, then nothing can work."
Sacrificing individuality is a small price to pay for the larger
benefits received in return by the general public. Probably NRC-FOSS (
http://www.au-kbc.org/nrcf/index.htm )could include some of the articles
as part of the curriculum for students. Public institutions that have
not yet adopted free software practices need to wake up now.
previous post to ilugc about the article titled "Intellectual Property
Rights in Computer Software" by Justice Yatindra Singh of the Allahabad
High Court published in AIR 2005 Journal 353.
Maybe an issue to mull over: do journalists who write about software
"piracy" pay for the proprietorial software they use? As a Free Software
user, I do neither of these, and think the debate is being very badly
skewed in the interest of big business. This is also reflective of the
wider crisis afflicting journalism. -FN
Indian journalist wins Arab IPR media award
Press Trust of India
Dubai, December 28, 2005
A Dubai-based Indian journalist has won the prestigious Arab IPR Media
Award 2005 for his reportage on anti-piracy drive in the Arab world.
Isaac John of Khaleej Times won the award for his "insightful reportage
about the challenges and opportunities in forging an effective
anti-piracy drive in the Arab world".
The award was constituted by Business Software Alliance (BSA), a global
organisation dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world,
Co-Chairman of BSA (Middle East) Jawad Al Redha said.
John -- a veteran of 25 years in Gulf media -- has won three Pan-Arab
awards in a row in 2005, a rare distinction for an Indian journalist in
Challenges ahead for anti-piracy drive
By Issac John
17 August 2005
DUBAI - THE headway made by the UAE in combating piracy in computer
software, film and music could be more remarkable if the Emirates
succeeds in overcoming a major hurdle — a lack of consumer awareness and
concern about this illegal activity besides non-cooperation from the
Industry analysts and software experts believe that the next logical
step for the UAE — which now has a low piracy rate of 34 per cent as
against the global average of 35 per cent — is to foster a generation of
consumers committed to, and convinced of the long-term social, ethical
and economic impact for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.
Having overcome the first phase challenge of effective regulatory
measures, the country's enforcement authorities now need to realise the
importance of drumming up wider public support to their anti-piracy
drive. This can be achieved only through sustained campaigns not only in
business workplaces but also in schools and universities and other
"It is time that the UAE, which has sent a positive signals to its Gulf
neighbours by the way it handled piracy, should seek to develop a
culture proactive to fool-proof intellectual property protection
measures. To realise this goal, enforcement of tougher rules is not only
the answer but also the creation of awareness, right from an early age,
about the negative aspects of IPR violations."
"What is needed for our modern age techno- savvy society is a
combination of stricter law enforcement and increased enlightenment. To
combat IPR violations, effective legislation and its enforcement are
vital, but no less significant is the support and cooperation both the
authorities and the industries that are prone to copyrights infringement
can win from the public," said a leading anti-piracy campaigner.
"Therefore, to create a healthy and vibrant software industry and a
strong environment for innovation, what is imperative is not only an
effective and speedy implementation of policies and laws but also a
sustained awareness campaign to win consumer hearts," he said.
Most analysts maintain that in tandem with the strict implementation of
regulatory measures, software industry should come up with improved copy
"With CD burning and on-line file-sharing now becoming more rampant and
undetectable in the UAE than organised sales in pirated software and
CDs, effective copy protection technology is the immediate answer to the
menace. In the long-term, it is only a well-orchestrated educational
drive that could succeed and sustain."
Stressing the need to introduce more copy-protected CD formats that
limit the number of burns in curbing piracy, the analyst said CD burning
is a growing problem that is really undermining the sale of software,
films and music CDs in the UAE too. A random market survey by Khaleej
Times underscored this growing trend.
Market watchers said with the UAE's impressive PC penetration and
sophistication rate, this type of privacy is almost on par with the US
where burned CDs accounted for 29 per cent of all recorded music
obtained by fans in 2004, compared to 16 per cent attributed to
downloads from on-line file-sharing networks.
In the UAE, while there is no organised or massive scale CD burning
operations, an investigation by this paper found out that several
production units catering to specific customer requirements — software,
film or music CDs — are operational in certain residential areas, making
them hard to be detected by anti-piracy squads.
Nevertheless, the once-rampant sale of pirated CDs at parking places and
street corners is now a rare sight the following the vigil kept by
enforcement authorities. Subsequently, the UAE has been removed from the
Special 301 Watch List by the United States Trade Representative.
Analysts believe that it is imperative that government authorities and
the software industries should marshal their efforts to educate the
public that IPR protection is key to continued R&D to ensure innovations
and growth in UAE's digital economy. Concerted efforts should also be
taken to ensure all businesses understand the potential implications of
lax security and the importance of creating a safe and legal working
environment, they said.
Experts also maintain that business establishments should be made aware
of the pitfalls of pirated software. "Piracy stifles innovation. The
cost of combating software piracy, plus lost revenues, could be spent on
research and development to benefit users. When you buy legal software,
you are contributing to the businesses that can improve your software in
the future, as well as to the worldwide economy. When your organisation
complies, you have the assurance that you are protecting your company
from the legal fees, financial penalties, and bad press that accompany
The public should be made aware of the fact that pirated software may
come cheap but can carry viruses or may not function at all.
"Unlicensed users do not receive quality documentation and are not
entitled to receive technical support or product upgrades, patches, or
updates. Organisational productivity also suffers when employees use
pirated products. Pirated software often leads to version control
problems that prevent employees from efficiently sharing files, while
driving up IT support costs," the expert warned.
Piracy comes in many forms including licensed user duplication for
unlicensed users and illegal Internet distribution. When someone copies
software without buying the appropriate number of licenses, it is
copyright infringement. Other forms of software piracy can occur when an
individual copying a software for a friend or when a business
under-reports the number of computers using a software.
Warning against the pitfalls of obtaining pirated versions through
illegal Internet distribution, experts said there is no guarantee that
such software is secure or will work properly when installed.
Estimates reveal that as much as 90 per cent of software sold over
Internet auction sites is either bootlegged or gray market."
With an estimated 35 per cent piracy rate globally, the economic effects
of this menace are significant. In 2004, piracy cost the global economy
some $33 billion, up from the previous year's $29 billion. Losses in the
Middle East area and Africa are around $1.3 billion.
According to global technology research leader IDC, the world spent more
than $59 billion on commercial packaged PC software in 2004, up from $51
billion in 2003. But the total software installed was valued at $90, up
from $80 billion.
While the UAE, like its AGCC neighbours is giving keen care to adhering
to TRIPS (the WTO's agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights), it need to take more efforts in educating the public
on its implications.
As a front-runner in digital readiness in the Middle East, the UAE had a
head start in embracing the Internet age, as well as mobile phone
technology. In recent years, it made the protection of intellectual
property a priority, and in the process, the country has blazed a trail
as a regional role-model in safeguarding IPR.
"Just as the UAE government has done to educate the local business
community of the e-commerce and encouraged understanding of the Internet
and its capabilities through various programmes, authorities should
mount a consistent campaign to educate the public on the ill-effects of
The country's copyright, trademark and patent laws, passed in 2002 were
in harmony with international standards and exceed UAE's TRIPs
obligations. The current copyright law, enacted in July 2002 grants
protection to authors of creative works and expands the categories of
protected works, to include computer programs, software, databases, and
other digital works. Since then the UAE has come a long way with its
piracy rates dropping to less than those of France, Greece, Ireland,
Italy, Spain Portugal and Canada.
Most experts however, agree that suggestions or advice cannot completely
thwart fraud. "A pirate will tell you anything it takes in order to sell
you the illegal software. The best way to avoid pirated products is to
purchase from authorized, reputable resellers. It is not uncommon for
pirates to engage not only in the sale of illegal software but also in
credit card fraud and identity theft. Counterfeit software may also have
viruses or Trojan Horses."
They advise that buying legal software saves money in many ways. "In
addition, in most cases, all registered licensees receive information
about productivity-enhancing updates, upgrades, and special offers.
Organisations that manage their software licenses effectively
standardise employees on common platforms; get rid of obsolete, unused
assets; and manage more efficiently, resulting in fewer IT support
calls, lower administration costs, and higher user satisfaction."
