Staff Reporter

The two-day event has several sessions for the 1,500 participants expected to attend

BANGALORE:Free Software enthusiasts have a busy weekend ahead. With the first ever national-level Free Software conference to be held at the Central College campus on March 20 and 21, advocates of freedom of the digitalkind have a lot to look forward to.

From open access journals to deliberating on the concept of Creative Commons, the two-day event has several sessions both for the uninitiated, and for those who may wish to engage in practical or ideological dimensions of the Free Software philosophy. More than 1,500 participants from across India are slated to participate.

A substantial portion of this conference will focus on discussing, building awareness and probably charting road maps on government policies in this area.

The controversial issue of the Open Standards policy, need for Free Software in implementation of e-governance projects and taking a deeper look at existing models are part of the agenda.

The seminar will open with a talk “Free society, free software” by Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Kannada writer and filmmaker, followed by presentations on Free Software implementation in Karnataka and Kerala.

N. Prabhu Dev, vice-chancellor of Bangalore University, and Umashankar, former managing director, Elcot, will address the audience.

The Free Software movement in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal will be spoken about.

Parallel sessions

Parallel sessions in the afternoon include discussion on e-governance by Mr. Umashankar, Ashok Kumar Manoli, principal secretary, IT and BT, Karnataka Government, and Ajay Adala of the e-procurement division.

A demonstration of school teachers' manual of the IT @ Schools programme, which is strictly GNU/Linux-based, will be held.

Day Two

Day Two will kick-start with a debate on Kannada Computing and Free Software, with Prof. Ramachandrappa, Narahalli Balasubramanya, Kannada writer, K. Chidananda Gowda, former Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University, and M.H. Krishnaiah, president, Kannada Sahitya Academy.

Free Software organisations such as Deep Root Linux and Mahiti will discuss a practical hands-on approach to Free Software migration. Other sessions include UID project and the IT@Schools project.