[ILUG-BOM] Free Software Movement Maharashtra - Outcome of preparatory meeting

Vikram Vincent vincentvikram at gmail.com
Mon May 6 14:52:12 EDT 2013

Free Software Movement Maharashtra - Outcome of preparatory meeting

The preparatory meeting for formation of 'Free Software Movement
Maharashtra' was a success. The meeting was held at the Indian
Institute of Technology Bombay on 4th May 2013. 44 people participated
in it.

The agenda of the meeting was:

1. Discussion on the importance free software and knowledge as a commons
2. Discussion about the need for a movement in the free software domain
3. Forming an organising team to take forward activities in Maharashtra
4. Listing and approving of action items for the next few months

The participants were welcomed by Vikram Vincent, Member, General
Council, FSMI and Prof. Puru Kulkarni moderated the session.

Prof. Kannan Moudgalya inaugurated the first agenda point by talking
about the FOSS initiatives at IITB and the efforts to connect with the
teachers and students from all over the country.  Prof. D.B. Phatak
explained about the role of Aakash and the need for large scale
efforts to localise knowledge. He raised several points of importance,
two of which are the need to create strong business ecosystems in the
FOSS domain and the need for the end users to have the freedom to
choose the products and services they want.  Dr. T. Jayaraman of TISS
highlighted the efforts of TISS in opening up knowledge and the
challenges that arise out of such initiatives. He extended support
both from himself personally and also of his colleagues at TISS for
furthering the free software movement. Dr. Vivek Monteiro spoke a few
words on the universalisation of knowledge. Venkatesh Hariharan of
Knowledge Commons intervened in the discussions and provided the
theoretical framework for knowledge as a commons. Kiran Chandra,
General Secretary of FSMI, detailed the need for a strong people’s
movement in the free software domain. He emphasised on the guiding
principles of FSMI which allowed it to take up issues of human concern
and society.

The recent mandate of AICTE (to all its institutes) to implement Microsoft's
Office365 suite of collaboration tools was discussed.
A link to AICTE's announcement is here:

Kiran Chandra pointed out FSMI's response to this, which is available at the
following link:

The possible effects of the implementation of the mandate to use
Office 365 were discussed and there was unanimous agreement towards
demanding reasons for the same from AICTE, through legal means and
using RTIs etc., along with an agreement to oppose such an initiative.

The meeting then called for volunteers to form a core team who would drive the
activities for the next few months towards initiating the Free
Software Movement Maharashtra. A team of 18 members was created, and
Dr. Puru and Vikram will coordinate the same.  The members of the
organising team are Dr. T. Jayaraman, Mrunmayee Tayade, Rajesh Kumar,
Nikita Belavate, Rahul Maganti, Deepak Pacha, Arun Khan, Siji Sunny,
Kiran Eranki, Prof. Shishir Jha, Dinesh Jain, Rahul Muttu, Pradeep
Mohandas, Krutikaa Jawanjal, Karthik Nadar, one for ERP-next. The
meeting had representation from several organisations such as IITB,
TISS, FSMI, Wikipedia, Knowledge Commons, DA-IICT, ILUG-BOM, Somaiya
and other colleges.

The ‘Free Software Movement Maharashtra' with the domain name of
http://fsmm.in was declared functional.

The following points were chosen as action points in near future:
1. FOSS sessions in colleges and schools
2. GNOME Marathi popularisation and supporting respective groups
already working in this domain.
3. Office 365
4. Any other that may be feasible as and when opportunity arises.

Photographs of the meeting. Courtesy of Venky

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