[Fsf-friends] Statement of FSF India board on recent incidents

V. Sasi Kumar sasi.fsf at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 12:20:04 IST 2008

On Sun, 2008-11-30 at 10:34 +0530, vijay reddy wrote:

> > >>I am sorry, but I don't understand why it is shocking. Is something
> > >>seriously wrong with it?
>  "FSF India does not have any plan to form local chapters. FSF India
> is not a mass based organisation."
> Dont you think this one statement in itself is shocking.Being the
> leaders of the movemet/organisation you all should be guiding it
> rather than sabotaging it with this sort of a stand.

I am not a perfect human being, and, maybe, my brain does not understand
certain things. That is why I raised the question of why it is shocking,
why it is wrong. Why don't you please answer the question?

> Many enthusiasts
> like me work in this movement and try to bridge the digital divide and
> take technology (free softwares) to the people(masses). Reading the
> above statement shocked me. And also that FSF India does not have any
> plans to form local chapters. If FSF can start local bodies like FSF
> I, then FSF I should also start local chapters, whats stopping and
> more importantly why stopping??

I am sorry, there is a big difference between FSFI and local chapters.
FSFI was needed to handle matters that arise in India, which FSF cannot
handle from Boston. But issues are largely similar in different parts of
India, since it is, in general, the Government of India's policy that
matters. That is not the case in Europe, for example, where FSF Europe
has members from many countries. There are certainly local issues in
India. That is why we work with FSUGs and GLUGs. And this arrangement
has worked very well. But, if there is a strong reason for starting
local chapters, we can certainly think about it. Otherwise, I see no
reason to start such chapters when FSUGs and GLUGs are doing a good job.

> > >>This also is not clear to me. How is FSF India trying to divide the
> > >>existing committee? What committee, as a matter of fact?
>      Well it was a typo. It should be community and not committee.
> Don't you think that adapting this sort of an approach will divide the
> community. If you dont think so, then going through the works of RMS
> and Eben Moglen would facilitate in the thinking process and help in
> understanding why I felt so.

My question remains, even if you meant "community". How is FSF India trying 
to divide the community? It would be good if you can be more specific. For 
instance, what is the approach that is dividing the community?  For your 
information, FSF India works closely with RMS and we do take his advice on a 
lot of matters. Maybe my thinking process is not working well. Can you 
please explain a little more clearly?

>              People who have worked in taking the Free Software
> Philosophy ,paradigm and technologies to the people would better
> understand why this sort of approach kills the movement.

I admit that I have not been able to work as closely as I would like to take 
the ideals of Free Software to the people. If you feel that you have done so,
would you kindly explain what is the approach that is killing the
movement and how it is killing? I have been associated with FSF India
for the last few years and I have not seen this death happening. On the
other hand, I see the movement growing. Maybe my lack of intelligence,
but would you please be kind enough to enlighten me?

> > >>And we already have FSUGs and GLUGs that are very active. What is the
> > >>point in setting up another organisation?
>                           I have neither asked nor mentioned anywhere
> to set up another organisation. What i have asked is why take a stand
> on not setting up of local chapters?

When there are FSUGs, GLUGs, ILUGs, and so on that are co-operating with
FSF India and doing a great job, won't that be sufficient? I don't
understand how it becomes different if an FSFI chapter is also set up in
these places. Won't it be the same people who will have to work there
also? Maybe, being not very intelligent, I am not able to understand.

> I think there is a lot of
> difference in setting up another organisation and setting up of local
> chapters of an existing organisation (or company; use the appropriate
> term as per rules/regulations).

Fine. But that still does not answer my question above. Bangalore, for
instance, has a very active FSUG. How is establishing an FSFI chapter
there going to benefit the movement? As I see it, it could, in fact,
dampen the activity because the very same people will have to look after
both, FSUG and FSFI chapter.

>              Constitution reflects the objectives we work for. How is
> it that the constitution says one thing but the objectives of the very
> organisation that follows the same constitution be different. This is
> hypocrisy to the core.

I think there is a difference between the "constitution" (a document) of
an organisation and the "constitution" of a body such as the Board (how
the body is constituted). I meant the latter, and not the former.

>                                    Well i totally accept your point
> that one of the major objective of FSF-I is to advocate Free Software
> and its Philosophy, and i firmly belive in the same. Thats the very
> reason why i am shocked by the stand taken by the people who are
> supposed to be the leaders. I would like to know, is it possible to
> advocate the same in a vast country without having local chapters?

I think this has been happening for several years now. But if there are
some new developments that makes it imperative to have local chapters,
we can certainly think about it. But I feel that, as I said earlier,
FSUGs, GLUGs, etc. are doing a wonderful job in this matter, and I don't
see how an additional body can help.

>            Well if it is not a democratic organisation, then the way
> in which the board framed the responses and the way in which i acts
> and would act can not be democratic either.Since you have mentioned
> that it is not democratic, there is no point in discussion,as per your
> anti-democratic stand. Hence,i feel, it is aristocratic.

I think democracy is needed where people are ruled over by a body like a
government. It could also be a co-operative society kind of organisation
where a body takes decisions based on people's aspirations. FSF or FSF
India are not organisations like that. Here no one is ruling over
anyone. No one is running an organisation that is expected to meet
people's aspirations. FSF was meant to advocate Free Software, and FSFI
also does the same. FSFI works closely with RMS so that his guidance is
always there to correct us if we make mistakes in the ideology. There we
cannot be democratic and preach what the majority wants. That would
simply dilute the ideology.

V. Sasi Kumar
Free Software Foundation of India

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