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Meeting for FOSS Advocacy Coalition

by Sanchia de Souza last modified Feb 18, 2009 01:33 PM
A half-day meeting to discuss a FOSS advocacy coalition and items for immediate action

Event details


Feb 22, 2009
from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM


The Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore

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The Centre for Internet and Society, on behalf of Anivar Aravind, Gurumurthy K, Renuka Prasad, Sunil Abraham, and Vinay Sreenivasa, invites you to a half-day meeting to discuss a FOSS advocacy coalition and items for immediate action by such a coalition.

Many of us have been advocating for several years the adoption of FOSS applications and platforms, and FOSS related advocacy has been gathering momentum. Last year, we had advocacy processes relating to software patents and the OOXML debate, apart from RMS and Eben Moglen visiting various places in India sharing their views on FOSS.

Yet we do have a long way to go before FOSS is widely used in India. We believe that bringing together different groups of actors (who believe in the principles of Free Software), including academic institutions, NGOs and CBOs, research and advocacy groups, professional associations, and FOSS enterprises providing services in different areas as development, training, support and maintenance, will help in supporting and cohering a positive discourse in favour of FOSS.

Some of us feel that a loose national coalition of such individuals/organisations and associations should be formed to work towards the widespread adoption and promotion of FOSS. Such a network of organisations working along a broad consensus on promoting FOSS will provide stronger and more effective responses to events relating to FOSS and initiate more proactive actions than  individuals or institutions acting in isolation. 



The proposed agenda for the meeting is a discussion as follows: 

  • Formation of a national coalition of organisations advocating for FOSS

The goals, scope, priorities, approaches, structures, issues/risks, alternatives, resources for such a coalition, name of the coalition, etc, will be discussed.

  •  Working with government departments and public sector units advocating them to adopt and promote FOSS

When we speak individually to any of our contacts/departments in the government, the impact may not be significant. However, if we send collective representations to departments such as the e-Governance, IT, Education, and RDPR departments, and seek meetings to explain the issue and the advantages of FOSS, it would help and motivate them to look at the issue in depth.

  • FOSS initiatives in the country, including the Gujarat ICT in schools program

Many state governments across India are in different stages of adoptiong FOSS, and we can share our understanding and views on the current situation. The Gujarat government, for instance, is implementing a 500-crore ICT plan in school education program but have not yet taken a final decision on whether to use FOSS. There are also plans for a FOSS workshop in Delhi, to which different groups, including political parties and government officials could be exposed to discussions of the advantages of adopting and promoting FOSS.

  • FOSS initiatives in Karnataka

There are also some initiatives in Karnataka for which we can work together to help in the adoption of FOSS. We have an informal request for a proposal for a pilot project to train government staff and vendor staff in Bangalore on the GNU/Linux platform that has been chosen for the ICT in schools program. We also need to work on the issue of using Nudi on FOSS. A serious impediment to getting the government to use FOSS is that Nudi works only on MS Windows and not on FOSS distributions. Lastly, we should explore what could be done to help VTU adopt FOSS over proprietary technologies. Engineering colleges adopting FOSS will have a significant impact on the creation of the FOSS ecosystem in the state.

We can also discuss other means and methods for the promotion of FOSS.

Please email in your suggestions and ideas on the agenda for the meeting. If you are interested in participating in the coalition, but are unable to attend the meeting, please do let us know.

Date and Time

Sunday, 22 February, 2009; 3.00-6.00 pm


Centre for Internet and Society, No. D2, 3rd Floor, Sheriff Chambers, 14, Cunningham Road, Bangalore - 560052


For a map, please click here.