NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FREE SOFTWARE
CUSAT CAMPUS, KOCHI UNIVERSITY PO, KOCHI-682022
A National Conference on FREE SOFTWARE is being held on the 15th &
16th of November, 2008 at the campus of Cochin University of Science
and Technology, Kochi. The 2007 Conference was held in Hyderabad
Say Yes to IT
Information Technology (IT) has revolutionised the way people
communicate and enterprises run their business. Internet has provided
yet another space, the cyber space, facilitating people round the
globe to organise themselves in newer forms. There is no debate that
our country, its people and institutions need this technology for its
Software is an important component of an IT application, if not the
most important. Software remained in the public domain till nineteen
eighties. In the eighties, it was taken over by business interests and
is now a private property with Intellectual Property Right (IPR)
restrictions. The impact of patents and copyrights which are various
forms of IPR are basically two fold. On the one hand it has restricted
the transfer and growth of knowledge in society through
monopolisation, while on the other hand it has resulted in the
siphoning of wealth from the brick and mortar economy to the cyber
economy at alarming proportions.
Free Software Movement
The software professionals all over the world responded to this
monopolisation by launching the FREE SOFTWARE movement and by
legitimating General Public License (GPL) laws. The word Free relates
to FREEDOM IN SOFTWARE. Software developed and distributed as per GPL
laws ensures freedom to use, learn, modify, copy and distribute.
Software development became a community effort. Individuals, social
institutions and commercial enterprises are contributing to this
effort. It has been an eventful journey for the FREE SOFTWARE
movement, a tough one driven by self belief. What was perceived as an
egalitarian and romantic concept slowly snowballed into a reality as
GNU/LINUX took over the major space in the Information Technology
Infrastructure domain in the global arena. Questions of
user-friendliness were raised when it came to Application domain. The
software professionals in Kerala have collaborated well with the
global community to overcome these challenges.
Respond to the Political Will
What remained was the confidence of the political community and the
administrators. The State Government of Kerala broke the ice with a
visionary IT Policy which advocates the use of Free Software in
Government offices and undertakings. As we turn into a user of IT it
is necessary that we are not hijacked of our infrastructure and
knowledge. FREE SOFTWARE embodies our freedom and self-reliance.
Now the challenge is how quick and best the society imbibes and
embraces this movement. We need to put in place the Human Resource and
The Conference will be a milestone in the history of the Free Software
movement in India. The event will comprise of
INAUGURAL & PLENARY SESSIONS
DEMONSTRATION OF PRODUCTS & TOOLS
The Conference will be inaugurated by the Honorable Chief Minister of
Kerala, Sri V.S. Achuthanandan and will be blessed by leaders of the
Legislative Assembly and State and Central Ministers. The Conference
will hear nearly 150 experts from the social, technological,
industrial and educational domain. The Conference will debate nearly
50 topics of relevance. Activists working in free software and other
philosophically related domains will deliberate in Open forums.
Developers, Service providers & Users will demonstrate products and
services. Educational Institutions will participate in exhibitions and
contests. Souvenir will be a treasure in the archives. Cultural
programmes will show case Kerala's rich heritage to delegates from
Nearly 1500 persons will participate in the 2 day deliberations.
General public participation is expected to be close to 3000.
The dynamics of Free Software is multi-fold. It is academic,
commercial, social and policy driven. The Conference will do justice
to each of these streams as the Organisers of the Conference represent
each of these streams. The prime organiser of the Conference is Cochin
University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) which is the only
University in the State dedicated to Science & Technology in toto.
Open Software Solutions Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd owns one
of the largest client base in Kerala in the Free Software sector.
Appropriate Technology Promotion Society is a social organisation
registered under Charitable Societies Act which has been functioning
for the demystification of IT through publications and workshops.
IT@School personifies a committed State policy and has drawn wide
appreciation world wide for use of Free Software in education.
There is an organising committee which is a broader platform of
individuals representing all walks of life. The committee is blessed
with the presence of Retired Justice Sri V.R. Krishnaiyer as the Chief
Patron. Sri Dinesh Mani, MLA is the Chairman and Sri Joy Job Kulaveli,
Syndicate member, CUSAT is the General Convenor.
The Conference will be a preparatory ground towards establishing a
Centre of Excellence in Free Software in Kochi.
Join the Movement
The Conference assures you a 2 day extravaganza of knowledge,
partnership and motivation. Be a part of it.
More at http://nfm2008.atps.in/
Member, Cal. Math. Soc