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03.29.09

ODF Award Insults the Community, Rewards Proponent of Non-Free Software (Corrected)

Posted in Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Windows at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An ODF award is granted to a man who seems to have harmed Free software and contributed little or nothing to ODF

THE ODF Alliance has just announced the winners of an award for contribution to OpenDocument Format (ODF), but there must have been some horrible mistake. In order to understand why, background and some history are necessary.

For those who are well familiar with the matters in India, skipping to the second part is advised.

Background

One subject that we covered in the past are Free(dom) software proponents in India who get sacked or pressured out for doing their job, which is to advance technology in the interest of the Indian people. Some neo-imperialists or digital colonialists (and locals whom they liaise/conspire with) are not particularly happy about such Free software proponents, obviously. They even frown upon and harass professors who watch their country being looted and offer their humble, technical opinion.

Links to extensive articles with evidence from the press are already there for those who need to catch up, so it would be wasteful to repeat what has happened, even though it’s tempting.

“…Microsoft is ousting ‘problematic’ and charismatic people in India, putting “Trojan horses” in their places.”At the moment, based on what we’ve seen, Microsoft is ousting ‘problematic’ and charismatic people in India, putting “Trojan horses” in their places. It is a typical and familiar maneuver that we’ve seen in other places, Massachusetts included.

Microsoft has not only done the same thing in ISO, which it brutally corrupted. The convicted monopolist is doing it at the moment even inside ODF where it is planting henchmen like Jesper Lund Stocholm and employees like Doug Mahugh [1, 2]. Alex Brown is watching from nearby as well.

What is their purpose?

Obviously, it is to instill more Microsoft influence inside disruptive rivals and then pretend that any opposition to them come from “zealots” or somesuch. It’s a defence mechanism similar to the “hater” label — a form of stigmatisation [1, 2] (“Microsoft hater” is the new “terrorist”, no matter how many crimes Microsoft committed to justify polite criticism and skepticism).

Microsoft always tries to devour the competition by intruding it and then extending and extinguishing it [1, 2, 3]. This time is no exception as Microsoft is invading the ODF scene, trying to make it more of its own, but at the same time advancing OOXML and publicly characterising it as superior. Using its sympathetic figures that gradually get appointed to replace those whom Microsoft expelled, they may try to push Microsoft software under the claim that it 'supports' ODF. They throw away freedom from this debate, too, having already hijacked "open source".

Microsoft is always pretending to be your friend (see the comments), even when they sue you and try to ban you. As Microsoft’s Jim Allchin once said, “We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.” (emphasis is ours)

Who is Anvar Sadath?

Anvar Sadath is among those who received an award from the ODF Alliance and this is bizarre for so many reasons. It has already led to an outage in India and we shall come to it in a moment.

Anvar Sadath is an MSDN user who also worked in a company where he used .NET. He is basically a Windows developer (in 2007 he used Windows 98) and his title is “Senior Software Engineer, .NET COE.”

To quote some more, Anvar Sadath “was part of the .NET COE team and since then there was no looking back as the organization implanted in me focus on innovation and taught me smart business practices.” (correction: this is a different Anvar Sadath, see comments)

He is mentioned in this article about Indian schools which says: “After attaining e-literacy, the individual would be able to use word processing, gaming, and entertainment programs, and use the Internet for e-mail, browsing, chatting, and so on. Those who have achieved basic e-literacy could enrol in advanced programmes such as e-Vidya-Microsoft Office Package, Internet for all, Arabic typing tutor, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Programme, and more.”

This is all classic EDGI — the programme for “addicting” children in India [1, 2], to paraphrase Bill Gates. They want those children stuck with Microsoft, thus helpless, divided and unable to help their local economy, let alone themselves.

How can apologists of a company that constantly fights against ODF and Free software using blackmail, smear campaigns, lawsuits and bribes receive an award from the ODF Alliance? Some people call for it to be retracted. Microsoft’s great zealotry against people’s desire for independence is glaringly obvious, so this is hardly acceptable. “Ask them to contact odf alliance , and protest to get back the award,” said one of our readers from India.

Backlash

Other messages that we found in India are not much better off. Here is the most informative messages among the bunch (from the secretary of FSFI):

Dear Friends,

It was really shocking to see the press release from ODF alliance which has attributed the entire credit for promotion of ODF in the schools of Kerala wrongly to Mr. Anvar Sadath. Giving credits wrongly can be discouraging and painful to those who had done the real work. There are several hundreds of people in Kerala whose painstaking effort and dedication lead to the integration of Free Software and ODF in the schools of Kerala. It has a long history starting from year 2001.

Today we find that ODF alliance has credited the entire work to one person who had no role to play in the process. ODF alliance should have recognised the real individuals who worked for what we see as IT@school today.

