---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Stefan Merten <smerten(a)oekonux.de>
Date: Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 8:39 PM
Subject: The Kerala experience
Cc: Stefan Merten <smerten(a)oekonux.de>, Arun M <arun(a)keralaitmission.org>,
Yuwei Lin <yuwei(a)ylin.org>
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I'm just on the way back home from this great conference which took
place in Thiruvananthapuram in the state of Kerala / India. I must say
I'm really deeply impressed. I would wish that Free Software
*including* things like Oekonux says would have that backing in
Germany / Europe / industrialized countries!
Right now while we are struggling hard to find funding for our 4th
conference I came to a place where the best hotel in town has been
made not only the place for the conference but also gave a great
temporary home for some of the speakers. That's all possible because
the state of Kerala employs an impressingly firm and decided Free
Software strategy. Therefore obviously the government is ready to pay
for such a conference including lunch and tea breaks and dinners...
And not only this. The Chief Minister of the State of Kerala were
present during the inaugural session and addressed the audience and
emphasized the necessity of Free Software and other Free knowledge
resources. During the final session the chief of the opposition were
And if I then think of the press coverage this conference got in some
standard news papers. It is really amazing! But not only the
conference got news coverage. In the Sunday paper - i.e. before the
conference and not related to it - there were also an article about a
Free Dictionary for North-East Indian languages. They really mean it!
The conference itself was really two conferences in one. There were a
technology track and a policy/culture track - though culture were not
really there. I don't know for sure but I think the conference
participants also split between these two tracks. I for one attended
none of the technology presentations. There were also 450+ registered
participants - so it was really a rather big event.
During personal conversations I learned that in Kerala many are
interested in not only the technology but also in the possible
philosophical / societal meeting.
But what really amazed me most that the things Oekonux started to talk
about nearly 10 years ago at least in Kerala slowly become an accepted
idea. The potential of peer production is seen by many - though I
still think what we do here is quite elaborated in this regard. In
fact the talk I gave (see
http://www.oekonux.org/texts/YesWeCanYesWeWill.html - which is heavily
revised compared to the version I sent here) was welcomed by a couple
of people afterwards.
I really would conclude that much of the potential of the whole peer
production movement meanwhile moved to places like Kerala. This
opinion I share for instance with Juan-Carlos (Hipatia) who also names
South America here. I even thought that Thiruvananthapuram could be a
place for the 5th Oekonux Conference. May be in the form of some
What also surprised me that the conference was attended by a
relatively high share of women. I took a few samples and would guess
about 25%. And in sharp contrast to the majority of women I see on
German Free Software conferences these women were not the female part
of a couple. However, the gender distribution of the speakers was as
Of course there were a couple of interesting speakers including Eben
Moglen, Richard Stallman, Jimmy Wales, Neville Roy Singham
(ThoughtWorks). Michel Bauwens and Adam Arvidsson gave talks, too.
For me the best of all talks were the keynote of Eben Moglen. I'll
give some key aspects of it below. First I'd like to share two things:
* Custom software is not proprietary software
Richard Stallman said that custom software - i.e. software written
for a fixed customer with no plans to publish it, often created
in-house - is not proprietary software. The reason is that it is not
published. I found this separation quite interesting. It also
reminds me of the discussions we had about the (exchange) value of
software. Graham? StefanMz?
* What about Oekonux when there is still 50% agriculture?
I mean that is not really a new question but in India it was
impossible to ignore: What does Oekonux theory has to say for a
country where more than 50% are still doing agriculture and even a
still quite high level of subsistence economy. Good question indeed.
What I understood from the talks given is that at the moment Free
Software helps people to create a more transparent market - for
instance by knowing the price of a certain agricultural product in
the neighbor city. Well, I'd agree that in a situation like Kerala
Free Software is probably better suited to do the job but then this
is only a modernization step on the way to integrate in capitalism
Now for the mentioned keynote by Eben Moglen. I took some notes I
happily share below. Words are often by me. Those parts `marked up`
with backticks are quotes.
=== 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< === 8< ===
Keynote by Eben Moglen
* Freedom in computing => freedom in society
* Idea of Richard Stallman
* Computers are ubiquitous
* Computers "control" our lives
* Thus it's crucial that we are able to control them
* Sharing is crucial to humans
* E-mail connected Eben to the world
* `Internet is the name of a social condition` instead of a
* Because connections are so important it is crucial that they run
* `We want people never to be thirsty for things which are useful`
* Make possible that everyone can develop according to her abilities
* Success story of Wikipedia
* British encyclopedia criticized for mistakes
* But mistakes are fixed by everyone
* Wikipedia reported about Virginia school shooting
* Created recognition by even the New York Times
* New York Times accepted that Wikipedia were better in this regard
* Errors are no news to software
* Best software on earth is the goal of Free Software
* Free Software changed the world
* There are differences in Free Software, encyclopedia, music,
* Important: Free Software proved that things can be done in Free
* Knowledge is cheap
* Knowledge no longer controlled by someone
* And all by declaring freedoms
* Not rules, and "ifs"
* Only exception: If you take you have to share also
* Meanwhile: Important for governments
* Everywhere - but in USA
* Barack Obama knows, that the net elected him
* `Free government is impossible without Free Software`
* `We are not only a community of freedom fighters - we are coming to
* `We need to grow up`
* Things are changing
* Communities are crucial in 21st century
* Products need community nowadays
* We are changing the meaning of products, networks, ...
