[Fsf-friends] The conference issues and facts

Anivar Aravind anivar.aravind at gmail.com
Wed Nov 19 15:24:57 IST 2008

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM, Kiran Chandra <kiranfsf at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Dear Kiran,

I request you to go through my blog post. Your note seems to have a
lot of misconceptions about the issues happened

> 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 conference of a high magnitude in the history of the
> movement.

Quote From my blog

Since it is organized with the silent support of CPIM (You can
understand it simply by going through schedule) a lot of people from
Employee Unions, Students Unions, teachers Unions etc were
participated in the event. Our intention is to protect these people
being misguided by Novell. Novell was mainly promoting their fork of
OpenOffice 3.0 (after they implemented notorious OOXML support &
forked it after OOO3 moved to  to LGPLv3)& SUSE in their stall. Most
of the participants in the Conference were newbies and Novell is the
only GNU/Linux distro widely promoted in the exhibition. Our protest
is not targeted at Organizers or Novell. It was just a way to spread
awareness on Novell's evil trends through the posters to protect  new
users  being misguided.

>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.

I hope you remember both of us together participated in the awareness
seminar organized by All india lawyers association at Cochin High
court (on 13th evening) and requested   lawyer community to come
forward to take up this issue .

> 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.

Each struggle have different strategies. As I clearly pointed it was
not a protest  against Novell or against Organizers. It was an effort
to target Novell's market. ie. making people aware about Novell's anti
Free Software tactics. I feel this is an important difference between
the protests of New social movements & Traditional movements.  I feel
the lack of free software awareness of some among  the Organizers made
it as a big issue.

>The situp was
> organised infront of the main hall, the posters were being put at all
> parts of the campus.

After the organisors manhandled the peaceful campaigners , a lot of
people came in solidarity and they organized the sit in.

>The actions thus appear to the community that they
> were just not against novell but against the conference.

It clearly shows the lack of understanding of the Organizers. All the
posters was targeted  well with highlighted Boycott Novell message &
Charge sheet against Novell.
The Highlighted message is "Just Say No to MICROVELL " and Billgates
saying " If you want to Use GNU/Linux buy SUSE and get poor Microsoft
will get payed" where you fing the critique to organizers in it?. The
only caluse in the poster linking to the event is "Protest against
platinum sponsor:- The Notorious Novell " . Please see the posters

>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.

I request you to clarify your statement. because you were pointing
fingers at campaigners who raised the concerns of Free software

> Any man handling is condemned without any second thought.

Thanks for condemning manhandling from Organizer side.

> This conference was not organised by novel or was it the sole sponsorer.
> It was one among the many sponsors. 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.

Quoting from my blog

You all are aware of the 2 major campaigns in which Free Software
community in India fought Last 1.5 Years. The Campaign for Document
Freedom and Ongoing Campaign against software patents. Novell was
always opposite to the Free Software Movement's position.

Just quoting from RMS's mail to me

First of all, congratulations on being the first free software activist
to be physically attacked  for a peaceful protest.
This means our movement is gaining in stature ;-).

Free Software movement is not only FSF. It is much larger than that.

Any of us were not representing FSF  in Conference. We all have the
ability to analyse issue and act accordingly.

> 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
> movement.

Why you were separating this campaign from the conference. It was a
corrective measure from free software community and very much part of
this conference itself. But Organizers failed to understand it. But it
is sad when a senior GNUhead repeating same arguments of people
without much free software exposure.

Anyway i feel the protest helped the conference to raise the free
software issues as its concern. I feel Novell cant enter to Indian
free software community anymore again as a result of the awareness
raised by this conference.

> 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.

Totally agree.

> 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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Any responsible politician should be encouraging a home grown Free
Software industry because it creates the basis for future jobs.
Learning Windows is like learning to eat every meal at McDonalds.

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