You should have recognised Sri V. S Achuthandan, Chief Minister of Kerala ( Opposition leader then), whose political endorsement lead to the introduction of free software and ODF in the schools of Kerala.

You should have recognised hundreds of teachers who took the pain to learn and promote Free Software and ODF. Without their political courage nothing would have happend.

You should have recognised Mr. Biju Prabhakar, the former director of IT @school who initiated the introduction of FS and ODF in Schools of Kerala.

You should have recognised Mr. V K Sasidharan, who was the leading master trainer whose leadership brought together the entire change.

You should have recognised volunteers of Free Software community who communicated the importance of digital freedom in the schools of Kerala.

It’s a shame that a community organisation like ODF alliance could not to recognise the real heroes of this project. This press release can be seen only as a black humor.

“Anvar Sadath has bridged the digital divide in Kerala,” commented the ODF Alliance’s Marcich. “He was among the first to recognize that an open format like ODF means giving students, teachers, and parents alike the flexibility to use a wide range of software than they currently have, including free solutions. Just as importantly, Sadath translated ideas into actions for the benefit of educational development in Kerala.”

I would like to know how this statement can be substantiated. May be I’m missing something here! I would like to hear from you all.

Says one person:

Anwar is a bureaucrat came on top of IT@School project before 2 years. Actual Free Software & Open standards Adoption was done Much before that

Crediting an Individual who tried to Introduce windows and Photoshop in Completely Free Software powered schools (in the name of some e-gov works http://www.gnu.org.in/fsf-india-sends-letter-to-education-minister-of ) is now awarded in the name of a collective effort done by other people..

He was also part of Controversial Information Kerala Mission Project which tried to Computerise all Local self Goverments with Microsoft Technmology.. At that time he wrote a lot of articles defending MIcrosoft when Free Software Foundation Criticized them

These are the Trojan Horses.. Target Them..

Another person adds:

We need to Push ODF Alliance to provide the rationale for Blanket statements like “Anvar Sadath is bridged digital divide in Kerala”

They must explain that.

And another:

As far as I know from my experience with teachers, Freedom was the primary motivation in promoting Free Software. I suspect this is an effort to push proprietary software implementing ODF, using the momentum the community have built up in the past years with their hard work. If people look carefully, they can easily see, who would benefit from such a move.

I tend to think the quote below is true, because he may be first one to see the potential of “the flexibility to use a wide range of software than they currently have, including free solutions”. We adopted OpenOffice.org much before ODF came, in the days of sxw, because it was Free Software.

Lastly:

Crediting a bureaucrat who pushed to Introduce windows and Photoshop in Completely Free Software powered schools using his power position(in the name of some e-gov works http://www.gnu.org.in/fsf-india-sends-letter-to-education-minister-of ) is now awarded in the name of a collective effort done by other people & Departments like SCERT who designed the syllabus. I Dont have a problem if it is awarded to IT@school Project because it worth it.

Having electronic systems at schools is one thing, but if those systems are used as tools of suppression that turn children and their data into hostages for some foreign companies, then this can do more harm than good. It creates a dangerous dependence that cannot be afforded and therefore harms the economy in the long term.

The Latest Yahoo! Lesson

What we find above are Trojan horses that Microsoft can use, just like it did with Yahoo quite recently. We covered a lot of this before and here is the latest development:

Microsoft’s new search team is starting to look a lot like Yahoo’s old one. In just the latest example, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has brought on Jan Pedersen, a Yahoo search veteran, to be chief scientist of Live Search, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. Pedersen, who most recently worked at Amazon.com’s a9.com search subsidiary, spent several years as the chief scientist for the search and advertising technology group at Yahoo, according to his website.

This is also covered here and here. On the one hand, Microsoft ‘steals’ Yahoo’s staff and on the other hand it agitates and empties Yahoo until it becomes dysfunctional and thus can be conquered too.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

                 – George Santayana

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30 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

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    The ODF Alliance needs to be big about this and admit their mistake, politely rescind the award and grant it to a person who has actually promoted open standards.

  2. vinod kurian said,

    March 29, 2009 at 11:21 am

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    IT@school in Kerala is a great Free Software Project which actively Promoted Free Software and Open standards much before ODF coming to existence. as some users already pointed ODF alliance need to take back the award to anvar sadath and award it to IT@school project .

  3. Michael Tiemann said,

    March 29, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Gravatar

    You might consider leaving a comment at http://www.odfalliance.org/blog/index.php/site/odf_alliance_awards/ and see what happens.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Gravatar

    This is already in ODF Planet, so they are aware.

