Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boycott Novell Protesters Man-handled at National Conference on Free Software 2008

Here is blow by blow account of trouble that brewed up on the second day of National Conference on Free Software 2008 in Cochin university. The activists put up posters against the Novell Corp (the main sponsor of this event) at the Free Software exhibition complex.

The organisers called up Kochi police and man handled Anivar Aravind a former student of the Cochin University and a well known free software activist.

Update: Adding few more pictures
These images are captured using mobile phone cameras by Arky and few others (names withheld for privacy and security concerns).

CUSAT Open Air Auditorium

Earlier in Day

Anivar, Hiran and Unni working on the posters and the handouts for the protest.

Peaceful Protest After the Incident

Pictures of peaceful protest outside the CUSAT Open Air Auditorium after the man handling incident. Later Joy Job Kulaveli and Sri. Chandramohankumar Registrar, CUSAT, demanded the protesters to leave the place, (in a very undemocratic and arrogant manner), and the protesters left peacefully.


  1. This clearly shows the organizers of this event are completely out of touch with the politics of Free Software.

    I am sure the community will reject any attempts by vested interests to hijack the Free Software community.

  2. this act of man handling is absolutely atrocious... hoping sincerely the community shall respond to this in strong words and actions.

  3. I updated the blog and posted few more photos from the main venue of the event and preparations for the protest.

    Most of the mobile phones were taken and pictures deleted, I was lucky enough to get out in time.

  4. Fuck, you say even the MOBILE phones were taken out?

    I think that's become the new hobby of Kerala police... lifting mobiles of youngsters!

    Boycott Novel *AND* M$... from this very moment — why do we tolerate this atrocity!

  5. can i use some of these pics im my blog...

  6. Dude you cant boycott Novell . Novell is a industrial OS. Its not easy.

  7. Conference on Free software sponsored by Novell !!! Where are we heading to !

    ~ bobinson

  8. Arky,

    In theory anyone should be free to promote free software; in practice what's happening is quite alarming. What's free software without free speech and free thought and its own brand of dissent and how can this conference's organizers miss that?

    I'm glad Anivar and others stood up. Conference organizers' discomfort with them is understandable, but they clearly don't "get" free software, which is clearly a grassroots movement that has nothing to do with police state. They don't get it at all when they send police to handle known faces in the community.

    I hope you remember our little discussion about this conference last week -- I'm not glad to be in the "I told you so!" camp, but a free software conference filled with ministers and politicians and various authority figures rather than folks that have any actual role in the movement was rather suspect to begin with. Of course it is important that policy makers understand this movement, but it wasn't clear if that was in the agenda. I had received emails about this conference but the agenda was far from clear then also, other than the said figures will show up and therefore this event will all try to look very important.

    I'm willing to be corrected of all this "prejudice", but what just happened has only substantiated my worries. I'm glad you were there to report this incidence, let's now look forward to the organizer's version of The Truth (TM).


    PS. openid + blogger = fail.

  9. I was there, when the event took place. It was an unfortunate event, no doubt.

    Anivar and team came up with posters-campaigns against Novell- and attached them as i remember in Ilug- stall MES College stall etc.,

    I was in Ilug stall, and felt that posters were very relevant.

    All of a sudden some organisers came in asking anivar to remove them all.

    WE said no !! we won't remove them.

    Then they used force to pull him out. Some man handled .
    -Please don't make a controversy- Only a few ' free software enthusiastic only came out to speak for him. Why ? all others were silent on lookers. !!

    Support, who has the courage to stand up!!!

    Show solidarity!!!!

  10. Who organized the event? Its disgusting if they don't know about what they're doing. And anyway nothing is expected from the police, they don't know what software is, leave alone knowing about free software concept.

  11. Only a few ' free software enthusiastic only came out to speak for him. Why all others were silent on lookers. !!

    This is really bad :(
    I just dont understand why people(so called free software volunteers) did not support the one's who were protesting it!

    BTW why volunteers had to take sponsor from Novell ??

    You lack ethics !!!

  12. കേരളത്തില്‍ എന്തൊക്കെയോ നടക്കുന്നു. സ്വതന്ത്രസോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ എന്തെന്നറിയാത്തവര്‍ രാപകലില്ലാതെ അദ്ധ്വാനിച്ച് വളര്‍ത്തിയെടുത്ത സ്വതന്ത്ര മലയാളം കമ്പ്യൂട്ടിങ്ങ് ഗ്രൂപ്പിനെ അപമാനിക്കുന്നത് പ്രതിഷേധം അര്‍ഹിക്കുന്നു. സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ഫ്രീഡം നമ്മുടെ മുദ്രാവാക്യം.

  13. Free Software is "Free" as in Freedom. Let the CUSAT guys look up a dictionary and learn the meaning of freedom

  14. @maravind

    I think it was one of the organizers who grabbed the cellphones from the bystanders and started deleting the pictures.


    Sure, Please do use the pictures, I am trying to see if I can get hold of the mobile video.

    Arun and few others who went to discuss with the organisers were locked in the room for a while!!!

    WTF yeah!

  15. "BTW why volunteers had to take sponsor from Novell ??"

    That's ridiculous. Even the FSF have accepted Microsoft's money.

  16. Yeah...

    We know that if I go to a FSF conference with a boycottfsf thing, the same thing will happen to me (ignoring the free speech, of course).

  17. I was also present at the exhibition hall. The so-called organisers from CUSAT were very rude with the community members who were doing a very peaceful protest. The exhibition director and the security officer(who didn't had the official uniform, NCFS badge or identity card) and their colleagues acted like henchmen from Novell.

    In addition, the students from MES college Kuttipuram who displayed the posters and took the photos/videos were harassed and threatened after capturing their mobile phones and digital cameras.

