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Kochi conference communication


Sri Joseph Thomas
amra 36,
Automobile Road,
Kochi - 682025

Dear Sri Thomas,

Some of our members have received invitations from you for participating
in preparatory committee meeting at Kochi on 18th for organising the
National Conference on Free Software. In the letter, you have described
this as the second National Conference on Free Software, the first being
the one held in Hyderabad in 2007 jointly organised by FSF India and
Swecha. As such, we would like to point out that a third organisation
that was not even involved in organising the first conference cannot
appropriate to itself the right to organise the second of the series
without even consulting any of the organisers of the first conference.
To say the least, this is highly unethical. We, therefore, strongly
object to your organising a conference on Free Software and calling it
the second one of a series originally organised by FSF India. We urge
you to stop calling your conference the "Second National Conference on
Free and Open Source Software.

for Free Software Foundation of India

Arun M


From: thomas joseph <>


Date: Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Subject: Re: Second National Conference in Kochi

To: Arun M <




Dear Sri. Arun,

I am in receipt of your objection to the use of the name "Second National Conference on
Free and Open Source Software" for the proposed Free and Open Source (We call it SWATHANTHRA SOFTWARE) meet at Kochi.

While acknowledging and appreciating the invaluable contribution of FSF of Mr. Richard Stallman & his associates towards freeing the software, the knowledge and the humanity of the constraints imposed on software, I may be permitted to point out that the attitude reflected in your letter is that of monopolisation which go against the ideals for which FSF stands and hence the objection may be reviewed.

Secondly, the basic premises with which the objection is raised, that this meet is named as "Second National Conference on Free and Open Source Software" without the permission of the organisers of the 1st meet is factually wrong.

We have not received any objection from SWECHA, Dept. of History University of Hyderabad or the community of Free Software enthusiasts who organised the 1st conference at Hyderabad in 2007. May be the FSF members would have actively associated with it. But that does not mean that the FSF India, on whose behalf the objection is raised, has conducted that event. The only announcement made in the mailing list in fsf friends at

mentions that


   Free software activist in Andhra Pradesh is organising a convention
on free software
on 3rd and 4th of March. Event is supported by FSF India. We welcome
all the Free Software activists to the event. For more information see
the link below.



At no place it is mentioned that FSF India is organising it or FSF India activists are organising it. FSF India was supporting it. We are requesting the same and want FSF India to be supportive of this event and ensure the event a success. To say the least, FSF has got no monopoly right to claim to be the organisers of Hyderabad event. Therefore, you are requested to withdraw the allegation that this conference is being conducted without the permission from the FSF India.

Under the circumstances, I am also to request you and the FSF India chapter, which you represent, to refrain from claiming the monopoly right to discuss and act on SOFTWARE FREEDOM which is the real spirit behind FREE SOFTWARE movement. Such claims of monopoly goes against the spirit with which FSF was founded and gave you permission for intituting the India chapter. It is worth pondering the fact that now your objection relates only to the use "Second" by the organisers of Kochi meet. You, yourself, do not have a claim that it is not the second or that you have organised many such events under the banner of FSF in India during past 8 years of existence of FSF, which itself justifies the initiative taken by the Hyderabad Free Software Community in 2007 and now by us in Kochi.

And, finally, I assure you that we had no intention to, and we will not, undermine the importance of FSF India or the cause for which it stands and that we will not claim to be FSF India chapter. This, exactly was why we have informed you of the proposal for this event by forwarding the notice for the organising committee formation meeting itself on 14-09-2008. As requested therein, you and the organisation your represent, FSF India, are requested once again to please co-operate and associate with this proposed event in Kochi in the month of November in the true spirit of FSF and in fulfillment of the ideals for which FSF stands.

Thanking you

With warm greetings

Joseph Thomas

For and On behalf of preparatory committee.



From: Arun M <>
Date: Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 8:32 AM
Subject: Conference in Kochi
Cc: K Anvar Sadath <>, "" <>

Dear Joseph Thomas,

  Thank you for your reply and clarifications. I would like to
inform you that our objection was not on the name you have used for
the conference. Sorry if I was not clear on that regard. Let me
clarify that.

In your mail circulating in many mailing lists in Kerala, it is said
that the event being organized in Kochi, is second edition of
conference that was organized by FSF India. I wish you would not have
questioned the role FSF India played in the Hyderabad event after you,
yourself have acknowledged our role in Hydrabad event. If you search
the Internet you can see that all news reports and articles clearly
identify FSF India as main organizer of the event.

FSF India is a very small organization we always collaborate with
activists in local community and other organizations to organize free
software related events. In our e-mail, we have requested you to
correct the mistakes in the announcement. If you had contacted us
before making the public statement the factual errors in your
statements (Eg: RMS did not participate in Hyderabad convention, your
statement says otherwise) and this confusion could have been avoided.

FSF India does not believe that we have a monopoly to speak about free
software. We actually welcome and urge every one to speak about
freedom. But when the name of FSF India is used, we should know. We
don't shy away from divergent views but we don't want words or views
to be attributed to us. Tomorrow if a group with malicious intent
conducts a third edition and says free software is good with DRM,
shouldnt we have the freedom to say 'no you cannot do it in our name'?

We didn't say you cannot hold a conference. But when you are doing a
second edition of something what we did, you should have informed us
prior to making a public statement. It is question of decency and
ethics. This common courtesy was not extended to FSF India. In fact
FSF India was never contacted.

FSF India would like to request you to reconsider the position taken
by organizing committee of national conference in Kochi. We never
objected to this conference unlike your letter portrays us to have.

For FSF India

Arun M




From: thomas joseph <>
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: Conference in Kochi
To: Arun M <>
Cc: K Anvar Sadath <>, "" <>

Dear Sri. Arun,

Both of us seems to be very clear of our communications both ways. Your objection, still remaining, is on the use of the name indicating the legacy of the Hyderabad Conference. Your position is that we should have  taken the permission from FSF India.  Going public without  prior consultation with FSF is found unethical by FSF India.

What I have clarified from our part also is very clear. To us, Hyderabad conference was organised by SWECHA, Department Of History of Hyderabad University and Free software Activists of Andhra Pradesh, including FSF India members. Initially, I had made some misconception on the Hyderabad event, which occured as I had to depend on my personal memory, with respect to presence of Mr. RMS, which is corrected as soon as it was noticed. I myself am responsible for it and am sincerely sorry for the mistake.

The second misconception was regarding the role of FSF in Hyderabad event. I too was of the understanding that FSF india was a party to the conduct of the event. But now it is seen that FSF India was only a supporter of the event conducted in Hyderabad and not an organiser, as per its own declaration appearing in its correspondence.

That means we in Kochi can name it second one in case they in Hyderabad has no objection. In any case, to me, permission is not required from FSF who only was supporter of the event. If at all permission is to be taken it is from SWECHA or Dept of History University of Hyderabad. But, I dont think that they have the sentiments as expressed by FSF India. If a supporter claims the right of the organiser, any body can prevent and create hurdles in any movement or even organisation or institution.

More over, by naming this the second conference in continuation of Hyderabad, credit goes to FSF India as well, since it also was a supporter.  We would like FSF India to associate and support this event  too, for which I have sent you the intimation of the proposal to form the committee and invitation for the event.

My position is that so long as we are interested in the advancement of this movement, we have to enlist the support of as many people as possible, let it be those who were against this movement earlier, ofcourse correcting their stand. We cannot claim any special status in the movement because of our association with it for the last 10 years. We have to continue to contribute and that will ensure our role in this movement.

We need not be afraid of any body highjacking this movement and defeating its objectives as it is founded on well defined concepts. If any major force, whether political or not, only bring more support to it and take it forward. We have to be worried only about the patent regime getting established in India using its influence in the Govt. To avoid that we have to enlist the support of as many political activits as possible and, even, political parties themselves.

Please reconcile your position.

Joseph Thomas

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