  5. Anvar sadath said,

    March 30, 2009 at 1:31 am

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    Kindly note that the Anvar sadath you have mentioned ( http://www.technosoftcorp.com/know_employee.htm) is not me, and don’t put the work of all Anvar Sadath’s to my shoulder.

    This artile is highly misleading and deformative. So i request you to withdraw it.

    Please see my Brief Profile
    Anvar Sadath presently is the Executive Director of IT@School Project, (www.itschool.gov.in) which has remodelled conventional teaching methodologies in classrooms through use of Information & Communication Technologies. Under this programme over 3.0 million students are being trained in IT in a year. Apart from having provided Broadband Internet to all schools Anvar heads the satellite based education (EDUSAT) initiatives in the state. IT@School project runs an exclusive educational channel called ‘ViCTERS’ (Virtual Classroom Technology on Edusat for Rural Schools) under his leadership.
    Apart from doing the academic activities Anvar Positioned IT@School as the nodal agency for e-Governence in General Education Department and lead the implementation of several e-Governance programmes. Anvar Sadath is the nodal officer in Kerala for the implementation of “ICT in School Scheme” of Govt of India. It was during his tenure with IT@school that the state has conducted first IT Practical examination exclusively on FOSS where 1.5 million attended the examination simultaneously.
    Before taking up the present assignments, Anvar was working as the Director of Akshaya the tele-center project, ( http://www.akshaya.net) where he was responsible for establishing Rural Internet Connectivity Infrastructure deployment in addition to imparting computer literacy to 6.4 million families through 3000 tele-centers. He was also heading the UNDP supported e-Krishi project , ( http://www.e-krishi.org) which is a Market-led Agricultural Initiative through IT-enabled Agri Business Centres. He has also worked as the e-Governance, Manager of Kerala State IT Mission ( http://www.keralaitmission.org) and during that period the Govt of Kerala has announced its renounced ICT Policy that was exclusively on FOSS
    He is a Member in the Director Board of Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE), an organization committed to ICT applications in community space using FOSS in India.
    He is a regular columnist in Malayalam magazines dealing with ICT related subjects. He was the sole invitee from a non-APEC Country to attend the APEC ( Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation) Telecom Working group conference held at new Zealand during October 2006. He has authored five books in Science and ICT field and got Science Literature Award 2005 instituted by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Hi,

    I’ve removed the bits that accidentally link to the profile of a different Anvar Sadath.

    Fullkitten Reply:

    Anvar claims certain achievements are to be credited to his profile. (http://boycottnovell.com/2009/03/29/odf-award-insults-freedom/comment-page-1/#comment-61189) Let’s take one by one.
    1. Anvar Sadath presently is the Executive Director of IT@School Project, (www.itschool.gov.in) which has remodelled conventional teaching methodologies in classrooms through use of Information & Communication Technologies.
    Of course, he is the ED of IT@School now. He took office only in 2006 when the former ED (Mr. Biju Prabhakar, IAS) was appointed as Sub Collector. He was an employee working in Kerala State IT Mission. IT@School was really a vision of a committee appointed for that purpose which had clearly stated that ICT should be used to remodel conventional teaching methodologies in classrooms. This was in the year 2000. Accordingly, a project was constituted under the leadership of Smt. Roschen Sasikumar, a Scientist who had been working in the Regional Research Laboratories. When the Government changed, she was replaced by Mr. Biju Prabhakar. It was Mr. Biju Prabhakar who took initiatives in renovating the entire project. He was behind the decision to include IT as a subject in High School classes. It was he who coordinated the Master Trainers for helping the SCERT in preparing learning materials. He was the only one behind implementing technology in evaluating students’ achievement in IT skills.
    In the beginning, he was after proprietary software. (Later, it came to light that this was due to his belief that free software is not practical in schools) VS, the then opposition leader, KSTA, the leading teachers’ organisation in Kerala and many other individuals and organisations exerted immense pressure to switch to free software. Any how, it was during his tenure that migration to free software commenced in schools. After this, he took much pain to prove that this decision to migrate was right.
    2. Apart from having provided Broadband Internet to all schools Anvar heads the satellite based education (EDUSAT) initiatives in the state. IT@School project runs an exclusive educational channel called ‘ViCTERS’ (Virtual Classroom Technology on Edusat for Rural Schools) under his leadership.
    All these programmes had started far before his taking office. It was during his predecessor Mr. Biju Prabhakar that the EDUSAT programme and ViCTORS channel came into existance. When Mr. Biju left office, for a short period, another person from the office of the DPI was in charge of the Executive Director. Then came Mr. Anvar Sadath. So, is there any point in assigning the entire credit to Mr. Anvar Sadat? In fact, he was only pulling on the on going programmes.
    3. Apart from doing the academic activities Anvar Positioned IT@School as the nodal agency for e-Governence in General Education Department and lead the implementation of several e-Governance programmes. Anvar Sadath is the nodal officer in Kerala for the implementation of “ICT in School Scheme” of Govt of India.
    The real statement should be: Instead of doing the academic activities Anvar sympathetically tried to position IT@School as the nodal agency for e-Governence in General Education Department and lead the implementation of a few e-Governance programmes.
    Here, we should understand that even though the schools are completely migrated to free software now, all his e-Governance programmes are based on proprietary software. Software for transfer of Head Masters, software for Youth Festival etc are prepared on MS platform. Anvar Sadath, since he is the Executive Director, is the nodal officer in Kerala for the implementation of “ICT in School Scheme” of Govt of India. But the question is whether he has accomplished something to remodel conventional teaching methodologies in classrooms through the use of ICT as depicted by the project. Sad to say, a try out carried out in a few schools to use some micro controller devices for the teaching of science was left half way. The project is now paralysed even in developing appropriate content materials to support the new curriculum. Even the support materials are out sourced to C-DIT. This expression of incapability is when he has claimed that he has positioned IT@School as the nodal agency for e-Governence! Let there be something to govern first.
    4. It was during his tenure with IT@school that the state has conducted first IT Practical examination exclusively on FOSS where 1.5 million attended the examination simultaneously.
    This is a funny claim. The first IT practical examination software was prepared and implemented in March 2006. At that time, both Windows and Linux coexisted in schools. It was only in 2007 that the entire schools completed migration to free software. So, it was mandatory for him to conduct the examination exclusively on FOSS. (Even if he wished otherwise, he could not have)
    5. Anvar was working as the Director of Akshaya the tele-center project, ( http://www.akshaya.net) where he was responsible for establishing Rural Internet Connectivity Infrastructure deployment in addition to imparting computer literacy to 6.4 million families through 3000 tele-centers.
    This was a government project. At a later stage, Anvar was assigned duty there. This has nothing to do with FOSS or ODF. The entire training that was given to the said families was in Microsoft Windows. It was after his leaving the project that now a few free software trainings are going on.

