[Fsf-friends] Open Source Tactics

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Fri Mar 19 09:03:03 IST 2004

Rakesh Ambati wrote:

>Take a moment to ask yourself,when is last time you
>have helped fix some bug's in your GNU software or
>written some documentation, helped someone understand
>the 'nut & bolts' of operating system and software.
> Lets do some good rather than taking part in endless
>posts about how to bring about change ...
>Real changes comes from our contributions, our actions
>speaks for us.
Dear Arky,

The main reason I had to write on `Open Source Tactics' is to maintain 
peace in this list.  This is an `advocacy' list for FSF-India and a 
reminder to all members about the purpose of this list maintained at 
http://mm.gnu.org.in/mailman/listinfo/fsf-friends :

This is the principal support list of FSF-India. This is an open list 
which invites questions, proposals, suggestions, comments and 
constructive criticisms in aid of the FSF-India's activities, based on 
its mission, principles and basic decisions.

Is it too much to request posters to respect these purposes? 

Even so, sometimes technical issues are discussed, for example, you 
would remember a posting regarding correct threading in mailing lists. 
 Anyone who has the skill, time and patience may read the previous 
thread at 
http://mm.gnu.org.in/pipermail/fsf-friends/2003-December/001322.html and 
and write detailed documentation on how to post messages to mailing 
lists.  _ALL_ are welcome, and this is not a demand, but a pointer to an 
opportunity available.

Since you ask for credentials in terms of contributions made, I am the 
author of .^. calpp: computer aided legal procedures and proceedings, a 
free software released under the GPL, and  I would like to be remembered 
for writing calpp, my one and only contribution.  The main reason I take 
interest in software,  is that it offers an excellent opportunity to 
kill the ambiguity problems that plague the law.  To my utter surprise, 
though free software code effectively deals with ambiguities, free 
software terminology is beset and taunted with ambiguity issues.  I did 
spend the whole month of November 2003 to convince myself that there is 
nothing ambiguious with `free software'.  I hope I can document these 
soon enough, so that, as you wrote, we can stay focused on worthwhile 

Last month, I attended a special lecture delivered by Brian Behlendorf, 
the founder of the Apache Project,  organised by ILUGC at IIT Madras. 
 Brian referred to RMS with warmth, said he loves the GNU Project, that 
he works with Eben Moglen, chief counsel for FSF, on licensing issues 
and would like the world to move towards making all software really 
free.  Though Brian was speaking about open source philosophy he was 
never far away from free software philosophy.  Practically, there are 
negligible differences between the two movements, but nevertheless 
sufficient enough to effectively provide an artificial `competitive' 
environment within our community.  Brian saw India as a major force, 
already well equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow.  It is really 
the free code we write that ultimately matters.

The business community may have the option of using `open source' or 
`free software' terminology.  But, in the legal field, this is neither 
possible nor advisable.  Open source advocates should concede the use of 
`free software' terminology in law taking into consideration the 
history, literal meaning and  scope of `free software' and work with us 
together in this area. There is no room for using contrived tactics or 
rhetoric in law. That is why, we have to be alert to advocate use of 
free software terminology in e-governance projects. The sooner this 
happens, the better for all of us.


More information about the Fsf-friends mailing list