NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FREE SOFTWARE
CUSAT CAMPUS, KOCHI UNIVERSITY PO, KOCHI-682022
A National Conference on FREE SOFTWARE is being held on the 15th & 16th of November, 2008 at the campus of Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi. The 2007 Conference was held in Hyderabad
Say Yes to IT
Information Technology (IT) has revolutionised the way people communicate and enterprises run their business. Internet has provided yet another space, the cyber space, facilitating people round the globe to organise themselves in newer forms. There is no debate that our country, its people and institutions need this technology for its progress.
Software is an important component of an IT application, if not the most important. Software remained in the public domain till nineteen eighties. In the eighties, it was taken over by business interests and is now a private property with Intellectual Property Right (IPR) restrictions. The impact of patents and copyrights which are various forms of IPR are basically two fold. On the one hand it has restricted the transfer and growth of knowledge in society through monopolisation, while on the other hand it has resulted in the siphoning of wealth from the brick and mortar economy to the cyber economy at alarming proportions.
Free Software Movement
The software professionals all over the world responded to this monopolisation by launching the FREE SOFTWARE movement and by legitimating General Public License (GPL) laws. The word Free relates to FREEDOM IN SOFTWARE. Software developed and distributed as per GPL laws ensures freedom to use, learn, modify, copy and distribute. Software development became a community effort. Individuals, social institutions and commercial enterprises are contributing to this effort. It has been an eventful journey for the FREE SOFTWARE movement, a tough one driven by self belief. What was perceived as an egalitarian and romantic concept slowly snowballed into a reality as GNU/LINUX took over the major space in the Information Technology Infrastructure domain in the global arena. Questions of user-friendliness were raised when it came to Application domain. The software professionals in Kerala have collaborated well with the global community to overcome these challenges.
Respond to the Political Will
What remained was the confidence of the political community and the administrators. TheState Government of Kerala broke the ice with a visionary IT Policy which advocates the use of Free Software in Government offices and undertakings. As we turn into a user of IT it is necessary that we are not hijacked of our infrastructure and knowledge. FREE SOFTWARE embodies our freedom and self-reliance.
Now the challenge is how quick and best the society imbibes and embraces this movement. We need to put in place the Human Resource and Delivery Channels.
The Conference will be a milestone in the history of the Free Software movement in India. The event will comprise of
INAUGURAL & PLENARY SESSIONS
DEMONSTRATION OF PRODUCTS & TOOLS
The Conference will be inaugurated by the Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri V.S. Achuthanandan and will be blessed by leaders of the Legislative Assembly and State and Central Ministers. The Conference will hear nearly 150 experts from the social, technological, industrial and educational domain. The Conference will debate nearly 50 topics of relevance. Activists working in free software and other philosophically related domains will deliberate in Open forums. Developers, Service providers & Users will demonstrate products and services. Educational Institutions will participate in exhibitions and contests. Souvenir will be a treasure in the archives. Cultural programmes will show case Kerala’s rich heritage to delegates from outside Kerala.
Nearly 1500 persons will participate in the 2 day deliberations. General public participation is expected to be close to 3000.
The dynamics of Free Software is multi-fold. It is academic, commercial, social and policy driven. The Conference will do justice to each of these streams as the Organisers of the Conference represent each of these streams. The prime organiser of the Conference is Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) which is the only University in the State dedicated to Science & Technology in toto. Open Software Solutions Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd owns one of the largest client base in Kerala in the Free Software sector. Appropriate Technology Promotion Society is a social organisation registered under Charitable Societies Act which has been functioning for the demystification of IT through publications and workshops. IT@School personifies a committed State policy and has drawn wide appreciation world wide for use of Free Software in education.
There is an organising committee which is a broader platform of individuals representing all walks of life. The committee is blessed with the presence of Retired Justice Sri V.R. Krishnaiyer as the Chief Patron. Sri Dinesh Mani, MLA is the Chairman and Sri Joy Job Kulaveli, Syndicate member, CUSAT is the General Convenor.
The Conference will be a preparatory ground towards establishing a Centre of Excellencein Free Software in Kochi.
Join the Movement
The Conference assures you a 2 day extravaganza of knowledge, partnership and motivation. Be a part of it.
For and On behalf of the Organising Committee.
You can get more details regarding this from http://nfm2008.atps.in