Computer Society of India to promote free software

Press Trust of India
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Mr Satish Babu, president, CSI
Mr Satish Babu, president, CSI

Promotion of free and open source software (FOSS) will be an area of important attention for the Computer Society of India, as the country could benefit hugely out of it financially and socially, the CSI's newly elected president Satish Babu has said.

“We are looking at how IT and ICT could benefit the whole nation and the society at various levels. Promotion of FOSS is going to be an area of focus in this larger perspective. We believe that the country will benefit cost-wise and also in achieving the larger goal of using IT and ICT as a social tool,” Mr Satish told PTI here.

Growing awareness

An IT professional and entrepreneur, Mr Satish said there was an increasing awareness not only in India but also in other parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America, that the use of FOSS was important in their new initiatives in economy as well as social sectors.

An advocate of FOSS for long, Mr Satish said his perspective on FOSS had been very much in tune with the goals of CSI as an organisation committed to support the nation by leveraging its strengths in areas such a technical education, capacity enhancement and social development.

Idea economy

“We hope to play a role in transition to the idea economy – the future where ideas and innovations drive the economy as transactable entities. This requires encouraging, identifying, incubating and creating market-linkages for innovation from all sections of society and from all geographies,” he said.

CSI is aware that interface with key stakeholders such as governments, civil society organisations, IT industry and academia was important in this process, he said.

Also, CSI will strive to create new initiatives in areas of contemporary interests such as green computing, e-waste management and climate change adaptations, Mr Satish said.

Founded in 1965, CSI has a current membership of about 90,000 spread in its chapters and student branches. Its members hail from diverse fields ranging from academia, research institutions, industry and business, government and user communities extending to far-flung areas of the country.

Setting priorities

“My organisational priorities include enhancing services to all stakeholders, strengthening chapters, divisions and regions and special interest groups as well as creating single-point open access repository of all content generated through CSI conferences and seminars to make them useful to all information consumers,” he said.

Mr Satish, who also heads CSI's Special Interest Group on FOSS, said there had been a gradual shift on the part of most State governments towards free software in the last few years.

For example, the IT@School programme in Kerala, which had become a model for the country as a whole, is almost based on free software, he said.

(This article was published on April 8, 2012)
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Jaya Ho CSI
Mahatma Gandhi wished Textiles to become the Cottage Industry of our country providing a sustainable living to millions. That did not happen due to constraints of raw material, power etc. IT/ITES is already a 100 Billion Industry for India, (from ZERO, 20 years ago) providing lakhs of our young people with a good living, without relying on Govt handouts.
With CLOUD COMPUTING, India which has an unlimited supply of brainpower can become an IT superpower. Proprietory software is costly, restrictive, prone to viruses, prevents innovation. With a robust ecosystem for Small/Medium Enterprises at the Grass Roots level anchored, using Free and Open Software in schools and colleges. the sky will be the limit for IT's growth. To achieve this SMEs in the IT space should BE TAX EXEMPT, provided broadband, etc IT can become, a $500 billion industry by 2020, and A BIG PARTOF OUR GDP.

from:  Jay Bharat
Posted on: Apr 8, 2012 at 23:09 IST

The most important place to start on Free Software in India is in the schools in the earliest grades, where the culture of sharing, once planted and allowed to flourish, can never be uprooted. On top of that, we must create digital replacements for printed textbooks under Creative Commons licenses, as Bangladesh and Indonesia have done, and other countries are planning to do soon. Among the advantages of Free Software and Creative Commons are the freedom to translate to any language needed and to adapt to any local conditions and requirements. Another significant result would be to put an end to software piracy.

It is of course not only Free Software that benefits from this approach. See the excellent little book You Can't Say You Can't Play, by Vivian Gussin Paley.

There are a number of resources for Free Software for education, such as the Edubuntu distribution of Ubuntu Linux, and the Sugar education software of One Laptop Per Child. Similarly, there are many sources for Open Education Resources, which I have been collecting on the OER page in the Sugar Labs Wiki. (URLs are not permitted in these comments, so I cannot give you the direct link.)

from:  Edward(默雷/निशब्दगर्ज/نشبدگرج) Cherlin
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:53 IST
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