* Still there are some limitations
* Such as software patents
* But we are powerful because of good ideas
* Still there are limitations angering us
* No longer enough to protest against these limitations
* Now we need to find solutions for these limitations by inviting
* Make new Free offerings
* In the past we had to apologize for "free as in beer"
* `Free as in beer is not a bad thing in the next few years` because
of financial crisis
* Offering knowledge for zero price
* Not a small achievement
* Start of a new era
* We are in power meanwhile
* No single person in power
* Rather the community is powerful
* "Servant of the servants" (pope) is and should be our mode
* That is why we are powerful
* `Proof of concept plus running code - that's our revolution`
* We have to think for the future of mankind
* That is a heavy responsibility
* If we mess up "they" will take over again and this historical
opportunity will vanish
* So we need to use power wisely
* `We don't need to change what we believe [...] but we need to get
* We need to welcome more brains to enter the movement
* Generations struggled for this freedom
* They failed and have been oppressed
* Today we are almost there
* `This time we win`
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We had to do a lot of last minute stuff as IISc centenary celberations
We have the big guys coming the same day including : Assistant managing
director of Microsoft Research India - speaks @ IISc - 11.30 a.m - 1.00
p.m, 14th Dec : India - A Knowledge Power: Opportunities and Challenges
We have Choksi hall fixed at 5.p.m Sunday 14th. This got confirmed only
last night. If we didnt get the hall we were planning to have a open
air session with hand mike considering the importanct of the topic.
We have Eben moglen - speaking on The Knowledge Power of the Community
:: Danger of Patents
1) http://notoimp.wordpress.com/ - its important for civil society to
debate the quote IP unquote policy of a institute of national
2) Its also important in the light of the national debate on software
* harish k singh
Can you look at the article at
tml. The patents subsidized by our belowed govt is now in the hands of
these trolls. Maybe we need to address these issues when the meeting in
IISc happens next month.Incidently, this company's major investor is
none other than microsoft. See
* Rehat Venky
"Software patents are an important issue in India right now
because there is a heated debate over how to interpret Section 3(k)
which says that, "A mathematical or business method or a computer
programme per se or algorithms are not patentable."
How "computer programme per se" is interpreted is of vital
importance to the FOSS community. Therefore a talk by RMS on software
patents would be relevant at this point in time and would help raise
awareness of how patents prevent independent invention and restrict the
freedom of software developers."
The photo blog is skill fully hiding the Java FX fiasco reported at http://brainstorms.in/?p=240.
Compare these two images.
( image 5 on http://playingwithsid.blogspot.com/2008/12/fsfsin-2008-day-31.html )
The second image seems to have been manipulated.
Arky why didn't you stand up and protest as in Cochin. It is a shame that you post a windows slide on your blog.
Or was the cochin protest an engineered one.
> Message: 7
> Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 00:38:14 +0530 (IST)
> From: Rakesh 'arky' Ambati
> Subject: [Fsf-friends] FSFS.in Photoblog :: All Posts
> To: fsug-bangalore(a)mm.gnu.org.in, fsf-friends(a)mm.gnu.org.in
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in
> Computing, Development and Culture (FSFS.in 2008 ):: Full
> Three years ago Anand Babu lent me his laptop to blog live
> from Technopark, the venue for the First Free Software, Free
> Society Conference in Kerala and I promised my blog readers
> that I will do that same this time around. I wrote in a blog
> post announcing the event you bet! I am gonna do that again
> and I am happy that I have kept my word.
> For some technical reasons and largely due to my lazyiness
> I ended doing photo blogging instead. I thought this would
> be easier than sitting and writing posts on FSFS website.
> How wrong I was!. I had corrected some content on that site
> and had editor access. However I didn't find the Drupal
> content interface very appealing.
> Anyway I was running all over the place ducking in and out
> of conference halls and hankering people to pose for the
> camera and interputing conversations with an unexpected
> flash and then running back to media room on the first floor
> where I had my laptop running hooked up to internet via a
> lan cable (sorry, GPRS too costly!) and uploading the
> pictures. And then I had sit late into night outside my
> hotel room so that I get a better signal and use my datacard
> to upload pictures taken in evening well past into midnight
> like this post I am writing right now.
> I used my aging Nokia 70 running S60 (Shameless plug: yeah
> its proprietary software, I don't like it either
> don't flame me I am wearing my fireproof underwear
> instead buy me some open hardware) with its 2.0 Megapixel
> camera to take these pictures, the quality is aweful but I
> guess its adds a aumeatuerish stock reel quality to the
> pictures, which I like very much. Perhaps next time I could
> afford to buy a Openmoko Neo runner and shoot (guess, the
> next one will come with a camera) blog picture in real time
> with WIFI hookup.