  6. Anvar sadath said,

    March 30, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks for correcting my profile.

    One more Clarification :

    ” He is mentioned in this article about Indian schools which says: “After attaining e-literacy, the individual would be able to use word processing, gaming, and entertainment programs, and use the Internet for e-mail, browsing, chatting, and so on. Those who have achieved basic e-literacy could enrol in advanced programmes such as e-Vidya-Microsoft Office Package, Internet for all, Arabic typing tutor, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Programme, and more.”

    This is all classic EDGI — the programme for “addicting” children in India [1, 2], to paraphrase Bill Gates. They want those children stuck with Microsoft, thus helpless, divided and unable to help their local economy, let alone themselves. ”

    It was not about IT@School programme, but about a well-known community kiosk project called “Akshaya” ( http://www.akshaya.net ). I was heading this project just before taking up the present assignments and introduced Open Office based e-Vidya replacing MS Word.

    It seems that you are totally ignorant about the ‘Akshaya’ programme, which was the rarest of its kind to bridge the digital divide and MS has nothing to do with it.

    “ Having electronic systems at schools is one thing, but if those systems are used as tools of suppression that turn children and their data into hostages for some foreign companies, then this can do more harm than good. It creates a dangerous dependence that cannot be afforded and therefore harms the economy in the long term. “

    Its a 100 % baseless allegation.

    All schools in Kerala are using Free Software and all the e-Governance Applications developed / deployed by IT@School are ( and will be ) on Free Software only. Please visit http://www.itschool.gov.in for further clarification.

  7. Syed Shabuddin said,

    March 30, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Gravatar

    This blog is an absolute hash of facts.

    The blog claims that the issue has caused outrage in India. I guess this can be true if the definition of outrage is mails from 2 people being sent out.

    By hook or crook, the blog tries to do character assassination of the awardee by linking him to all kinds of profile and to any Anvar who has ever worked in Microsoft or its related organizations. They might as well have declared the awardee to be from Al Quaida.

    It is sad to see the misuse of Internet and of Freedom. In the name of freedom, people can vilify others, and turn personal disagreements into public vendatta.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve already corrected the post by removing the reference to another man with the same name.

    The outrage involved a lot more than “2 people” (downplaying) and there is nothing about “Al Quaida” (exaggeration).

    Dan O'Brian Reply:

    Roy: Considering that you have epically failed at providing evidence to the contrary, I tend to believe him more than you – he’s actually *there* and you have a history of pulling “facts” out of your proverbial.

