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

Praveen A pravi.a at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 14:19:54 IST 2008

2008/11/29 Arvind Kumar Chinniah <arvindkumar.c at gmail.com>:

Hey welcome to the Free Software Community!! (may be I have a bad
memory, I don't seem to have seen your mails here earlier)

> 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.

I hope you will learn the difference between copyrights, patents,
trademarks and animal breeders rights so that you won't be embarrassed
to know  you are not talking about animal rights when there is a case
of copyright violation. You might have been thinking about trademarks
as names and logos are protected under trademark law. You could also
claim copyright to the logo but not patents or animal breeders right.
Patents are given for specific ideas and I am not familiar with rights
of animal breeders.

> 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.

May be that was the ethics driving some organizers of the Kochi
conference. How can we let someone criticize our masters.

> 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

It shows a weakness in your ability to follow your ideals,
irrespective of someone's influence.

> 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.

But FSF Boston did not act on the orders from Novell. A key difference
from some of the organizers who were playing flute to please their

> 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?

Because CPI(M) was acting against their own stated policy of
supporting Free Software. it would have been better if these
governments followed policies of their own party. And also the "so
called Free Software mass mobilizers" stop supporting decisions of
their parties against their own stated policies.

> 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.

Can someone outside FSF India ask the same question?

> 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.

Donating money to a temple does not absolve you of robing a bank.

> 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
> undemocratically.

The protest was not organized by FSF India.

> 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

Yeah. It really put the some of the organizes in a bad shape in front
of their master.

> 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

The question here who is rival here in a Free Software conference?

> 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

How innocent the protesters to have believed they would get a red
carpet welcome ina Free Software conference. They should have known
better, how difficult it made the position for some organizers in
front of their master. They would cry when their master raises his
voice or stare his eyes at them.

> 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

How true? Won't the protesters know, Novell would find it irritating
and opposing them?

> 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.

Yeah. It was the protesters mistake to have taken the name of the
conference at its face value. They should have known better the
loyalty of some of the organizers to their master is unquestionable.

> 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

True. Business is Novell. Business is important for Novell, even it
were to mean betraying the community. Community, what is it? Business
is money. Money is business.

> 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.

Yeah. They should have known better. Working with the community for
years did not give them any wisdom that some of the very fresh newbie
organizers have got. You gotta respect your master - who give you
money. When would they learn all these basic tricks?

> - Arvind

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