[Fsf-friends] Free Software User Groups in Colleges

Ramanraj K ramanraj.k@gmail.com
Sun Aug 7 14:33:26 IST 2005

Yesterday,  there  was  a   FOSS  Awareness  Program  at  Shri  Sairam
Engineering  College, Chennai,  for 3rd  year students,  and I  gave a
short  talk  on Free  Software  User Groups  as  member  of ILUGC  and
FSF-India.  The  Principal of the College was  very enthusiastic about
the NRC  plans and  highlighted the self-employment  possibilities and
other  opportunities  available  with  free software.   Less  than  10
students knew about Gnu/Linux OS, and  much less had even heard of RMS
or Linus Torvalds.  At the end,  about half of them raised their hands
when asked if  they would opt for the FOSS  Elective the next semester

I wish  NRC could  organise these awareness  programs on the  style of
LDD's organised by ilugc as one day events more like an open house for
one and all,  including the public also.  Notes about  one such LDD is
at:    http://www.chennailug.org/meeting/minutes/yr2004/momlf2004.html
and the archives have more such stories.

If there is atleast one  Free Software User Group, in each Engineering
College, it could benefit many.

Rick Moen  has written  an excellent and  useful user group  HOWTO at:

"[The] movement has no central structure, bureaucracy, or other entity
to direct its  affairs. While this situation has  advantages, it poses
challenges  for  allocation of  human  resources, effective  advocacy,
public relations, user education, and training."


Linux works precisely  because people are free to come  and go as they
please:   Free  programmers  are   happy  programmers   are  effective

Academic freedom and coding  freedom make good companions. User Groups
when  organised  in  Colleges  maintaining  the core  essence  of  the
movement, it could solve many other problems too:

-Education would become directly relevant to needs in society
-Enables life-long continuity for students to update themselves
-Better interaction with Public is possible
-Knowledge based societies would become a reality

That apart, many colleges are  using proprietary packages and there is
a need  to replace existing  proprietary software with  free software.
Let us please have a wiki page at ILUGC to list "equivalents".  HTH.


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