  18. Unfortunately i beg your pardon to disagree with what all have been told above. I was visiting the exhibition when the so called "man handling" was taking place. I believe the free activists are all well educated to understand the integrity of the function. Even if there were disagreements, that should have been brought out in a more sensible way. They could have asked for an open forum on the topic(which would have been a better retaliation). Instead they resorted to means of cheap public stunts. In the beginning, I could see a senior person from the organizing group talking to the protesters .But, literally he was abused.
    I also agree with their viewpoints, but, the way they protested was utter blunder. They should have realized that this is a novel (no pun intended) beginning for free software popularization and could have acted wisely by resorting to more meaningful protests than to ruin the exhibition. This was crappy mud water politics. Our beloved protesters should realize that LINUX is not to be confined only to the intellectuals. If it has to reach masses, these conferences and related media coverage has a big role to play.
    I also doubt their actual motivation. Had they put their stall to popularize LINUX, they should have distributed the OS for free( or charge only the cd cost). Don’t you feel 100 Rs a little high?. In short I would describe the incident as an attention seeking public stunt which was planned well ahead.

  19. For a common man like me, what happened there in the exhibition hall is unfortunate. But after the incident, I made some googling and saw the following link, . Also some stalls including the 'ILUG' were selling the linux cd's for money, while I got the linux dvds of BOSS and OpenSuse 11 for free. Even GNU project is ready to use Microsoft's money, then what is the problem in giving a stall to a proprietary company.

  20. suresh kumar ramalingamNovember 17, 2008 at 1:37 AM

    i agree with kevin's comment.

  21. I'd like to know specifically who were the people who organized this conference. They ought to be named and shamed.

  22. Dear Kevin and Rakesh, reading your comments, I come the the conclusion that you are not able understand what free software is. I suggest you read some more articles on

    Also note that every protest is an effort to bring some issue into public discussion(you call it publicity stunt). It is an integral part of a democratic society.

  23. For gods sake please dont make a fuss out of it. I completely agree with kevin regarding the selling of LINUX cds. If they had sold it(that too 100 Rs !!!!), it is unfortunate. they could have given ubuntu which is available for free(no even cd cost).

  24. @mithun menon,

    Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible — just enough to cover the cost.

    Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

  25. Kevin seems to be correct...........

  26. @praveen
    my question is whether they had gone to popularize LINUX or for selling LINUX? If former, they should have charged just enough to recover the cost..which they didn't.

  27. @mithun menon,

    did you read this?

    "Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can."

    Free Software is about freedom, not price.

    Who do you think will pay for the CDs? Are you willing to fund a Free CD distribution, say during the next conference in Thiruvananthapuram? If you are ready to burn CDs to popularise "LINUX" we don't mind distributing for free.

  28. @kevin:

    They were selling "LINUX" ? :)

    next time I see those kids I will beat them up for selling just the kernel and not an OS !!


    no one gives OS CDs free without any reason. Certain companies do that to popularize their brand and then charge heavily for the support. I am not saying every distributor is doing free distribution with this business plan in mind, but the most famous free OS CD distributor is doing that. (And this is true with most of the free services out there)

    As Praveen mentioned "Free Software is about freedom, not price."

  29. I was there. Also they were using windows to display a video on compiz fusion. We were having an argument there.

  30. New Update (Mon Nov 17 02:24:19 IST 2008)

    Adding few picture contributions from others. I choose not to reveal the name of the person who shot this first important image of Anivar standing inside the booth that is assigned to the user group few moments before the scene turned from ugly to worse.

  31. Rakesh: Money doesn't necessarily come with a price; sponsorship to an event comes with the condition that the event sponsors the company (for all the good and bad that that company does). Taking money (like a Microsoft refund) doesn't come with any condition to support or endorse Microsoft. These things strike me as vastly different. Had I purchased a computer with a Microsoft OS pre-loaded, I'd return the OS and get a refund then load a completely free software OS on that computer (perhaps gNewSense GNU/Linux) and run only free software on that.

  32. Sad day indeed! Recommended action would be:
    - advice not to use Novell SUSE to anybody listing
    - when buying hardware insist on linux, non-suse pre-installs. It works more often than it appears on the outside.
    - Avoid Gnome desktop and mono applications, use alternatives
    - avoid Micro$oft products whenever possible.
    Eventually the rocks will crumble.

  33. Even the FSF have accepted Microsoft's money

    This was pointed out earlier in one of the comments,, [b]IS that TRUE?????[/b]

  34. I wonder what other atrocities there have been where there weren't pictures.

    Seriously... the public needs to have mobile phones that instantly upload the pictures (so that deletion from the phone itself does nothing to suppress the content)

  35. This was pointed out earlier in one of the comments,, [b]IS that TRUE?????[/b]

    Of course is true (Microsoft Giving Campaign). The free software movement is not full of stupid people.

    Oh, by the way, if you hate so much Novell, maybe you should hate Red Hat, Canonical and any other company who use a kernel full of blobs. So if you use a distribution different from these ones, well, "You lack ethics !!!"

  36. Mysidia,

    The phones will upload to servers controlled by carriers who can be paid or threatened to suppress the information, so such phones wouldn't change much. Now if they could instantaneously email the pictures to a user's own account outside the control of a given government, that would be useful.

  37. It's sad that in a world where we still have poverty, disease, and human trafficking of women and children, that you idiots without a cause waste your time protesting an old software company. You people are truly pathetic.

  38. @Anonymous,

    The issue with Novell is not about shipping non-free blobs but about betraying the community for Microsoft.

    Some of the serious faults with them are

    1) Novell legitimized patent infringement claims on Free Software by Microsoft. And will force all other Free Software distributors to pay up.
    2) Novell is violating the spirit of GPLv2 (GPLv3 fixed this loophole) by entering into a discriminatory patent agreement with Microsoft.
    3) Novell is helping Microsoft dividing the community into commercial and non-commercial users, which will help Microsoft sue Free Software users without suing its own customers (the reason why it does not sue Free Software users, because most of the companies that use Free Software are also Microsoft customers).

  39. >>>That's ridiculous. Even the FSF have accepted Microsoft's money.

    >>This was pointed out earlier in one of the comments,, [b]IS that TRUE?????[/b]

    >Of course is true (Microsoft Giving Campaign). The free software movement is not full of stupid people.

    This is Microsoft matching individual Microsoft employee personal contributions according to their Employee Giving Campaign.

    Not quite the same thing as Microsoft simply giving money to the FSF.

  40. Sajith TS texted me that this page has made it to the ./ front page.

    Boycott Novell Protesters Manhandled In India

  41. I could not fully digest why all these drama ? We have to be true to the fact.

    It is true that Anivar has got the right for pointing out the alleged inconsistency or even alleged hypocrisy of the organisers of National Conference on Free Software, 2008 held in CUSAT. His protest through the poster campaign is well within his rights in this democratic society so long as it does not curtail the same rights of others. It was acceptable any where in the campus walls, except on the posters put up by others. In any case not on the board of Novell placed in the rented exhibition stall inside the hall. If Anivar is having any regard for the freedom he cherish and preaches with respect to software, he should not have pasted his posters on the Novell's board inside the exhibition hall. On the complaint from the Novell representative, Anivar was asked not to do this. But he threatened the organisers that he will paste 10 posters for every poster removed. On such expression of arrogance and attack on the freedom of the other parties to have its board placed in its paid stall, organisers of the exhibition asked Anivar to be sent out of the Novell's stall. This is what has happened. Anivar could have even taken a stall on rental and exhibited his ideas. Anivar freedom shall not violate the freedom of others.

    The organisers had the responsibility to organise the conference and that could be done only by collecting funds. Even Anivar accepts that Novell helps GNU LINUX in his statement that Novell helps MS more than GNU Linux. This attitude of Novell (May be in their business interest, which is part of the present system) to help GNU Linux, though in lesser degree, was made use of by the organisers. Through this association, Novell also is given a message that the supporters of free software accepts their support to GNU/ Linux and not to MS. The responsibility of the free software movement is to prompt and help every body to move over to free software and not to prevent the users of MS from shifting over to free software. Anivar's stand of condemning all those who use MS or have any association with MS is against the advancement of software freedom movement. It also goes against the interest of ill-informed, un-informed and partly informed people to be informed and switch over to the correct position, in their own interest.

    We may accommodate everybody who is for propagating the software freedom. We may not create division among software freedom activists in the name of the software they used in the past, or even the software they currently use. We may concerned about the software that they shall use in future. We may welcome all who are prepared to join the movement. We may also stand for the protection of democratic rights of every body, so long as that does not infringe upon the freedom of others. We may stand committed to the rights of the software professionals and workers as well.

    We need not afraid of any body "hijacking" this or any movement. Movement belongs to the masses. We may either be part of it or keep aloof. The organisers have declared their resolve and have tried to reach the message of software freedom to as many people as possible. That is all what has happened. We have to go much ahead. Ahead to Thiruvanathapuram, the international event organised at Thiruvanathapuram.

  42. just shows that Microsoft will never stop at attacking linux, through overt or covert means. just NEVER trust microsoft and its sidekicks like novell. they will subvert the government, they will subvert the iso, or anything that comes its way.
    they paid novell to be on their side - because they can use linux as their tool for advancement.

    just do NOT trust microsoft until they are finished as a company. They simply CANNOT be trusted AT ALL.

  43. 1. As per the original post, and the comments on onlookers, the anti-Novell posters were only put up in stalls allotted to particular entities, and not in public spaces, or spaces created by the organisers for their own use.

    While the contents of the posters may have been distasteful to the organisers, it was the decision of individual stall-holders whether to allow the posters to be displayed (unless there were specific clauses to this effect in the stall allotment ToC).

    The organisers may have been embarrassed by the display, but they should not have allowed the situation to get out of hand, and especially not illegally destroyed assets belonging to other individuals, such as the photographs and videos.

    Calling in the police seems to have been a completely over-the-top reaction, and it is also possible that individual policemen/official securitypersons, already present due of the presence of ministers etc, may have acted precipitatedly.

    In such situations it is very hard for even observers (once tempers are raised) to determine whether the police also acted illegally, but an upright police chief would certainly conduct an internal enquiry and release a public explanation - and in as expeditious a manner as possible.

    2. There has been no indication in the posts or comments whether Novell staffers were directly involved in the fracas. Without such involvement, or knowledge/evidence of specific interventions made by Novell either at the event, or vide a prior agreement with organisers, it is completely unfair to blame Novell for any direct or overtly illegal action.

    On the other hand, corporate actions taken by Novell (and other businesspersons) over the past few years have created a mindset whereby such protests, and the hot tempered reactions to them, are part of the environment.

    In Mumbai, the government is mulling action to be taken against a politician for stirring up divisive emotions (that have resulted in physical damage, and even deaths, due to the reactions of his followers). Should corporate entities be spared the consequences of their dabbling in such divisive activities? Freedom, in software as in speech, is more valuable than free beer.

    3. Re the pricing of distros being handed out by some of the protesters, if anyone else can distribute any such software for any other price, they are free, and welcome, to do so. Instead of cribbing here about the local decisions of the local groups who organised the CDs, they could (and should) easily have returned with their own CDs, and distributed them for free, or at their own pricing.

    btw, as I submit the post, I notice that the Captcha being used for authentication reads "ovell". Should I suspect a hidden hand in the submission of such comments, or is that going too far?

  44. While I was making my earlier comment, it crossed Anil's. I withdraw remarks made about excusing Novell's involvement.

    However, no-one can assume the right to deface, or even put up any kind of promotional literature, in spaces paid for by/allotted to other persons, without their specific permission, especially as it is clear that renting such spaces were not the exclusive privilege of anyone, but was open to all.

    As we are all aware, corporate entities with vested interests in proprietary software, even those with interests in free software, regularly take action, overtly as well as discreetly, to block the growth of the free software movement.

    Playing their own cards back to them may seem appropriate, but is not. It goes against the very ethos of the movement itself. Yet another situation where the end cannot justify the means.

  45. Century of the Self - Hurt Egoes or The cause of the movement - a call for truce till resolution

    I was there. We were preparing for the session 'Caste Discrimination in Konwledge Communities ' along with IISc Venky.
    Arky called and we rushed to the spot of the problem . I saw many folks there including
    Sameer of Ilug,Kochi, MES teachers and students, Arun , FSF , Secreatry.

    I did tell him that from slumdweller we can put up a protest poster if what folks were saying was true and
    exrpressed my solidarity.

    However in public I also told that things are not as simple as they appear to newbies like us.

    And as Arky told me the previous day - be careful my dear newbie - as everyone has their 'agenda' at the end of the day.

    There was a gentelman standing next to me with an IEEE T-shirt. Who was also protesting the incident.

    I told him that a ideologically strong free software advocate would have differences with IEEE. That doesnt mean I
    tear his t-shirt. He told me "you dont know what contribution i was doing to ieee and fs ' and the significant work
    we have done to bring ieee to free software'.

    Yes though he is working with IEEE for free software ( as i did in blr) I need to understand the free software cause
    and help it spread rather than doing a stupid thing like tearing his t-shirt.

    I have to see and understand his contribution to free software .

    This is the question - do i take a puritan stand based on what RMS himself said - and say nothing doing with IEEE
    ( though they are not MS) - or do i look at it as avenue for growth of free software - especially when the field is
    still empty ( imho)

    i feel that there is a need for both these groups - the radical and the mass based - both have their role.

    infact i also saw that many leaders ( apart from the organisers and protesters) were inspired by the event -
    especially by the mobilisation - and in fact saw the role of both the radical and the mass leader - and were involved in
    discussions with both these groups

    Why are we seeing thse controversies errupt in recent times. Is it becuase the free software movement is growing.
    Is it because some are worried that its growing in the wrong direction.

    Another person told me this during the day : in a company you have profit as a motivator - in a social movement
    ego is a motivator - as human being have we found a solution to this issue of 'ego' - i dont think so - but i do believe -
    that whenever folks put their egoes behind and put the cause in front - amazing things happen - but i do not
    know if its so easy for myself to do the same .

    i did also see and hear many people - who strongly believe - that many things can be done in their individual spaces -
    without being drawn into all this trouble and all these things are not avoidable ..

    whomever i met i requested this - a couple of years back when i was inspired into the movement - i didnt see this happening -
    a controversy and flame every month - something has changed - i am sure fsf , india can resolve this ...

    until then lets have truce in the field - without cheap hijack falmes and stunts - let the mass based and the radicals -
    do their work in the field - without disruption and provaction - after all i see that many of them are on the same thinking lines and
    within the same family - and claim - simillar affilliations.

    btw we did sell 4365 Rs worth of gimp paintings from the slum computer center. had my chance to meet people like
    redhat venky, gora mohanty , pramod sir , mes students and teachers, ilug kochi sameer, bio-informatic students
    who had put up a stall. thanks community ..we are inspired once again.

    in solidarity

  46. all guys protesting against selling of CDs please try to understand that the meaning of free software is more like Free Speech and not like Free Beer.
    It is not unethical or against FSF priniciple to sell free software CDs.

    I have total solidarity with all those who protested.
    CPI Politicians in a FSF conference sounds is very stupid. They don't understand the F in Free Software . . .

  47. isn't it true that you are a Red Hat Certified Engineerverify and payed by redhat to defame Novell

  48. "We may accommodate everybody who is for propagating the software freedom."


    This is akin to the classical case: having the cake and eating it. In the name of propagation of free software, we can't associate with the betrayers a the great concept, in any way.

    @All free software supporters

    Beware of trolls

  49. "Dude you cant boycott Novell . Novell is a industrial OS. Its not easy."

    Really? Hmmm Its geeks like you and I that make suggestions to upper management which systems and OS's to run. While you can't rip them out of the datacenter by the roots you can make suggestions not to use Suse Linux because of its ties to Novell and go out of your way to decom ancient Novell servers and replace them with systems with a different OS.

    Software and hardware companies are inherently stupid when it comes to this. They don't really realize that the executives don't care in 99% of the cases unless their is some special partnership or kickback to be had from working with a certain vendor. CIO's, CEO's and CFO's are too busy with Thursday golf and accessorizing their mini mansions to care.

    The Key is to not bring up the boycott and to make valid business arguments not to go with a vendor. Bringing up something like this would certainly finger you as an angry Boycott happy nerd. Show performance issues and bugs that would be show stoppers.

    Novell if your listening. How is it that you have managed to screw up almost everything you touch? You essentially killed SuSE Linux and don't get me started about that Netware crap you sell.

    To steal a line from fight club "we watch your servers while you sleep don't fuck with us"

  50. tyler:

    Its also a fact that some of the people who are commenting about free softwar and paid goons of Proprietary redbrigade famous in Kerala

  51. Good that you could protest. I was wondering even about CUSAT organizing such an event! CUSAT is a pitiable institution! There is no acadeemics there. I know they run very poor economics department. The rest cannot be better.

  52. In "Free Market" we do not get things for "Free" the "free market" proponants of "free market" theory claim that they are for freedom in market place.

  53. a brief post added in my blog...

  54. Headmonkey,
    Events for a public cause held on the campus of a Public University rarely pay very much. So your comparison with your private apartment doesn't apply here.

    If anything, those organizers should be banned/prosecuted for trying to defraud the public.

    In any case, recovering those deleted pictures/videos from a camera phone shouldn't be a problem.

    The software below, for instance, works quite nicely.

    - stephanruby (on

  55. This is Microsoft matching individual Microsoft employee personal contributions according to their Employee Giving Campaign.

    Not quite the same thing as Microsoft simply giving money to the FSF.

    And how the employees are getting the money to donate? Yes, they are programming propietary software:

    "Through its matching contributions program, Microsoft allows its employees to direct corporate contributions to thousands of nonprofit organizations working to improve lives in the United States and around the world."

    There is not any difference. (the FSF have accepted money from proprietary software programmers)

  56. @anonymous

    Microsoft is donating money to non profit organizations which help the society,ohk , but when they are so interested in FSF activities and free software model why dont they apply freedom principles to Microsoft OS itself ?

  57. Microsoft is donating money to non profit organizations which help the society,ohk , but when they are so interested in FSF activities and free software model why dont they apply freedom principles to Microsoft OS itself ?

    I'm not discussing that. What I'm discussing is about the people questioning the sponsorship from Novell, what where they expecting? Many sponsors of open source projects (Intel, AMD, Adobe, etc.) are not different from Novell or Microsoft (yeah, MS is a sponsor of the SourceForge Community Choice Awards). What I want to say is that it doesn't matter if the event is about free software or proprietary software, an event can't be judged just by its sponsors.

  58. Shit, many mistakes in that message, I have to improve my English...

  59. @Dear Anil sir,
    On such expression of arrogance and attack on the freedom of the other parties to have its board placed in its paid stall, organisers of the exhibition asked Anivar to be sent out of the Novell's stall...
    This is not completely true. The security people pulled Anivar out when he was pasting the posters at the ILUG-Cochin's stall with their permission, and not from Novell's stall.

    I still don't understand the motivation behind the CUSAT officials shutting the doors and threatening the visitors.

  60. People demonstrating against Novell are as boring as communists to me.
    Both have a nice idea in mind, but the reality out there is completely different.
    Hence I prefer those who accept reality instead of dreaming of easily seperating between "good" and "evil".

  61. I mailed MS sponsorship issue to fsf , they replied

    Microsoft is not one of our corporate sponsors. (For a full list,
    please, see our patron page at .)

    do however receive money from them through their matching contribution
    program in which they match the donations their employees make to an
    non-profit of their choice.

    This shows many people working in Microsoft love ideology behind free software.But when they promote same ideology in MS they will get sued ,here the power is not with the individuals ,its with the BIG boss!

    So whats the difference??same way even novell donates !!

    The point is NOVELL being a big corporation(part of OSource community) understanding the dangers behind software patenting encourages microsofts software patenting.Novell has got power(to turn things better),, why it is encouraging software patenting??This makes people protest against novell!!

    I donot encourage sponsor from novell as i expect danger to community and i hav a right to protest,some may take money from novell and i hav a right to convey my thoughts to them(unless there is a criticism the weeds would never die)
    The point in protesting against Novell was an attempt to remove weeds from a healthy farm.

    So depending on individual perception, protesting against a wrong thing in a democratic country is not bad.

  62. Manilal,

    I do understand your feeling. However, there are many people watching the incidents, and there are many version about it. I myself saw those posters pasted on the banners of other agencies. I feel this as an attempt to infringe into the freedom of others.

    Using the premises of exhibition rented for other agencies for a hate campaign against a third agency participating in the same exhibition may not be acceptable to that third agency. The organisers are forced act on their complaint.

    After a meeting with the Registrar, CUSAT and General Convenor of the conference, the protesters had agreed to withdraw from such acts.

    After all these sequence of incidents, Anivar himself has presented his paper in a seminar session of the conference. So I still do not understand why all these drama.

    - Anil

  63. Read all about it :

  64. i was there as well.
    and after tht when i talked to the volunteers bout the reason behind the action,many dint know, while the others had assumed tht anivar bro and co wer drunk!
    thts how absurd the situation was.

  65. Firstly, I would like to state for the record that I actually like Open Source Software.

    Well, about the Rs.100/- being charged per Linux CD, those who support those who did so have pointed this out in their defence

    "Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can"

    and even openly attacked those who questioned their motives here by making provocative statements like

    "Who do you think will pay for the CDs? Are you willing to fund a Free CD distribution, say during the next conference in Thiruvananthapuram? If you are ready to burn CDs to popularise "LINUX" we don't mind distributing for free.
    as പ്രവീണ്‍|Praveen aka j4v4m4n has made here.

    Praveen, a virgin CD does not cost Rs.100/- only Rs.10/- or so. And to say it cost Rs. 90/- for the process of burning the CDs seem a bit too far fetched to believe.

    This is clearly an attitude of 'My way or the highway'

    Why was Novell invited?
    Because Novell is behind SuSE, a Linux distribution. How could that have escaped attention, and so conveniently?

    Just because Novell works with Microsoft doesn't justify Anivar's charge. The charges on Anivar's poster carry no proof, and in the absence of proof, this is what constitutes libel. CUSAT is an academic institution of repute and did not want to encourage any mud-slinging, so they had to call in the police and use force to put an end to all this. Free software or software libre is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things, not freedom to do whatever you want. There is a difference. Unfortunately some have tried to justify this incident by saying its all about freedom and hence people should be free to break the law ! Sane logic indeed ! I couldn't think of a better way to hijack the very idea behind the conference.

    If what Anivar says is true about Novell, it beats logic to understand why Novell would continue with SuSE instead of pulling the plug altogether; after their agreement with Microsoft. But Novell didn't, it still keeps SuSE Linux alive(and kicking strongly, mind you), and I daresay thats why they were invited to the conference and their sponsorship sought, being one of the major companies behind a Linux distribution. Heck, didn't Novell even help develop and license YaST2 under the GNU GPL? And Novell is against Free Software? Get real!

    Novell's actions have spoken louder for the record than Anivar's words.

  66. I hope the protesters have got the message loud and clear. If they are sane enough, they will now keep their mouth shut and do some fruitful job.
    C'mon guys, there were so many positives for the conference. Don't you feel the conference has helped the free software to reach the masses. Just for this reason, words are not sufficient to appreciate the cusat fraternity.
    Your act in a sense is trying to discourage all their efforts.
    I really doubt whether these people are against the popularization of linux. the reason is that these people fear about losing their very existence(as linux pundits) if linux is well popularized in the public.
    If you were a true free software promoter, you would have appreciated the organizers for arranging a conference like this. Instead you are cribbing like anything to ruin it. I sincerely pity you. You should know that organizing a national conference is a herculean job. Nodoubt, CUSAT is one of the best universities in INDIA(Otherwise Central govt wouldn't have considered upgrading it in to an IIT). From one of the volunteers, I came to know that they were only working for organizing the conference(leaving aside their studies !!).Mind you, this is the examination time in CUSAT. See, such spirit, you won't get anywhere else. you can easily pass a comment and move on.But, its effect on them will be large. I sincerely wish that your acts doesn't make them dejected and make them go out of FS.
    I would also like to add one funny remark from one of the volunteers.
    "It is good that this is exam time for btech seniors(only first year btech students were posted as volunteers). Otherwise, the problem would have solved before the arrival of security."
    So guys,please do behave yourself and do something fruitful other than cribbing.

  67. I have a few questions about the incident

  68. Excuse me for posting in Malayalam.

    ‘സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വക്താവ്’ അനിവറിനെ ശാരീരികമായി കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്തതില്‍ എനിക്കും ഖേദമുണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ, അതേ അനിവറില്‍ ഒരു ജനാധിപത്യ വിരുദ്ധന്‍ ഒളിച്ചിരുന്നതാണ് (വികാരാധിക്യം കൊണ്ട് അറിയാതെ പറ്റിപ്പോയതുമാകാം) പ്രശ്നമായതെന്ന് തോന്നുന്നു. മറ്റുള്ളവരുടെ സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യത്തില്‍ അദ്ദേഹം കൈവെച്ചപ്പോള്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തെ കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്യാന്‍ അവരും തയ്യാറായതായാണ് ഞാന്‍ മനസിലാക്കുന്നത്. കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്യല്‍ രണ്ടായാലും ശരിയായില്ല.
    പിന്നെ, സമ്മേളനത്തിന്റെ പേരും (സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ സമ്മേളനം) അനിവറിന്റെ സുഹ്രുത്തുക്കള്‍ അതിനെ അവഹേളിക്കാനായിട്ടിരിക്കുന്ന പേരും (സ്വതന്ത്രമല്ലാത്ത സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ സമ്മേളനം) അന്വര്‍ത്ഥമാണ്. സമ്മേളനത്തില്‍ സ്വതന്ത്രമല്ലാത്ത സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയറുകളും പ്രദര്‍ശിപ്പിക്കപ്പെട്ടിരുന്നു. അവ കട്ടെടുത്തവയുമാകാം. സമ്മേളനം സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ പ്രോത്സാഹിപ്പിക്കാനായിരുന്നു. സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വക്താവും അനുയായികളും മാത്രമാണ് സമ്മേളനത്തിലെങ്കില്‍ എങ്ങിനെ അത് മറ്റുള്ളവരിലേക്കെത്തും. അതുകൊണ്ട്, സമ്മേളനത്തിലേക്ക് സംഘാടകര്‍ എല്ലാവരേയും ക്ഷണിച്ചിരുന്നു. എല്ലാവരും വന്നില്ല. പലരും വരാതിരുന്നതിന് കാരണം അവര്‍ സ്വതന്ത്രമല്ലാത്ത സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നു എന്നതാണ്. ചിലര്‍ പക്ഷെ, വന്നു. അവരെ, ആട്ടിയോടിക്കുന്ന നിലപാടാണ് സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വക്താക്കള്‍ എടുക്കുന്നതെങ്കില്‍ എങ്ങിനെ അത് പ്രോത്സാഹിപ്പിക്കപ്പെടും. കേരളത്തിലെങ്കിലും കഴി‍ഞ്ഞ പത്ത് വര്‍ഷമായി സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വ്യാപനത്തിന് എതിരായി നിലനില്‍ക്കുന്ന ഏറ്റവും പ്രധാന ഘടകം സ്വയം പ്രഖ്യാപിത സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വക്താക്കളുടെ പിടിവാശിയും വിവരക്കുറവുമാണ്. അവരുടെ ധാരണ സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ സ്വന്ത്രമാക്കിയത് ലോകമാകെയെടുത്താല്‍ FSF ഉം ഇന്ത്യയെടുത്താല്‍ FSF (I) യും മലയാളത്തിന്റെ കാര്യത്തില്‍ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ വക്താവ് അനിവറുമാണെന്നതാണ് എന്ന് തോന്നുന്നു. സോഫ്റ്റ് വെയര്‍ പണ്ടേ സ്വതന്ത്രമായിരുന്നു. ഒട്ടു മിക്കതും ഇന്നും സ്വതന്ത്രമാണ്. ചിലവയെ ചിലവര്‍ വളച്ചുകെട്ടുകയാണ് ചെയ്തത്. പൊതു ഉടമസ്ഥതയിലുള്ളവയുടെ ആ വളച്ചു കെട്ടല്‍ മേലാല്‍ നടക്കാതിരിക്കത്തക്ക നിയമപരമായ ചട്ടക്കൂട് നല്‍കിയെന്നതാണ് FSF ന്റെ മഹത്തായ സംഭാവന. അതിന്റെ കമ്പനിയായുള്ള ചട്ടക്കൂട് ഇക്കാര്യത്തില്‍ സഹായകമാണ്. പക്ഷെ, ആ ചട്ടക്കൂട് ജനകീയ പ്രസ്ഥാനമായി മാറുന്നതില്‍ പ്രതി ബന്ധമാണ്. യഥാര്‍ത്തത്തില്‍ FSF(I) FSF ന്റെ പേരുപയോഗിച്ച് FSF ന്റെ ലക്ഷ്യ സാക്ഷാല്‍ക്കാരം ഇന്ത്യയിലെങ്കിലും തടയുകയാണ് ചെയ്യുന്നത്.
    SMC നല്ലൊരു കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ്. മലയാളത്തിന് അത് നല്ല മുതല്‍ക്കൂട്ടാണ്. അനിവര്‍ മാത്രമല്ല അതിലുള്ളത്. അനിവര്‍ നല്ലൊരു മനുഷ്യനാണ്. ചെറുപ്പമാണ്. കുറച്ചു കൂടി ചരിത്ര ബോധമുണ്ടായാല്‍ നന്ന്. അനിവര്‍ FSF (I) എന്ന കമ്പനിയുടെ കയ്യിലെ കളിപ്പാവയാകാതിരിക്കാന്‍ ശ്രമിക്കണമെന്ന് മാത്രമാണ് അപേക്ഷിക്കാനുള്ളത്.

  69. @ Arky said...

    New Update (Mon Nov 17 02:24:19 IST 2008) Adding few picture...

    But you did not get the photos of what Anivar did earlier. He pasted the posters in Novell stall, and then only the Organisers came to enquire about that. You can read the first comment by Mathew in

    Don't you people know the uniform of Kerala police? The person on the photo is only a security officer.

    Discussed with the students in CUSAT who helped in organizing the exhibition. According to them, they have contacted more than 300 companies who is doing 'FS' related works, but only 6/7 of them responded. And they said, they have not seen the so called FSF activist 'Anivar' in any of the meetings that were conducted before the conference for its preparation. If Anivar was really passionate about FS, he could have help the CUSAT students to make the exhibition full of Free software stalls (Thus getting rid of the Novell sponsorship/exhibition stall). As kevin commented, these students were at their exam/research time working for this event.

    @ colonel said...

    Dear Kevin and Rakesh, reading your comments, ...

    I agree that I am not a free software geek, but I love its aim. But please comment after understanding what exactly happened there (I was there at that moment). You may please read
    for better understanding...

    @ പ്രവീണ്‍|Praveen aka j4v4m4n said...

    Who do you think will pay for the CDs? Are you willing to fund a Free CD distribution, say during the next conference in Thiruvananthapuram? If you are ready to burn CDs to popularise "LINUX" we don't mind distributing for free.

    I am not an FSF activist but a Linux user for more than 3 years. So I know how to get free CDs to distribute in an exhibition. I will be happy to distribute 'ubuntu' cds if you can arrange one stall in the International conference at Thiruvananthapuram for free of cost, just like what CUSAT arranged for the educational (including ILUG) institutions. Afterall I hope you know the fact that, nowadays even a DVD costs only Rs. 10/- ..

  70. I dont know much about the reason why the linux users are boycotting Novell. So no comments on that. I have visited ilug stall and asked them about the availability of linux cds. before answering to my question one of the volunteer started explaining what free software is. he told me to read the four freedoms that a free software gives to a user. there were some posters highlighting what free software is. He told me about the monthly meeting. Finally he told me that they are selling Debian, some videos, and one more cd(name dont remember). The price of debian was 100Rs for 3DVDs. He told me that if I cannot spend that much money then I can pay only the media cost to get the dvds. they did that to meet their expenses. I bought one Debian dvd set. Both BOSS team and suse team can give the cds for free bcause they already have enough fund. I have used suse once it was very heavy for my system. Now I understand that Free does not mean free of cost.

  71. I'm sorry, but if the protester was associated with BoycottNovell, then they would have been causing enough trouble to warrant being forcibly ejected.

    BN is a bunch of extremists.

  72. @ Anonymous said...

    I dont know much about the reason ... Both BOSS team and suse team can give the cds for free bcause they already have enough fund. I have used suse once it was very heavy for my system. Now I understand that Free does not mean free of cost.

    Thats an utter blunder from you. Let's leave the case of Suse. The Boss dvd is the Linux distribution made from debian/ubuntu. So you are getting the same thing for a newbie. If you are not new to Linux, then you might be knowing how to download and burn 'debian' dvds.
    As one of the person in the ILUG stall said, "we don't need people who are using Linux without knowing it".

  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. Hahhaha, the fun is between OSS community vs. The Big Corporations rather than freeware community vs. The Big Corporations. This is fun but who benefits is people like me who are in between all this and who loves everything that is throwed at his feet. I never seen this behavior in the first 5 years of my Internet surfing era and this 8th year I been using serious computers I see fight between OSS and Bigwigs. I am a Lover of everything and I am telling you this is not good for anyone. MPAA/RIAA eat dust. Rest of them keeps fighting. This is really good to watch. I been a good fan of OSS and freeware and also good shareware softwares that I am willing to buy, but the ridiculous thing is mudslinging between the communities.

  75. I could care less of what Indians do to their own. This is a society that cuts up their women's private parts because only men are allowed to feel pleasure, and allows their people to starve instead of eating cows because one of those cows might be their god. Yep. No sympathy for any of those people.

  76. They say a picture speaks a thousand words.

    Anti Novell posters pasted on Novell's space

    And this is from Anivar's blog , mind you.

    Anivar cries about Novell conspiring with CUSAT to deny Free Software activists the freedom of expression. What about Novell? Shouldn't they too have the right to freedom of expression? What Anivar did was to enroach on Novell's space and deny them the same right and he starts complaining when given a taste of his own medicine. Incredible!

    Put in Novell's shoes, Anivar would have done exactly the same and complained to the CUSAT organisers if it was the other way around that happened, if Novell had pasted their SuSE posters or something like 'BOYCOTT ANIVAR' on top of anything that Anivar was promoting.

    What Anivar did was wrong. Period. But instead he has been trying to garner support by saying this was an attack on Free Software activism, when he should have consulted with the CUSAT organisers before going ahead with his Boycott Novell campaign. If he was running the Conference, would he have tolerated some hotshot pasting boycott posters on one of the main sponsors' advertising space? It takes money to run an event like this, and hence you need sponsors especially when you can hardly expect to recover your initial and subsequent operating expenses with an event like this. Anivar should pay to get his own space and then he can paste whatever he wants instead of trying to get free publicity for his Boycott Novell campaign at the expense of others. As the Free Software activists here were kind enough to point out, its not about freeloading.

    If I may borrow from പ്രവീണ്‍|Praveen aka j4v4m4n and quote something similar
    Can Anivar sponsor the next Conference at Trivandrum? Then he can do whatever he wants and nobody is gonna question his motives or ask him to stop or manhandle him. Simple as that.

  77. Heyy i saw arivind's(boycot novell protestor) blog pointed out before, heyy it was not a positive protest, He stuck boycott novell posters on their stall itself(we talk abt freedom, we should also care abt their freedom ) .

    Protest should be in a positive manner , instead of hurting people at the stall ,the protest might had been in an educative manner.(open forum discussion )
    I criticize Microsoft that doest mean I hav to stick posters on their office wall's!!

    It seems, some people told that they could have an open forum discussion there,but protesters didn't listen!

    It might had been nice if the protesters had educated people at novell stall in a positive manner! iverc

  78. If you care shit about others' freedom, learn to cop some too.

    It is unlawful to go to Novell's stall and paste anti-Novell posters there.

  79. Despite all the brouhaha, I ve yet to see a single image of Anivar Aravind being manhandled by the Kerala Police. Even Anivar says on his blog

    that he was manhandled by the security personnel posted at CUSAT. So where does Kerala Police(or Kochi Police as in the main article here) come into the picture?

    The only reason Anivar Aravind was manhandled was because he pasted his posters on Novell's advertising. And I daresay this unfortunate event wouldn't have happened if Anivar hadn't resorted to pasting posters on Novell's space, denying them their right to freedom of expression. Its not about the protest, it was because of the way he chose to protest. There was no way he could have been manhandled if he had confined his activities to just distributing the anti-Novell posters at the conference and asking interested stall owners to put them up at their respective stalls. Everybody is free to his her opinion, Novell included. All this happened because he chose to deny Novell the right to freedom of expression.

  80. Anti slavery slogans were raised at the slave trade center!
    Any one opposing slave trade is opposing one’s freedom to be in that trade.

  81. HI for those guys who was talking about the Rs 100 that was charged for the CD..its human nature to ignore thing or give less value for thing that you get for free and "Free Software" Its not free Beer its free as in frerdom understand that first rather that complaining about stuff.You guyz could have order for Disc and then distrubuted these Disc at any of the stalls but none of this was done.There would 100's to Complain about things.Rather than complaning take responsiblity.

    I dont understand Why the F#$k are people who doesnot know "ABCD" of computer invited for these kind of conference.

    I am not being on any side for the "Anivar" issue as i dont have a clear idea wat xactly happened there...
    Rather than throwing mud on each others face ...Lets see wat can be done so that these things does not happen again...

  82. So its OK to charge exhorbitantly high prices just because they were indulging in ripping off the public and we weren't? Get real. Citing GNU philosophy as an excuse for ripping off the public isn't exactly going to make Linux very popular.

    Hey, we re not idiots either, Mr. Know It All. CDs and DVDs don't cost that much as were being charged at the Conference and to say that the remainder(total minus media cost) was burning cost is an exaggeration. They were other distros being offered for free(as in free beer) at the Conference. We only said if the idea was to popularise Linux, then why not give it away for free as in free beer? The aim of the Conference WAS to give publicity to and popularise the use of Free and Open Source Software, not a set-up-your-stall-and-get-rich-quick trade expo. BOSS and Novell were giving it away for free as in free beer at the Conference. OK, so citing Novell can flame some tempers. Lets remain politically correct. Why not Ubuntu? Or even Fedora, for that matter? Never heard of the Fedora Project? And you think we are ignorant? See if you can visit the next Conference at Thiruvananthapuram and study the macro economics of one can distribute Linux free of cost, as in free beer.

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