    E.g. “A secret source, whom I trust very much, has provided me with information that I’m not allowed to publish that says I’m right”

  8. flesh said,

    March 30, 2009 at 6:48 am

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    Anvar, this is march end. You must be doing other things!

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Gravatar

    The ODF Alliance has responded thusly:

    Hello Arun: Thanks for the feedback. I can appreciate the intense interest in the award given the considerable efforts of so many who helped make the IT@School project a reality.

    To be considered for the ODF Alliance Award, an individual or entity (project) must first be nominated. Anvar Sadath was nominated and received the award as an individual in recognition of the IT@School project. We did not receive a nomination for the IT@School project itself or any other individual involved in the IT@School project. Regretfully, we are unable to issue awards to people or projects that aren’t nominated. Though there were a number of worthy candidates in this category (education) around the world and we regret not being able to recognize their work, we felt and continue to believe that the nomination received for Mr Sadath in recognition of the IT@School project was the best.

    There was considerable discussion regarding open source in the emails that followed. Please note as well that the award is for work done on ODF, not open source. ODF is not the “OpenOffice format” (while recognizing its origins), nor is it open source or even software for that matter. It is an open standard for document formats that can be implemented in both open source and proprietary software. It is “free” in the sense that it is freely available for implementation and use. Importantly, it comes with the “freedom” to choose from among many implementations, including but not limited to open source, and the freedom to migrate to a different brand of software if desired.

    We recognize that any significant change of the kind witnessed in Kerala involves a team effort and the actions of hundreds of individuals. This award is a global recognition of the teaching community in Kerala and its many achievements. In the write-up of the project we would be happy to acknowledge the many people involved in this effort. We hope that you and others in this community can share in the award in the spirit in which it was intended. Sincerely,

    Marino Marcich

    ODF Alliance

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Anivar Aravind writes:

    Dear Marino,

    I just want to point time line of IT@school Project & Its ODF Adoption for your clarity .

    2004: Free Software Implementation in 8th Standard IT@school Project. Document Standard is sxw . Text books mentions Both Windows & GNU/Linux. IT@school Project Director is Biju Prabhakar . SCERT Started Developing Free Software Only Text Books under the leadership of Satyapalan sir. Software FREE Software Foundation is Training Teachers with the support of Kerala School Teachers Association . IT@school uses a Debian Based Custom Distribution made by Vimal Joseph

    2005: 9th Standard syllabus Completly moves to Free Software. Text books Only Covers Free Software. Document Standard SXW IT@school Director: Biju Prabhakar IT@School decided to move to new Debian sarge based Distribution. IT@school Initates EDUSAT under the leadership of Biju Prabhakar

    2006: 10th stanadrd also migrates to Free Software. New IT@school Distribution based on Debian Sarge included Open Office 2.0 (Which support ODF because of the peer pressure from Teachers) . Texts books were developed by SCERT covers this Change in Curriculam. IT@school Director : Biju Prabhakar ( he is left in 2006 August) SCERT ‘s Team head : Satyapalan Sir (retired in May 2006 after the Text book based on new Distribution & ODF i ready) . Next IT@School Director was Sankaranarayanan (short term) and then it was under DPI’s control

    Anwar Sadath Comes as IT@school director after this.. After all the ODF adoption is happened. Also it is worth to mention that ODF adoption is a Logical Followup of Open Office adoption happened in 2004

    Also it is worth to note that Kerala State Issued IT Policy in 2007 which clearly adopted ODF . Kerala Become first state in India adopted this change. Policy discussion were started in 2006 itself. Also Kerala was the only state which wrote to BIS to vote against OOXML in ISO Standardisation Process

    Based on the above facts you can clealy identify that Anvar does not have any role in ODF adoption too. I consider this as a clear example of how award committees were misleaded by getting partial information. I just want to ask ODF alliance that what ODF related activity you have seen to award Mr. Anvar sadath.

    I consider the campaign for IT@schools Free Software Adoption (ODF also Comes as a part of that) is something similar to the fight against OOXML in ISO . Alot of people amoung us were part of both of these campaigns . Both vere bottom Up collective eforts by a lot of people without central Coordination Force. Biju Prabhakar & Satyapalan sir understood that spirit in IT@School and facilitated the change. What will be the reponse if someone decided to award Sun’s CEO for fight againt OOXML .

    ODF Alliance says you awarded person X for the act A . But Above facts proves that Act ‘A’ was done by another persons Y&Z . X was not on picture for that change. You can provide technical reasons of absence/mistake in Nomination by an ODF alliance member as a face saving reason. But It again points to the credibility of award and the verification of Facts by award commitee. We were trying to raise the issue in front of ODF Alliance because we value the contributions of your Organisation. we consider you act as a responsible organisation, which will take corrective measures, if the nomination sent by one of its member is misleading by providing only partial information. I really appreatiate the positive steps you suggested. I hope arun & Others must have a say on it.

