Computing Freedom in Engineering and Technology Seminar

A one day seminar on 'Computing Freedom in Engineering and Technology' was held in the UGC Staff college auditorium on the 26th of September 2010. This event is in sequel to the call given by Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) to celebrate Software Freedom Fortnight from 15th Sept (birth anniversary of the father of Indian Engineering, Mokshagundam Visweswarayya) to 2nd Oct (Gandhi Jayanthi).

The 'Computing Freedom' seminar was aimed at emphasising on how Free Software can be used in academics and the speakers stressed on the need to strengthen the learning process which could be done only through Free Software as it is possible to look at the source code and make modifications to it. Collaborative effort of the academicians resulted in the release of a lab manual for Qucs (Electronic Circuit Analysis based on Free Software).

The manual was electronically and physically released by Prof KS Rajan of IIITH. It was decided to hold workshops/seminars/symposiums/guest talks in the run up for the National Conference of Academicians in Free Software. To begin with the first workshop will be held in the third week of october in the vicinity of JNTU Kakinada.

More participants showed interest and volunteered to create lab manuals, Wiki content, development of content in local languages and to support localization projects. Academicians who are volunteers of Swecha demonstrated the use of Free Software in laboratories and setting up of FOSS labs using e-swehca. Discussions were held to chalk out programmes to implement the usage of Free Software in Programming languagues, Web technologies, mathematical computing and embedded systems.

The seminar was held in collaboration with Swecha, the UGC Academic  Staff College and the ECE department of JNTU. The event was chaired by Prof. L. Pratap Reddy (Professor ECE department, Chairman Board of Studies, ECE) and among the distinguished guests were Prof.K.S.Rajan from IIIT and Mr. Bhuvan Krishna, General Secretary of Swecha. It was a large spectrum of academicians from various Engineering colleges, software professionals working in IT companies like AT&T, HAL, TCS, Wipro, Infosys, passionate students and researchers.

Prof.K.S.Rajan (IIIT) while delivering the key note address on Patent Policies and their hindrance to the development of science said academicians should have quest for knowledge and their objective should be to induce the same quest in their students. He also said that open models encourage learning in which Free Software plays a major role. Mr. Bhuvan Krishna (General Secretary, Swecha) walked the audience through the milestones in the world of Free Software covered by Swecha. Mr. Siddhartha (Secretary, Swecha) spoke on the importance of GNU philosophy.