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[GNU/FSF Press] Richard Stallman Inaugurates Free Software Foundation-In

From: Bradley M. Kuhn
Subject: [GNU/FSF Press] Richard Stallman Inaugurates Free Software Foundation-India, First Affiliate in Asia of the Free Software Foundation
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 08:10:52 -0400
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URL of this press release:



Richard M.  Stallman today officially launched the Free Software
Foundation of India (FSF-India), the first affiliate in Asia of the Free
Software Foundation with a speech at the Freedom First! Conference on Free
Software in Trivandrum, Kerala, India.  Yesterday, he was received as an
honored state guest by government officials to discuss the philosophy
behind the movement and the use of free software as a viable,
cost-effective alternative for government, educational institutions, and
businesses, as well as for all the people of India.

"You are entitled to the freedom that free software gives you", Stallman
said.  It isn't just in India that people are entitled to an alternative
to proprietary software.  The inauguration of FSF-India is a step forward
in the expansion of the Free Software Foundation.  Free software
communities around the world are formally organizing, as FSF-India has now
done, with a goal of better assisting businesses, governments, and
educators everywhere to understand the philosophical ideals behind free
software and how these ideals directly create practical advantages to
those who use and create it.  Stalman continued "Computer users in India,
as elsewhere, deserve the freedom to share and change software, the way
cooks share and change recipes.  So I am pleased to inaugurate the Free
Software Foundation of India, which will promote the use and the
development of free software in this country.  At first, FSF-India will
help individuals, communities, schools, governments and enterprises in
India make use of the free software that the rest of the world has already
developed.  Over time, FSF-India will lead Indian programmers to
contribute to the human knowledge that free software represents."

"We feel a developing country like India has a special stake in promoting
and encouraging the use of free software," said Satish Babu, of FSF-India.
"It also is a plus, of course, that there are no software license fees to
pay.  This is of great importance now that proprietary software companies
are switching to a licensing business model for software, meaning you must
in effect rent the software and continue to pay for it forever.  With free
software, if you wish, you can download the software for free, or if a
business or school wishes to buy one CD, it can legally install the same
CD in every computer on site, without having to pay one penny to anyone,
ever again.  But there are deeper, more significant benefits.  Here in
India, we do need to constantly strive for cost-effective solutions.  The
digital divide is of concern everywhere but especially is it so here in
India.  Unless we act, the digital divide in India is likely to widen,
particularly so because of the country's many languages and its uneven
literacy levels.  Free software can help level the playing field for
emerging nations like India and bridge this divide by encouraging
solidarity, collaboration and voluntary community work amongst programmers
and computer users and invigorate an indigenous software industry."

"Schools in India can benefit by redistributing free software to save on
license fees", Stallman said.  "But free software offers a deeper benefit
for education: the knowledge in free software is public knowledge, not
secret.  The sealed black box of a proprietary software system is designed
to keep people in the dark.  With free software, students can study the
software they use, to learn how it works.  They can write improvements to
the software, and thus learn the craft of software development--which
usually consists of improving existing programs."

Dr. Stallman is President and founder of the Free Software Foundation,
head quartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  In 1984 Stallman began the
development of the GNU operating system, which today in its GNU/Linux
variants is used by an estimated 20 million people worldwide.


For more information about FSF, contact Bradley Kuhn, email: address@hidden
For more information about FSF-India, contact K G  Kumar, email: address@hidden

GNU homepage:

FSF-India homepage:

For more information about the Freedom First! Conference, including
other scheduled speakers and events:

About GNU:

GNU is a Free Software Unix-like operating system.  Development of GNU
began in 1984. gives more
information about GNU and its history.

GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating system with
the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.  The various
versions of GNU/Linux have an estimated 20 million users.

Some people call the GNU/Linux system "Linux", but this misnomer leads
to confusion (people cannot tell whether you mean the whole system or
the kernel, one part), and spreads an inaccurate picture of how, when
and where the system was developed.  Making a consistent distinction
between GNU/Linux, the whole operating system, and Linux, the kernel, is
the best way to clear up the confusion.  See for more explanation.

About the Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs.  The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as
in freedom) software---particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants---and free documentation for free software.  Their
web site, located at, is an important source of
information about GNU/Linux.  They are head quartered in Boston, MA, USA.

About the Free Software Foundation of India:

FSF-India is head quartered in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, and is
dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution,
understanding, and modification of computer programs by promoting the
development and use of free software in all areas of computing---but
most particularly, by helping to develop the GNU operating system.
Their homepage is

----- End forwarded message -----

   -- bkuhn

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