FOSS & a Free, Open Internet: Synergies for Development

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jun 18, 2016 05:57 PM
Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2015 will be held at Jao Pessoa in Brazil from November 10 to 13, 2015. The theme of IGF 2015 is Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development. Civil Society is organizing a workshop on FOSS and a Free, Open Internet. The workshop will be held on November 13, 2015 from 2.00 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Sunil Abraham and Pranesh Prakash will be speaking at this event.

This was published on the IGF website.

The workshop will explore links between the Free and Open nature of the Internet and the Free and Open Source Software through a series of experience sharing among the speakers as well as audiences. The speakers have been selected on the basis of their wide exposure and geographical and occupational diversity.

As ICTs permeate lives of people around the world, code is fast emerging as an instrument that can change lives. In many parts of the world, the 4Rs of primary education are Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and pRogramming, indicative of the role that ICTs will play in the future.

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is, inter alia, a mechanism whereby code, and consequently the ability to code, is being democratized. In contrast with centralized proprietary models, FOSS allows decentralized creation, distribution and maintenance of code. Such democratization enables grassroots level application of code to solve local problems, leading to more empowered communities. Free flow of code is therefore important to ensure that communities to stay 'plugged in' and current. Code also enables communities to side-step practices such as surveillance, censorship.

A Free, Open, Unfragmented Internet is of critical importance to FOSS--without a free Internet, the FOSS-based peer-production methodologies for code would be infeasible. Interestingly, the Internet also needs the innovations of FOSS to remain free & open, thus forming a positive mutual dependency.

Both FOSS and the Internet are at risk from forces that are seeking increasing control over content and fragmentation, challenging its openness. This would be inimical to the rights of present & future generations to use technology to improve their lives.

The Round-table seeks to highlight perspectives from the participants about the future co-developemnt of FOSS and a free, open Internet; the threats that are emerging; and ways for communities to surmount these.

Name, stakeholder group, and organizational affiliation of workshop proposal co-organizer(s)

Civil Society
Technical Community
Private Sector

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#openInternet #foss #codefordev

Description of the plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

Besides specially identified resource persons, the Roundtable will invite IGF participants who are part of FOSS communities around the world (particularly Brazil, which has a vibrant FOSS community). Participation will include real-time remote participation from FOSS communities around the world, as well as Twitter and email-based submission of ideas and thoughts.

The Round-table format has been chosen for many-to-many interactions so as to generate a wealth of ideas. No speaker shall speak for more than 5 minutes. Two moderators will guide discussions, and a rapporteur will ensure that ideas are captured. The report of the Roundtable would be posted to all participating communities so as to stimulate grassroots-level action.

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of the participants in the proposed workshop

Mr.Satish Babu, Technical Community, Director, International Centre for FOSS, Trivandrum, India, who shall provide technical inputs of FOSS and its relevance, particularly to emerging economies, Confirmed

Ms. Judy Okite, Civil Society, FOSS Foundation for Africa, is an experienced activist who has been promoting the use of FOSS in Africa. Seeking funding at present.

Ms. Mishi Choudhary, Private Sector, Software Freedom Law Centre, New York, is a lawyer working with FOSS and its legal implications for over two decades. Confirmed

Mr. Fernando Botelho, Private Sector, heads F123 Systems, Brazil, a FOSS-centric company that provides accessibility solutions to visually impaired people. Confirmed

Mr. Sunil Abraham, Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bangalore, a civil society organization working on Internet and public policy. Confirmed

Mr. Pranesh Prakash, Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bangalore, a civil society organization working on Internet and public policy. Confirmed

Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma- WWW.Foundation, a Civil Society organization working in Africa on a broad range of areas including FOSS. Confirmed

Mr. Yves MIEZAN EZO, Open Source strategy consultant, Private Sector. Seeking funding for participation.

Mr. Harish Pillay, Private Sector, RedHat Asia-Pacific. Seeking funding for participation.

Corinto Meffe, Advisor to the President and Directors, SERPRO, Brazil. Confirmed

Frank Coelho de Alcantara, Professor, Universidade Positivo, Brazil, Confirmed

Ms. Caroline Burle, Institutional and International Relations, W3C Brazil Office and Center of Studies on Web Technologies - (a initiative). Confirmed

Name of in-person Moderator(s)

Satish Babu, Mishi Choudhary

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Judy Okite

Name of Rapporteur(s)

Pranesh Prakash

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

Besides around 30 persons at the IGF, we will be providing wide publicity for the workshop through FOSS communities and networks. Besides live audio/video participation, Twitter shall be a key resource for real-time participation. There shall be a Twitter co-ordinator identified whose role will be to tweet the salient points at the Roundtable periodically for the benefit of documenting and informing interested communities.

For those that have either technical difficulties or time-zone problems, ideas and comments can be submitted by email before the workshop to the moderators.