|Founded||28 August 2009|
|Origins||2001 Conference "Freedom First!"|
International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) is an autonomous organization set up by the Government of Kerala, India and having the combined mandate of popularizing Free and Open Source Software for universal use; consolidating the early FOSS work done in Kerala; and networking with different nations, communities and governments to collaboratively promote FOSS.
Kerala was the first state in India to formally adopt a pro-FOSS IT policy in 2001. This main impetus for this step came from the landmark conference "Freedom First!" convened by a group of activists (including the present Director of ICFOSS) and supported by the government of Kerala, where the Free Software Foundation of India (FSF-India) was inaugurated by Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project.
Kerala followed the 2001 conference with a conference series "Free Software, Free Society (FSFS)", held in 2005 and 2008 (with the third of the series being convened in the second half of 2011. This event also commemorates the tenth anniversary of the 2001 conference). In 2008, the Government of Kerala set up a commission under the leadership of Dr. Rahul De of IIM Bangalore to study how to take forward the momentum that Kerala had built up in FOSS. The activist community proposed to the Commission that an International Centre be set up that has a clear mandate on co-ordinating all FOSS efforts in Kerala, and also continued the multi-nation, multistakeholder networking that commenced from the FSFS conferences.
The Minister for IT, Government of Kerala, Mr. P.K. Kunhalikutty, inaugurated the 10th Anniversary celebrations of FOSS in India, on 27 July 2011, by releasing the Anniversary poster in the presence of Satish Babu, the Director of ICFOSS. ICFOSS will be leading the six-month-long (July–December) celebrations, which will feature a series of activities on FOSS, culminating in the third International Conference in the "Free Software, Free Society" series.
ICFOSS was inaugurated by the Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan, on 24 February 2011. The first Director of ICFOSS, Satish Babu, took charge on 1 March 2011. In the initial few months, ICFOSS intends to conduct a consultative visioning exercise involving all relevant stakeholders, which will contribute to the creation of a series of activities and programmes.
ICFOSS has launched several activities including a FOSS-based startup acceleration programme, training programmes in FOSS technologies including open source hardware, and an Open Access Journal, the Journal of Free Software and Free Knowledge.