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Oct 23, 2009

Global Software Freedom Day 2009

I met Nitin Sharma at the "Global Software Freedom Day 2009" held at the National Library Building on 19 September, 2009.

Nitin sent me the following email and I am pleased to share his blog to express.

Please note that the opinions expressed are Nitin's own and does not represent those of any organisations or the blog owner.


Hi Mr James,

Since you have asked the questions below, I believe, it is worth having a discussion with other volunteers of FOSA, whether to have a page dedicated to the topic of benefits of OSS to the community.

For the questions below.

1: What prompted you to join FOSA?

I am a fan of open source. My career, though at this juncture is based on proprietary software, has been impacted in a very positive way by free and open software. To dig a bit deeper, my qualification from college is in Electronics. My career is primarily in software.To come to speed with the environment that is driven by computer science fundamentals, I needed an environment to learn. Of the many options that I had, the cheapest was to use open source product as my learning tools (I was not as well to do in those days).

And to my pleasure, the tools have served me very good. [As an example: I used Understand C++/ming(free) on Windows instead of Visual Studio which is expensive, to learn c++, that is my core skill now]. So in an attempt to pay it back, I wanted to join the local free and open source community and I came to know about FOSA getting formed.

2: How does it benefit you as a volunteer?

First and foremost, it gives me a satisfaction that i am trying to payback. Its good to be in touch with like-minded people.

If one tries to do something alone, one can go only so far. But joining hands with people, one can accomplish bigger things.

As an unexpected benefit, It is a good platform for meeting new people and to talk to them and broaden your perspective and knowledge.There is mutual fringe benefit as well.

I have observed a few examples, where people, who started as volunteers, did something novel, and now they have been employed by someone, for that very thing, which they have created and are interested in. Its like getting paid for following your passion. If I hit on something that is of this type, I believe, I will lead a happier life. So this is my platform for searching such a thing.This thing apart, there are so many, financially not so privileged souls around us.

By open source, we are creating an echo system,where, all those people can also benefit from the digital facilities, bridging the digital divide, and creating livelihood opportunities.

3: How would you encourage those interested in open source technologies to join as a volunteer?

I would like to give two different answers.

Answer (i) First would be my method. Set an example of sharing and be loud about it. Demonstrate the benefits and those who feel it is good,will spread the word. Once word is out, those who feel gratitude, will come back to contribute.

Answer (ii) Second would be on what they can do, and how will it benefit them.

This will have to be taken on a case to case basis. Lets look towards creating jobs from open source activities. e.g. A computer science student, who is learning and studying in college,will get an exposure to real world experience, while in college. This will be a big seller for fetching a good job.

A person without computer science background, but with multilingual capacity can create a name, by translating the open source softwarefrom one language to another (e.g I mean from English to Chinese or Thai or Malay or Bahasa Malaysia....).

This will be a ready experience proof to employers for translation activities.

So the activity can translate to job opportunities.A person, with creative skills can create digital art for open source applications.

The categories like icons, background images, etc...This can also create jobs.

A person can contribute some documentation about the application, one is using. This is a job capability, required by application development firms. Now lets look towards benifiting your current job and making sense about volunteering. An enterprenuer, who has a small shop can keep the IT infrastructure cost low by subscribing to open source. If the person finds an issue in the open source application and provides feedback to open source community. This will eventually make the life of enterprenuer better. Better still, if he/she shares one's work around, then the feedback from others might result in obtaining a better workaround and thus saving something, either on effort or money.Then there is the possibility of starting a business totally based on open source technologies. This way, you can beat your competition, on cost basis. There are benefits for educational institutes also. Free software means, better acceptance in parents for only hardware cost.

Best regards,

Nitin Sharma

Exhibitors and visitors at the "Global Software Freedom Day 2009"



Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Software freedom is not necessary the freedom to distribute software free of charge.

It provides software developers and designers to seek alternative sources of non-commercial application software and operating system software which is affordable.

Open source breaks the monopoly of the commercialised software providers which market their proprietary software at prohibitive prices for profiteering purposes.

Without the open source community, the opportunities of many potential software developers for creativity and innovation would remain closed.

October 25, 2009 at 11:54 PM  

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