Software Freedom Day 2005

Software Freedom Day Celebration calls for the decolonisation of Indian minds from Proprietary Software

Commemerating the 136th birth anniversary of Mahatma FSF India AP Chapter celebrated the Software Freedom Day. As a part of the worldwide activity to celebrate freedom in software development, Free Software Foundation of India has organised a seminar on "Free Software and India". The seminar aimed at spreading the spirit of Free Software among young minds at Engineering collges throughout the state.

Kiran Chandra, Convenor FSF India, A.P. chapter presided over the event. Prof. D.N. Reddy, Pricipal, Osmania University College of Engineering was the chief guest. Arun, Secretary of FSF India and Dr.Ravi Kumar, Director of Geodata Division, Geographical Survey of India were the other speakers. There was a technical session on "Power of GNU/Linux" with the aim of showing Free Software alternatives to proprietory software that we use everyday. Prof. Reddy noted that the availability of source code in Free Software has a potential to greatly impact the learning of technology in engineering colleges. He also listed the four primary freedoms that are the objective of Free Software in letting the user use, modify and redistribute software in any way desired. Arun noted the similarity between the East India companies set up by foreign countries long back and the current proprietary software companies that are a threat to our freedom. He described the proprietary software model as people keeping knowledge to themselves and building walls around themselves which hinders the advancement of science and technology in a knowledge society. Dr. Ravikumar told us how GRASS, a Free Software Geographical Information System, is creating a revolution at the Geographical Survey of India. It is zero costs and much superior alternative to proprietary GIS system that they were using earlier. He also mentioned that GIS software can be used as a key to solving problems and regulating the production of various crops.

A Software Freedom Campaign rally started at 9:35 AM from the University of Hyderabad, Gachibowli and touched the premier institutions like IIIT,JNTU and reached OU College of Engineering at 11.30 AM. The Freedom Campaign Flag was received by two children stating that the Freedom Campaign will continue as and long there is life existing on earth. The Freedom Campaign rally was led by M.Naveen the core member of FSF AP.

An Oath was taken up by the one thousand participants. The pledged to take forward the freedom campaign and shall strive for a world with clear stream of reason breaking the narrow domestic walls that curtail this freedom. The pledge was taken from Rabindranath Tagores greatest work Geetanjali. Stalls were arranged for the participants, and they were demonstrated Free Software that could replace the currently being used proprietary software. Seven stalls covering common learning tools used by engineering students were setup. They include compilers like GCC,G++ integrated development environments like KDevelop, Anjuta, Eclipse , 3D modelling and animation tools like blender, installation of GNU/Linux operating system etc.

This seminar was attended by one thousand engineering college students from all over the state. FSF AP core members co- ordinated the activity and GNU/Linux Osmania University Campus Club.