Swecha 1st State Conference

 

Swecha held its first State Conference on 7th March 2010. After a journey of more than 5 years, its a giant leap for the Free Software movement in Andhra Pradesh.

What started as a project to localize GNU/Linux to Telugu for the local communities, has now become a fast paced movement that is spearheading the new generation into a world of freedom. The journey so far has been one of the most exciting stories in the history of the Free Software Movement around the world.

The State Conference was the first organizational leap for the movement which was being organized in various different ways at different points in time. Today, the team has grown from a handful to more than 150 individuals working towards common objectives across the state.

Inauguration:

The first State Conference of Swecha was held in VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering Technology which houses vGlug, one of the most active glugs under the Swecha umbrella. The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Mr. M. Venkata Rao, who is heading the Portals and Consumer Marketing at Sify. He has been keenly following the progress of the movement since the early days. Here are a few highlights from his Inauguration speech:

  • “Free Software has become part of our life, either directly or indirectly.”

  • “Today, the significance of Free Software has turned from the cost perspective to the anti-proprietary struggle”

  • “Corporates consume a lot of Free Software but rarely do we find them giving back to the community”

  • “Indian Government should use Free Software to avoid paying taxpayers' money for procuring costly proprietary software”

  • “Students should evolve into 'Social Entrepreneurs' using Free Software. This would make way for innovation and indigenous development, thus driving inclusive Economic growth and channeling money into India itself.”

Keynote Address by Prof. K.S. Rajan:

The keynote speaker for the conference was Prof. K. S. Rajan from the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. He has been into academic research in the field of GIS and has been associated with Swecha since the first workshop held at IIIT Hyderabad. He gave his insights about Free Software and the academic angle of it from his own experiences as a teacher, researcher and Free Software evangelist. Here are a few excerpts:

  • “Education today has become more tool-centric than concept centric”

  • “One cannot remain number one by looking back at number 2”

  • “Innovation doesn't come by compromising, it comes from challenging the existing”

Activity Report by Prof. Pratap Reddy:

The former General Secretary of Swecha, Prof. L. Pratap Reddy presented a report of all the activities taken up by Swecha so far. The important milestones are listed below:

  • February 2005 – First Release of Swecha

  • September 2006 – 'The Sprint' (Translation Marathon)

  • October 2006 – Software Freedom Day with slogan “Weave our own code”

  • March 2007 – First National Convention on Free Software.

  • May 2008 – 15 day workshop for 570 students in 4 parallel venues

  • October 2008 – Release of 'e-Swecha' distribution

  • “25 Years of GNU” celebrations

  • 2009 – 30 day workshop for 60 students

  • December 2009 – Release of “Bala Swecha” for school students and teachers

  • Workshop for DTP operators in Khammam after raids from “Anu Fonts”

Election of Advisory Board of Swecha:

The conference democratically elected the Advisory Board for Swecha which was proposed to constitute the following distinguished members:

  • Mr. Swarnam Subba Rao (Deputy General, Survey of India)

  • Mr. M. Venkata Rao (Head of Portals and Consumer Marketing, Sify)

  • Prof. K. S. Rajan (Researcher, Faculty at IIIT Hyderabad)

Executive Committee of Swecha:

The following people were elected to the Executive Committee:

  • Dr. Ravikumar

  • Y. Kiranchandra

  • Dr. Pratap Reddy

  • Mr. Vijay Kanda

  • Mr. Sridhar

  • Mr. Siddhartha

  • Mr. Deepthi

  • Mr. Bhuvan Krishna

  • Mr. Naresh Bojja

  • Mr. Sarath M S

  • Mr. Arjun

  • Dr. Vishnu

  • Mr. Medhamsh

  • Mr. Narsimha Rao

  • Mr. Ramesh

  • Dr. A. Vinay Babu

  • Mr. Sasi Bhushan

  • Mrs. Radhika

  • Mr. Badri Ramaraju

  • Mr. Rangababu

  • Mrs. Madhavi

  • Mr. Apparao Naidu

  • Mr. Vijaypal

  • Mr. Swamydas

  • Mr. Siva

  • Mr. Kiran Kumar

  • Mr. Nagarajan

  • Mr. Sandeep

  • Mr. Srujan

  • Mr. Harikrishna

  • Ms. Poornima

  • Mr. G. Narasimha Rao

  • Co-option from Computer Teachers front

Election of Office Bearers of Swecha:

The elected executive committee met to elect the Office Bearers who would be leading the organization until the next State Conference. The election was held unanimously and the body was formed as:

  • Mr. Ravi Kumar Honorary Chairman

  • Mr. Kiran Chandra Chairman

  • Mr. Pratap Reddy Working Chairman

  • Mr. Vijay Kanda Vice President

  • Mr. Sridhar Vice President

  • Mr. Siddhartha Vice President

  • Ms. Deepthi Vice President

  • Mr. Bhuvan Krishna General Secretary

  • Mr. Naresh Bojja Secretary

  • Mr. Sarath M S Secretary

  • Mr. Arjun Secretary

  • Mr. Vishnu Secretary

  • Mr. Medhamsh Secretary

  • Mr. Narsimha Rao Secretary

  • Mr. Ramesh Treasurer

The Swecha Fabric:

To achieve the goals set forth by the conference, the organization had to be woven in a fashion that it could focus on the different areas in which there is need for intervention and action. The executive committee decided to form the following 'verticals' within Swecha for better coordination and focused approach to move ahead.

  • Student Chapter

  • Academic Chapter

  • Overseas Chapter

  • Industry Workgroup

  • Policy Board Workgroup

  • Resource Pool Workgroup

  • Projects Workgroup

  • Social Interventions Workgroup

  • Footprints Workgroup

  • Magazine Workgroup