  10. Anivar Aravind said,

    March 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Mail From Arun

    Dear Mario,

    I appreciate the work being done by ODF Alliance, and importance of that organisation.
    I can also understand the difficulties involved while evaluating/verifying projects from several different countries.

    Anivar has layed out facts behind IT@School project and indicated persons responsible for each stage.
    From mail sent by Anwar Sadath, I understand that he was submitting the application on behalf IT@School and not on
    his behalf (Anwar pls correct if I am wrong). May be award committee mistook it for a representation from an individual.
    If you go through the document sent by Anvar (which he mentioned as the document he had given to the committee) he
    did not make any personal claims of leadership (in ODF adoption). All the activities mentioned in that document
    happened under the leadership of Mr Biju Prabhakar IAS in IT@School and Prof Satyapalan in SCERT.

    I suggest that ODF Alliance revise the citation to recognise agencies like IT@School, SCERT, teachers who worked
    for the the change, individuals like Mr Biju Prabhakar and Prof Satyapalan who lead the work, along with
    Anwar Sadath, current Director, IT@School.

    I think that credibility of an award depends on its genuineness. And we want ODF allience to be above doubts.
    As you also know I clearly understand the difference between free software, open source and ODF. That is the reason
    I said ODF was incidental to IT@School project. We would have happily lived with old staroffice format if
    there was no free software implementation of ODF. May be most important contribution of Kerala to ODF was
    recognition of ODF in policy document and letter state had sent to BIS on its position. Venky and others know the history.

    This incident also highlights some weakness of process of ODF Award. A more open process would
    had helped all of us from this kind of embarrassing position.

    Since every one agrees with the fact that it is IT@School deserves this recognition (please voice your difference, if any)
    as a corrective step we can work together to improve the citation of the award. If you need any help some in this group
    who knows entire project can volunteer.

    Thank you for the positive note, and we take this award in good spirit. This award will be a major recognition to IT@School, and all the teachers, officials and volunteers who worked years for this.

    Warmly,
    Arun.

    Rajesh Reply:

    Dear Mr.Arun,
    I have gone through all the comments related to the ODF award and I feel it is wrong to make an issue from a non-issue. When a person who has done some sincere efforts to make a programme to international acclaim, crticising and trying to malign him is a habit of malayalees. Why should we expose our habit to the international community. All works are of team efforts and have contribution of hundreds of people. How can an award be split and give to many. Normaly, that be given to who is on the helm. Try to take things in good spirit and do good works.You will also get good rewards at the right time. My humble request is to give a full stop to this and try to do positive and creative work for the community.

    Anivar Aravind Reply:

    “All works are of team efforts and have contribution of hundreds of people.” why Anvar sadath trying to individualize achievements of this collective effort without contributing nothing to it.

    This become an issue because of Following 3 reasons.

    1. Anvar Sadath failed in using the opportunity to act as a Responsible IT@school Director . He didn’t communicated The achievements are of the project as a collective effort. He tried to individualize achievements of collective effort

    2. Anvar Sadath failed in using the possible opportunity of Crediting Teachers community & Project on the acceptance quote of ODF Press release. He again tried to make it as his own recognition by providing partial information to award committee

    3. Anvar Sadath Issued a press statement to Local media in Kerala in which he projects the award as his personal achievement. He can at least say that this is a recognition to teachers community in Kerala.

  11. Aravind said,

    March 31, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Gravatar

    I am a member of IT@School team since its inception as a Master trainer, and I would like to make a comment on this.

    Its true that continuity was there in all activities of IT@School project regarding Free Software adoption. But in 2006 after Biju Prabhakar sir left the organisation, there was a serious gap in the leadership for almost one year and we all were under the impression that this project is going to sink.

    Anvar Sir took charge as Executive Director at this time and he with all his dynamism and commitment he rejuvenated the project with more innovation and diversification.

    We were skeptical about the IT Practical in Free Software alone at that time, because there were no teacher training programme in 2007 and any set backs or lack of support might affect the credibility of the examination where 5 lakhs students involved. But Anvar sir took a bold stand and took us in to absolute confidence , we all fought like in a war front to make it happen. Because up to 2007 we have given choice for both Windows and Linux for IT Practical examination and only 6 schools opted Linux at that time. This IT Practical Examination in 2008 March , exclusively on Free Software, was actually a revolutionary steps in the Free Software Adoption in schools. Because as we all know, text books and Theory Classes won’t ensure the actual usage, but if you have practical evaluation the usage will rise like anything. We cannot take this as mere a natural progression, because we all know what happened in the Upper Primary implementation during that period.