Frederick 'FN' Noronha | http://del.icio.us/fredericknoronha
Saligao, Goa, India | fred(a)bytesforall.org
Independent Journalist | +91(832)2409490 Cell 9822122436
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Deepak R <deepakmail(a)gmail.com>
Date: Dec 28, 2005 6:01 PM
Subject: [Free-electron] Welcome to the list
The purpose of this list is mainly to ask questions and post comments
about free electron. Hopefully this will also serve as a place to
clear doubts if anyone of us is attempting a "freedom fight" in a
There was an article in y'day's Education plus with The Hindu on free electron.
Suggestions to promote and improve free electron are also most welcome.
Lecturer in Electronics and Communication,
Government Engineering College, Barton Hill,
Tel : +91-9447761729 (Mob)
Free-electron mailing list
Free Electron - free software to your liking
Here is how open source software can be used as an educational resource
for the benefit of all, particularly resource-starved institutions.
In a significant attempt to promote innovation and help educational
institutions conserve resources and overcome the limitations arising
from the use of proprietary software, the Society for Promotion of
Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE) and the free software cell
of Government Engineering College at Barton Hill in Thiruvananthapuram
have jointly developed Free Electron, a GNU/Linux distribution package,
mainly meant to meet the creative pursuits of electronics engineering
students and teachers.
The proponents of free software have taken up the project to make it a
valuable resource in education. The curbs imposed by proprietary
software companies often hinder young talent from innovating. Either
they would have to go for innovation ignoring the rules set by the
companies or relinquish such ventures for want of funds.
Free Electron has come as a boon for all those who strive to make unique
contributions in this realm. Setting up an electronic laboratory is
rather a tough proposition for Government educational institutions and
it is here that the Free Electron package comes to their rescue.
According to R. Deepak, a lecturer in electronics at the Government
Engineering College, Barton Hill, in addition to the typical desktop
applications, Free Electron has the professional typesetting tool TEX,
computer numerical application suite `ocatave,' computer algebra system
`xmaxima,' electronic design automation suite gEDA and many more
simulators, emulators and compilers required for various kinds of
electronic design and simulation.
The use of propriety software often limits IT education. Hence, the
Government should adopt a policy against using proprietary technologies
in educational institutions. Sensitising students should be the first
step in creating an empowered society with free software and the
creation of packages like Free Electron would set the trend in securing
for the students more freedom to break new ground, he says.
They can design tools and by having the customised CD they can practise
at their convenience. They can also distribute the software among
themselves totally free of cost.
Free Electron comprises editors, electronic design tools, graphics,
Math, a high-level language primarily meant for numerical computations,
a multi-platform office productivity suite, `OpenOffice.org,'
programming, typesetting, tools and viewers.
Along with the customised CD, a detailed installation guide has also
been prepared for the users. It is also available as an OpenOffice file
in the directory `doc' in the CD.
Academicians have made remarkable contributions for the development and
popularisation of free software and Free Electron too is a step in this
regard, says Vimal Joseph, an activist of SPACE. It gives the students
as well as the teachers the right to copy and use it as one's own
property, to study, modify and also to redistribute in an unrestricted
Free Electron being highly adaptive, can be put to various uses without
incurring any financial burden, says Joseph.
SPACE is planning to widen its network on the campuses in an effective
manner and make it accessible to more people within a very short span of
As part of its awareness drive among students, the society has decided
to give an assistance of Rs.50,000 each for the projects taken up by
The society also has plans to set up cells in more educational
institutions in the State. The society is encouraged by the warm
response from the students and teachers.
Almost all institutions would soon have such cells, says Mr. Joseph.
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VIRTUAL EDUCATION SOFTWARE PROGRESS IN INDIA - Bangalore's Centre for
Development of Advanced Computing, which leads the Indian
Government-funded Development Gateway ICT Research and Training Centre,
has published a technical paper on building virtual classroom situations
using the center's Vartalaap software. The open-source software is being
developed to cater to the online communications needs of people in their
To read "Vartalaap - Virtual Classroom System":
For information on the India center and its ICT4D projects visit: