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

Arvind Kumar Chinniah arvindkumar.c at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 12:41:04 IST 2008

Now the cat is out of bag. It is clear from the statement from Board of
directors that the on going battle against the Kochi conference got the
covert and overt blessing from the whole board of FSF though some of them
participating in the conference. The name Free Software Foundation (FSF) and
its emblem, the wheel symbol might have be patented by FSF in any of Indian
Patent office if not in US and the ban imposed by FSF, not to use the name
FSF is understandable but the FSF cannot extend its territory to impose a
ban on others not to use the term Free Software.

The point no 11 state that the FSF India is willing to accept monetary or
other support from any source so long as it comes without any strings
attached and FSF India reserves the right to criticize any organization
that, according to it, acts against the interests of the Free Software
movement, irrespective of whether they have been supporting FSF India in any
manner. This policy itself is flawed. When you get the fund from an
organization and got the right to criticize it, what kind of ethics it is.
Ethics courses conducted in many universities clearly guide that the way to
handle such kind of conflict of interest is not to get fund from the donor
who is about to be criticized. However you may come out with a theory that
the money the donor earned was from the knowledge of the people who are
working with them which is supposed to be in public domain.  I understand
that, based on the above policy, FSF, Boston has accepted fund from the same
Novell.  If you apply the same policy to the organizers of Kochi conference,
you have no ground to oppose the organisers who got fund from Novell. I want
to ask the question from you whether any such protest was organized by FSF
Boston after getting fund from Novell.

The point no. 5 state that it is opposing the policies of CPI(M) led
government IKM supported propriety software in Kerala. Before registering
such protest with the CPI(M) government, did you ask them what constraints
they have in implementing free software in their activities or why do they
support IKM supported propriety software? Did you register such protest with
all other state governments who are supporting propriety software? Why do
you choose CPI(M) led governments alone?

The point no. 11 clearly states that the FSF governing body is not a
democratic body and it will nominate a person into the body like a guru
anoints his shisya as in Sankara Mutt. When you don't follow any democratic
norms, what point you have against the organisers of the Kochi conference to
state that the authorities stopped the protesters in an authoritarian and
undemocratic manner as mentioned in point 9.

The point no 6 states that FSF doesn't have campaign against Novell which
implies that it is nothing to do with the boycott Novell campaign at Kochi
conference. You say Novell is contributing to Free software but many of the
Novell's action put the free software community's and the user's freedom at
risk. It implies that Novel is very good as they are contributing to free
software but some of their actions embarrass the free software community.
This position eliminates your option of boycott Novel campaign. The only
option left before you is to talk to Novell as they are your fellow traveler
according to your statement and advise them not to embarrass the free
software community. Then why do you poke your nose with the boycott novel
organized by somebody who doesn't have any connection with FSF like FSF-TN
or the organisers of Kochi conference and state that it was stopped

Did you think the way the protesters did their job is legitimate? What right
they have to deface exhibit material displayed by the organisers. It is like
defacing the billboards of shops which was not written in Marathi by Raj
Thakery's Navnirman Sena. It is common occurrence that many times violence
took place in many places of our country when a political party pasted a
poster over which the rival political party pastes another poster. The
organisers approach the CUSAT authorities and got due permission from them
to conduct the conference explaining the details of the activities they are
going to have in the conference. If the protesters want to have some
activities inside CUSAT, they should have approached the CUSAT authorities
and got due permission to carry out their Boycott Novell campaign, whatever
it may be like pasting posters or handbills or protest demonstration. If I
be in a position of CUSAT authorities, I would not allow two activities
simultaneously took place in my campus which are opposite in nature and this
is what it was precisely done by CUSAT authorities. How does it be called
undemocratic? When you have difference with the organisers, the way it was
conducted you have no right to disturb their activities, you can organise
your protest action at some other place.

When you say that FSF is not a mass movement, what business you have with
the organizers of Koch conference who wish to take free software to mass
level? You got irked by the success of the organisers who could able to
organise a huge mass and felt that the free software is your private
property and was stolen by the organisers, and instigated a section of
people to organise the protest Novell Campaign which is a knee jerk reaction
on the part of FSF.

- Arvind

--- On *Fri, 11/28/08, Arun M <arun at gnu.org.in>* wrote:

From: Arun M <arun at gnu.org.in>
Subject: [Fsf-friends] Statement of FSF India board on recent incidents
To: "fsf-friends" <fsf-friends at mm.gnu.org.in>
Date: Friday, November 28, 2008, 8:39 PM

Dear Friends

Please find FSF India's statement on recent developments.


I hope this addresses some, if not all, the questions.
More documents will be published in the coming days.


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