Thiruvananthapuram

FOSS meet moots new domain for free software

The fourth international conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSSK4) which concluded here on Thursday has proposed the application of free software in the development of monitoring, mitigation, and adaptation strategies for climate change.

Representatives from India, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the US, and Europe, who attended the three-day conference, adopted a statement underlining the role of FOSS in developing solutions for the problems faced by mankind.

The participants identified e-waste management as another new domain for FOSS.

The conference declaration called for affirmative action by governments around the world, especially in the Global South, to promote the use of free software as a cost effective, customisable, and robust technology option.

Wider adoption needed

It urged governments to include FOSS in their national and regional IT policies and stressed the need for wider adoption of FOSS in all software domains, including the government, industry, business, research, school and college education, social applications, and personal computing.

The meeting proposed collaborative programmes involving FOSS organisations and communities in different countries. Expressing concern over the erosion of freedom and privacy in the electronic media in general and the online media in particular, FOSSK4 called for legal measures to ensure personal and collective freedom, privacy and confidentiality.

The statement appealed to governments across the world to ensure that the field of software was kept free of patents. It demanded special efforts to ensure the inclusion of women and persons with disability in measures to popularise, promote, and propagate FOSS and in developing FOSS-based solutions.

The conference highlighted the need to encourage models of FOSS-based business that would be appropriate to local contexts. The participants called for policy initiatives, incubation facilities and financial support for such models, patronage from the government, and removal of impediments to the growth of FOSS-based business.

The statement underlined the need for open standards and the inclusion of FOSS-based technological approaches to the new generation of personal digital devices and mobile phones.

It proposed a FOSS-centric curriculum for the study of IT in schools and institutions of higher education. The meeting called for enabling innovative grassroots-level solution architecture for local problems and their royalty-free replication. It underlined the need for universities, the industry, FOSS communities, government, and facilitating agencies to work together to foster innovation using FOSS.

The conference appealed for steps to ensure that FOSS drivers be made available at launch for any hardware used for public and government applications.

Plea for support

The participants urged the government of Kerala to support the International Centre for FOSS (ICFOSS) with flexible governance and administrative structures as well as resources and infrastructure.

The declaration asserted that the application and use of FOSS would lead to an equitable society marked by open standards and access to knowledge for everyone.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 10:14:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/foss-meet-moots-new-domain-for-free-software/article2758387.ece

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