[Fsf-friends] The conference issues and facts

Kiran Chandra kiranfsf at gmail.com
Wed Nov 19 11:22:31 IST 2008

It is very unfortunate that a campaign on the name of novell is being
carried out against the conference which is also going out of
proportion. These kinds of attempts just harm the  movement and will be
of no good. Hence i am coming out with facts. The sole contention should
be to keep the freedom flag waving.

There would be none who would not be criticising the collaboration of
Novell with Microsoft. However confining the attention of the entire
community to one issue would undermine the importance and success of the
conference which is historic for the free software movement.

This protest doesn't appear to be the one against novell rather to be
against an important confernce of a high magnitude in the history of the
movement. This was a conference which was well attended by 1500+
participants that includes industry, students, academia, Vice
Chancellors, Policy makers and many others from all walks of life. There
were 30 seminars, 17 workshops, 18 open fora, exhibition and many other
kinds  of activities.There were good number of declarations made and
initiatives taken up. At a time when there is a back door entry of
software patents an initiative on behalf of the lawyer community to take
on the patents in the legal battles was announced. An agreement for
collaboration between eight universities to conduct research on and
based on free software and to implement it was made. There are many in
these lines which have been an outcome of this conference. There was
huge number of academia representing this conference. 

Any protest organised, will generally be made in front of the office of
novell or in the presence of the representative of the novell. However
this protest was not called when the novell representative was there on
the dias as a speaker on which me and nagarjuna were also present. The
community has never seen any protest in front of the novell offices or
the other conferences supported by novell accross india. The situp was
organised infront of the main hall, the posters were being put at all
parts of the campus. The actions thus appear to the community that they
were just not against novell but against the conference. This is not the
first time that such issues are being created by the same people. They
were trying to create hurdles, divert the attention and subvert it even
during the preparations of the conference. There are many conferences
that are happenning in the country which are organised by many others,
we as FSF India will be attending them and try to ensure to get the best
benefit for the movement. The main organiser was CUSAT(Cochin University
of Science and Technology), there is an LDF govt. which supports free
software hence the conference could get support externally. These kind
of conferences are in the interest of Free Software Movement. We in the
movement are trying to rally the support of all political parties.
Tomorrow even other political parties also will be forced to support us,
the movement will have to be built accordingly. Why should we a part of
the community get involved in killing initiatives and attributing them
to the events of political parties. Attributing such things would not
help the movement to grow.  The community watching these kind of
developments will be forced to beleive that these people only want to
subvert the conference. The university authorities will act in their own
discipline if there is some problem that creeps in the course of the
conference. Any man handling is condemned without any second thought.

This conference was not organised by novel or was it the sole sponsorer.
It was one among the many sponsorers. Taking up a campaign which is not
in the top list of FSF campaigns and calling for the boycott novell
protest on the second day of the conference when the entire delegation
was seriously debating the issues concerning just undermines the
conference. This hue and cry rather than helping the movement just
undermines the conference and the movement. This is absolutely not doing
good to the movement. The continuous row on whatever levels(either
personal or official) and spilling over words will just harm the

The energy of the community that should be focussing on more important
issues is being dragged into such debates which will not help in
attending to important issues confronting the movement.

Let us march to the international conference with the spirit of the
conferences held and concentrate more on the priority issues like
patents which is an immediate necessity.

--Kiran Chandra

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