Free Software Movement of India

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Free Software Movement of India
Abbreviation FSMI
Formation March 21, 2010; 4 years ago (2010-03-21)
Type Coalition of Organisations
Purpose To take free software and its ideology to all computer users and to all sections of society.
Region served
Indian Union
Joseph Thomas (ATPS, Kochi)
Main organ
General Council

Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) is a national coalition of various regional and sectoral free software movements operating in different parts of India. The formation of FSMI was announced in the valedictory function of the National Free Software Conference - 2010 held in Bangalore during 20–21 March 2010.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] FSMI is a pan Indian level initiative to propagate the ideology of free software and to popularize the usage of the free software.[10][11] One of the declared aims of the movement is to take Free Software and its ideological implications to computer users “across the digital divide”, to under-privileged sections of society.[11][12]

Free Software movements in different states such as Swecha[13] (Andhra Pradesh & Telangana), Free Software Movement of Karnataka (FSMK),[14] Democratic Alliance for Knowledge Freedom (DAKF)(Kerala), Free Software Foundation, Tamil Nadu (FSFTN)[14] (Tamil Nadu) and FSMWB (West Bengal) are partnering with the coalition. Sectoral movements such as Knowledge Commons,[15] Academics Initiative, OSGEO India and the National Consultative Committee of Computer Teachers (NCCCTA) joined the national coalition at the very initial stage itself.

FSMI differentiates itself from other organisations, forums or user groups in the free software domain by the method of movement building which is primarily grass root and mass movement.[16][17]


The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had made mandatory the use of the proprietary Office 365[18] in all engineering colleges in the country. This mandatory mandate was rescinded after intervention by several groups led by FSMI.[19]


The founding conference of FSMI elected a General Council having 69 members, an Executive Committee with 28 members and the following office bearers.

  • President : Shri. Joseph Thomas (Appropriate Technology Promotion Society, Kochi[20])
  • General Secretary : Shri. Kiran Chandra (Free Software Activist, Swecha[21])
  • Vice Presidents : Prof K. Gopinath[22] (IISc, Bangalore), Prof. Debesh Das,[23] Shri. Prabir Purkhayastha[24]
  • Secretaries : Shri. Jay Kumar (FSMK[14]), Dr. Nandini Mukherjee (Jadavpur University, Kolkata)(FSMWB), Shri. Siddhartha Malempati[25] (Free Software Foundation, Tamil Nadu[26])
  • Treasurer : Dr. L. Pratap Reddy[27] (Swecha[13])

Aims and objectives[edit]

The founding conference, which was endorsed by several noted Kannada writers,[28] of the FSMI adopted the following aims and objectives for the movement:[11]

Member Organisations[edit]


  • National Convention for Academics and Research was organised by FSMI in December 2011. The conference was inaugurated by former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. The concept of Free Software, wherein knowledge is created by the community for the community, without being driven by commercial interests, must be extended to research to solve problems in health care, agriculture, energy and safe drinking water, the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said.[30][31]


A report in the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi stated that the new organisation was under the tutelage of certain political parties and that it had driven a wedge in the free software movement in India by sidetracking the Free Software Foundation of India (FSFI).[32] The report in Mathrubhumi was criticized by FSMI in another newspaper for not upholding basic journalistic ethics and code of conduct of contacting the FSMI leadership before making allegations.[33] A rejoinder to the report has been published by FSMI.[34] FSFI and organizations part of FSMI such as FSMK have worked together on many aspects and will continue to collaborate on an issue basis.[14] The Mathrubhumi article stated that the general secretary of FSMI, Kiran Chandra was a representative of Novell while the FSFI website showed that he is on the Board of Directors.[21] Contradicting the Mathrubhumi report, FSMI follows a policy similar to FSFI of accepting funding from corporations while not endorsing them.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ News in OneWorld South Asia: "National Free Software Coalition Formed in India". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  2. ^ News in"National Free Software Coalition Formed". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  3. ^ News in Linux Today: "National Free Software Coalition Formed". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Website of National Free Software Conference - 2010: "National Free Software Coalition Formed". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  5. ^ News in Communications of the ACM: "National Free Software Coalition Formed". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  6. ^ News in "National Free Software Coalition Formed". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  7. ^ News in The Hindu: "National Free Software Coalition Formed". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 March 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  8. ^ News in Malayalam daily Madhyamam: "ദേശീയ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്വെയര്‍ സമ്മേളനം സമാപിച്ചു". Retrieved 5 April 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Free Software Movement Karnataka". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  10. ^ The Hindu: Deepa Kurup (22 March 2010). "National Free Software coalition formed". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Free Software Movement has arrived on the National Scene!". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  12. ^ News in Malayalam daily Deshabhimani : "സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനം ഉയരങ്ങളിലേക്ക്". 
  13. ^ a b "Website of Swecha". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Website of FSMK". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Website of Knowledge Commons". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Article in Frontline: "Freedom movement". Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  17. ^ Article in Frontline: "Broad front". Retrieved 21 April 2010. [dead link]
  18. ^ Hindu, The. "News Paper". Kasturi and Sons. 
  19. ^ Mukunth, Vasudevan; Srivas, Anuj (10 May 2013). "AICTE rescinds Microsoft Office 365 mandate". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Appropriate Technology Promotion Society". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Kiran Chandra, director in FSF-I board". 
  22. ^ "Home page of Prof. K. Gopinath". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "Profile of Prof. Debesh Das". Retrieved 26 March 2010. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Profile of Prabir Purkhayastha". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "Profile of Siddharth Malempati". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  26. ^ "Free Software Foundation, Tamil Nadu". 
  27. ^ "Profile of Dr. L. Pratap Reddy". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  28. ^ News in Kannada daily Prajavani: "ಸ್ವತಂತ್ರ ತಂತ್ರಾಂಶಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಬಲಿಸಿ". Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  29. ^ Vincent, Vikram. "Free Software Movement Maharashtra - Outcome of preparatory meeting". mailing list. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Inaugural Address". Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  31. ^ Kurup, Deepa (22 December 2010). "News Report in Hindu". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  32. ^ News in Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi: "സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനത്തെ പിളര്‍ത്തി; സി.പി.എം. പിന്തുണയോടെ പുതിയ സംഘടന". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  33. ^ Article in Malayalam daily Deshabhimani by Joseph Thomas, President, FSMI: "സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനം ഉയരങ്ങളിലേക്ക്". 
  34. ^ News in website of National Free Software Conference - 2010: "Mathrubumi fabricated report". 
  35. ^ "List of current patrons of FSF". Retrieved 24 March 2010. 

External links[edit]