> Here is complete listing of the all live blog posts from
> the Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in
> Computing, Development and Culture in chronological order.
> Its well past midnight and forgive me if I missed some of
> the posts.
> Pre-Event Post
> Free Software Free Society Conference 2008, Registrations
> Day One
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.0
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.1 Lunch
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.2
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.3
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.4
> Day Two
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.0
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.1
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.2
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.3
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.4
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.5 :: Freedom Expo
> Day Three
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.0
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.1
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.2 (Videos)
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.3
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.4 :: Fusion Music Cultural
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.5 :: Openmoko Hack Session
> * FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.6 :: Long Hair Post
> Rakesh 'arky' Ambati
> Blog [ http://playingwithsid.blogspot.com ]
> Be the first one to try the new Messenger 9 Beta! Go
> to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/win/
Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in Computing, Development and Culture (FSFS.in 2008 ):: Full Roundup
Three years ago Anand Babu lent me his laptop to blog live from Technopark, the venue for the First Free Software, Free Society Conference in Kerala and I promised my blog readers that I will do that same this time around. I wrote in a blog post announcing the event you bet! I am gonna do that again and I am happy that I have kept my word.
For some technical reasons and largely due to my lazyiness I ended doing photo blogging instead. I thought this would be easier than sitting and writing posts on FSFS website. How wrong I was!. I had corrected some content on that site and had editor access. However I didn't find the Drupal content interface very appealing.
Anyway I was running all over the place ducking in and out of conference halls and hankering people to pose for the camera and interputing conversations with an unexpected flash and then running back to media room on the first floor where I had my laptop running hooked up to internet via a lan cable (sorry, GPRS too costly!) and uploading the pictures. And then I had sit late into night outside my hotel room so that I get a better signal and use my datacard to upload pictures taken in evening well past into midnight like this post I am writing right now.
I used my aging Nokia 70 running S60 (Shameless plug: yeah its proprietary software, I don't like it either don't flame me I am wearing my fireproof underwear instead buy me some open hardware) with its 2.0 Megapixel camera to take these pictures, the quality is aweful but I guess its adds a aumeatuerish stock reel quality to the pictures, which I like very much. Perhaps next time I could afford to buy a Openmoko Neo runner and shoot (guess, the next one will come with a camera) blog picture in real time with WIFI hookup.
Here is complete listing of the all live blog posts from the Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in Computing, Development and Culture in chronological order. Its well past midnight and forgive me if I missed some of the posts.
Free Software Free Society Conference 2008, Registrations Open!
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.0
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.1 Lunch
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.2
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.3
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 1.4
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.0
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.1
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.2
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.3
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.4
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 2.5 :: Freedom Expo
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.0
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.1
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.2 (Videos)
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.3
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.4 :: Fusion Music Cultural Event
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.5 :: Openmoko Hack Session
* FSFS.in 2008 :: Day 3.6 :: Long Hair Post
Rakesh 'arky' Ambati
Blog [ http://playingwithsid.blogspot.com ]
Be the first one to try the new Messenger 9 Beta! Go to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/win/
I know this will provoke many.
I was at the exhibition hall . It was a real waste of money. The venue was originally made for AITUC national conference. By the present Kerala standards the bill for AITUC event must go to free software account.
Most of the government stalls were manned by known CPIM members who have no clue on free software. I also spotted a couple of windows machines.
They spent a lot of money putting out cut outs and posters across the city. What is the use of all this waste to free software. As some one mentioned previously the free software movement in Kerala has been hijacked by CPIM and co. This event has proven it.
The event was conducted in a typical communist manner. Good food for all comrades at Muscot and some free pass to party members. Free software is really free beer.
> From: Mak ri <makri2k(a)yahoo.com>
> Date: Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 7:53 AM
> Subject: [Fsf-friends] FSFS.IN and windows
> To: fsf-friends(a)mm.gnu.org.in
> Windows at fsfs.inhttp://brainstorms.in/?p=240
Prof. Eben's talk at CU was well appreciated by the Management, staff
and students of CU.
Despite the almost one hour delay due to the flight and traffic there
was a very good participation.
A video recording of the program will be uploaded shortly.
Several of us use Debian GNU/Linux and among other features we have all
appreciated the way Debian software package dependencies are calculated
to give us a stable package. At gnowledge.org we harvested the data
from the packages.tgz file of Debian 4.0 and created a program that
graphically displays the dependencies, called dependency maps. Search
for your favorite package and see how dependent a software is on other
Search for your favorite from:
One of the main reasons why we are interested in Debian dependency maps
is that we are inspired by that model and now wants to create a similar
knowledge.tgz file for all concepts and activities as gnowledge.org is
in the process of creating a gnowledge distribution. You will also be
able to see how we are using the idea of Debian for knowledge domain.
gnowledge.org is waiting for all of you to spread the message,
specifically among the teachers of any subject whatsoever to add the
dependency relations so that we can soon have a gnowledge (free
knowledge distribution) distro.