Open source software completes 10 years in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 28, 2011 Published on July 28, 2011


The Minister for Industries and IT, Mr P. K. Kunhalikutty, inaugurated the 10{+t}{+h} annual celebrations of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in India to commemorate the ‘Freedom First! Conference' held here in July 2001, the first FOSS initiative in the country.

At a function held here on Thursday, Mr Kunhalikutty released the anniversary poster in the presence of Mr Satish Babu, Director, International Centre for FOSS (ICFOSS), to kick off a six-month-long (July-December 2011) retrospective on the significant progress made by FOSS movement in the State.


The celebrations will conclude with the Third International Conference in the Series on Free Software, Free Society, scheduled for the last week of December this year.

As the first State in the country to take a stated position, Kerala has made significant progress in the use of FOSS in a variety of domains ranging from education to e-Governance to accessible computing.

Several of the FOSS-based projects from the State, notably [email protected] and InSight, have gained national and international visibility, while others in e-Governance have positively impacted the lives of people in the State.

Most recently, the Government of Kerala took affirmative action with the founding of the International Centre for FOSS (ICFOSS) aimed at FOSS-based academic, research and technology-based activities. “ICFOSS seeks to consolidate, leverage and build on the early lead that Kerala has built up in the FOSS domain,” Mr Satish Babu said.

Apart from being Director at ICFOSS, Mr Babu has been an active proponent of FOSS from the late 1990s and the chief organiser of the 2001 event.

In the process, ICFOSS will explore employment generation in the technology domain and will seek to promote Kerala as a FOSS destination, he said.

Besides software and hardware, the FOSS philosophy has spread to several other intellectual domains such as literature, music, culture, and the arts.

As one of the earliest institutions to situate itself in this extended ecosystem, ICFOSS will seek to find a unique niche for itself in the coming years, Mr Babu said.


The first programme in the 6-month-long anniversary celebrations is the advanced training on GNU/R, a powerful statistical analysis tool that is rapidly finding acceptance in the industry.

This programme, being jointly organised by ICFOSS and the Department of Statistics, Kerala University, on August 1 and 2 will feature Dr Sudha Purohit of Pune University, among the foremost experts in GNU/R in the country.

Dr Purohit will handle sessions for an audience comprising mainly of the statistics faculty as well as industry representatives.


Other scheduled programmes include a workshop on future directions in FOSS (August 9), launch of an open access Journal of FOSS (September), a workshop on Blender (September 16 and 17), programmes for students, a workshop on ‘Transitioning to FOSS' for NGOs and a workshop on ‘ICT and Climate Change' in November.

The Third International Conference in the Free Software, Free Society series scheduled for the last week of December will bring together practitioners, advocates, academics, policymakers, programmers, students, NGO activists and users from India as well as Europe, Latin America, Africa and South Asia to deliberate on the use and advocacy on FOSS around the world.

Published on July 28, 2011
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