Software Freedom Day at Kozhikode

Software Freedom Day 2008 was celebrated today at Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode. The event was organized by Swatantra Malayalam Computing, in association with Malabar Christian College. The main attraction was a seminar on Language Computing, led by SMC.

There was also a GNU/Linux install fest and demo in parallel. We installed GNU/Linux on around 6-7 systems, apart from the 5 in the computer lab of Malabar Christian College. There was also an installation demo for hardware technicians. I couldn’t attend the seminar, and I’m looking forward to reading other reports about it.

One of the highlights of the day was the revival of Free Software Users’ Group Calicut, which had been dormant for over two years. Jemshid, of Ascent Engineers, the team from KSEB led by Mohammed Unais, have taken the initiative to kick start the community’s activities.

There were a few representatives from GEC West Hill and AWH Engg. College, and we’ve decided to organize a few workshops, to get some people from those colleges involved in FOSS as well, and try to create a network of college FOSS communities. Shyam put forward the necessity of a common platform for engineering colleges throughout Kerala, based on Free Software. We also have to explore the possibility of encouraging students to take up Free Software development as their projects.

Jemshid and his team had managed to contact the Malabar IT dealers’ association, and their representatives had turned up. They expressed genuine interest in migrating to GNU/Linux for the default installation in new systems they sell. They would thus be able to avoid distributing so called “pirated” software. We have proposed to arrange a basic GNU/Linux workshop for the hardware vendors. This move has the potential to start a revolution. If they can show their customers that they can do almost anything on GNU/Linux that they normally use a computer for, they’ll be encouraged to switch to it. And the customers will have someone to turn to for support.

On the whole, the event was a great success. Tomorrow, we have a small event planned in our campus. More on that later.

See other blogs and photos of the event: