Why I do not participate in GNUnify

Earlier this year (2003), I was invited by the organisers of GNUnify, Pune, to attend their event to speak there.

Subsequently, Richard Stallman also confirmed his presence there. A few days later, I received a note from the organisers, requesting me to to tell them what I would be talking about at the event.

Because of the current interest being shown by industry and governments in Linux and OpenSource, I replied that I would speak on the use of Linux and OpenSource in eGovernance and on the Corporate Desktop.

I *then* received a note requesting me not to use the term “OpenSource” at the event, as it would “offend” people there.

I realised what was going on, but clearly stated that I did not subscribe to the pseudo “OpenSource is not free software” party line being offered by some people, and that as far as I was concerned, I regarded OpenSource and Free Software as different names for the same thing. However, I also very clearly stated that I acknowledge Free Software as much as I acknowledge OpenSource (see my whitepaper to the Government of India for an example).

I was then told (in effect) that I had to drop the term OpenSource or I would not be able to speak at the event.

I, out of principle, do not encourage the pseudo-politics being perpetrated by people who propagate non-tolerance,hate and exclusion of other people’s beliefs (in matters of technology, society or religion), and I completely reject the non-tolerant and divisive policies that put up the members of the community against each other by preaching that (in effect) the name “Open Source” is as bad as “Microsoft” in this context.

I therefore thanked them for their invitation, and declined to speak at the event, as was expected of me.

Note: Several people have asked me to publish the relevant emails as well. However, unlike some people, I consider email messages private, and do not republish them unless they are previously published by the other party.

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