    Anvar Sir also diversified the activities of IT@School project. Earlier days our work was concentrated only on GNU/Linux Training and it was for High Schools. Under his leadership the Project was extended to Upper Primary and Higher secondary as well. All schools were provided with broadband Internet connection, Laptops etc. Hardware Clinics and ICT scheme has revolutionized the ICT infrastructure in schools. The prevailing Applications like SSLC A List, Single Window etc that were in Proprietary platform has now converted to Free Software. All these implementation were in free Software and now it’s really became a reality in our schools.

    I am not surprised to see the efforts of 2-3 people to isolate him from this history part. I remember, he was in charge of our IT@School GNU/Linux distribution in Kerala IT Mission ( 2005-06) and we used to discuss with him regarding this. How can we say that getting recognition to the head of a project denies other’s involvement ? how can those people like Mr Arun can judge the activities of project ?

    Do these guys have true belief in Mr Biju Prabhakar and his involvement ? I had personally witnessed the underground work they had done to tarnish his image many times since then. These people even had taken ( stolen) Biju sir’s personal emails from his laptop and produced before the media, alleging wrong deals. It’s a miracle how he overcame these conspiracies. Shall I produce some proof for that ?

    In short, we the entire IT@School team are happy for getting this recognition and we humbly request outsiders like Mr Arun and Mr Anivar Aravind to concentrate more on some meaningful works.. We also request you to spare our project from such meaningless controversies.

    Happy Hacking,

    Aravind

  12. Dhaneh Rajendran said,

    March 31, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Gravatar

    I am not a party to this whole Episode of Jealousy, Selfishness and arrogance of the so called committed activists of FSF in Kerala. They are preaching Free and Inclusive Society, but practising Selfishness, Arrogance, and Corruption in appointments in Kerala.

    I would like to invite all of your attention to the facts given below,

    • Arun and his two three friends are pretending to be promoters of FSF in Kerala, but many a times press people reported that he is using Apple, getting jobs and cash incentives for his voluntary works
    • Recently his wife has joined with Kerala Institute of Design through back door, as there are so many NID professionals here, she has the qualification of taking a diploma course from a Panchayath Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and was working in NID as guest lecturer for two months
    • Arun’s father was working in Keltron, through that link he got acquainted with Present IT Secretary, for the cause of misleading his, he is not out of IT Mission with the instruction of Secretary IT and the beloved Chief Minister
    • Arun was the special officer for International Centre for FOSS, Govt of Kerala has sanctioned Rs.50 lakhs for the same in 2007-08 financial year, till date he failed to start a single work for that project, and no such centre came to existence in Kerala
    • There is another project running with the support of IT Mission, called Insight or so, that has been made the centre for SPACE his back end activity centre in the name of blind people
    • Arun and his mates tried to plagurise the IT policy preparation in Kerala and himself and his allies are now out of Mission and advisory positions
    • Arun has to understand a fact that, pretending to be an advisor is very easy, but it is very difficult to work on something and to make that happen in the grassroots level
    • Here using the FSF, Arun has got plenty of govt money with him (though now he is out of office), he managed to get his wife posted through back door, acted over smart as advisor to IT mission and other agencies, even though he has not implemented a single successful project.
    • I doubt, these people are getting advantages out of big MNCs working in the Open source front, as a person who influenced govt to get his wife posted, he cannot keep him away from the offers of big companies. Character is the Man. Here he proved vulnerable and making influences for his wife and friends, Is this socialism??? Is this Free and Inclusive Knowledge Economy???
    • He got posted with IT dept without any interview, as Special Officer, Is this is the fashion to be kept for Appointments in Govt?? Is this the freedom of the Common man to Know about any job openings in the state???

    This is the same old story of ‘Grapes’ and ‘Jackal’.

    Let us give these people some awards for their great works for consoling them!!!!!!!!

    Deepa Paul Reply:

    Just to Prevent People from getting misleader by smudge campaign by Anvar Sadath & team

    • Arun and his two three friends are pretending to be promoters of FSF in Kerala, but many a times press people reported that he is using Apple, getting jobs and cash incentives for his voluntary works

    Can you tell me who all are these 2-3 friends.
    You can read Arun’s reply to that Indian Express report (also part of the efforts to move him from official positions.) here . He used an Macbook owned by ITMission at that time in which ubuntu is installed I dont know What are the Job & Cash Incentives you are talking about. But Do underatsnad that Free Software is not Free Meal.

    • Recently his wife has joined with Kerala Institute of Design through back door, as there are so many NID professionals here, she has the qualification of taking a diploma course from a Panchayath Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and was working in NID as guest lecturer for two months

    Non Issue.
    NID is one of the pioneer Institutes in India. I dont think it is negative to appoint a person with NID experience in newly starting KID. Why arun needs to be blamed for his partners job in a non-free software field? Anyway it is not related to the discussion here

    • Arun’s father was working in Keltron, through that link he got acquainted with Present IT Secretary, for the cause of misleading his, he is not out of IT Missiont brin with the instruction of Secretary IT and the beloved Chief Minister

    Please dont bring conspiracy stories again.. Arun’s father must be worked some where. But Does it affect his identity? As FSFI secretry he have the power to raise his voice

    • Arun was the special officer for International Centre for FOSS, Govt of Kerala has sanctioned Rs.50 lakhs for the same in 2007-08 financial year, till date he failed to start a single work for that project, and no such centre came to existence in Kerala

    Arun Already responded to this in FSF Friends list long back

    In His own words

    f you can spend 10 Rs and some time, you can get the details of
    responsibilities given to me
    and how i delivered my responsibilities(under RTI). And I’ve been working
    in KSITM only for last 4 month, too little time to make any change in
    government.
    (interestingly process for the appointment started in some time early
    2007, how fast is our govt ;) )

    I wanted to have the power to ensure that policy is implemented.
    Unfortunatelly I was
    not given that.

    • There is another project running with the support of IT Mission, called Insight or so, that has been made the centre for SPACE his back end activity centre in the name of blind people

    It is a Centre for Visually Impaired powered with Free Software. They Introduced Orca , Festival & Espeak based solutions for Blind people in Kerala. It saved a lot of states money which used to eat by proprietary Product called JAWS.

    • Arun and his mates tried to plagurise the IT policy preparation in Kerala and himself and his allies are now out of Mission and advisory positions

    Funny allegation. People can easily understand it if they read the policy

    • Arun has to understand a fact that, pretending to be an advisor is very easy, but it is very difficult to work on something and to make that happen in the grassroots level

    And If they achieved something New Anvar Sadath’s will sabotage the history by providing misleading informations to award commitees

    • Here using the FSF, Arun has got plenty of govt money with him (though now he is out of office), he managed to get his wife posted through back door, acted over smart as advisor to IT mission and other agencies, even though he has not implemented a single successful project.

    aaah … You dont have anything else to say ? Those who knows about FSF & FSF India understands how difficult is their functioning because
    money constrains

  13. Ramu kuttyadi said,

    March 31, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Gravatar

    haha..very funny! Reading the last two posts by Aravind and Dhanesh shows the deplorable state of Anvar Sadath! You guys have reached below sea level.

  14. benjamin said,

    March 31, 2009 at 4:42 am

    Gravatar

    I was just wondering if anybody asked Arun’s personal history here! When somebody tries to have a creative discussion about some serious issue, dont deviate from the main topic.

  15. suresh said,

    March 31, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Gravatar

    Roy, pl. remove the comment by Dhaneh Rajendran.It is slanderous to the core.

    Mr. Anwar Sadath was writing paeans for proprietary software in periodicals when the free software community were fighting it out for adoption of free software and document freedom by the state. Now, the IT policy effectively ensures the furtherance of the same.

    Here Mr. Sadath sees himself as champion of free software adoption at various levels. So, it is the vision that guides this policy which made a crass non-free software proponent work towards the advancement of free software and document freedom.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    suresh, I’m sorry, but we never delete comments here (that’s the policy). Rebut the lies where you see them instead.

  16. Viswanthan K said,

    March 31, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Gravatar

    I also second the opinion of Suresh. The comments made by Dhanesh seems extremely irrelevant in this discussion of IT@school and ODF. Defaming and dragging personal details into the discussion is not a sign of healthy debate. Here let them substantiate their stand by how they contributed to ODF, no one has asked for other details. Those who have met Arun knows what he’s made up of and his good intentions.

  17. Thomas Kurien said,

    April 1, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Arun’s credibility as a free software evangelist is all history. His fake image was well exposed by media during the International Free software conference held at Trivandrum on December 2008 and through several news reports which subsequently led to his removal from office of State Government.

    From Arun’s blog postings it is evident that he is jealous for one of his acquaintance getting this award and he is recommending certain people whom he still look for his personal favours. His intentions are very clear. He recommends the award to be given to Chief Minister of State( who has ultimate responsibility of all Government programmes, then every award should be given to CM only), V,K,Sasidharan (presently key personnel in Chief Minister’s Office and ruling political party), Biju Prabahkar who is presently an officer in Indian Administrative Service and is all set to hold several key postings in State and Union Ministry. He is kind enough to recommend the award to the volunteers of free software community as he and his allies holds the offices of FSF.

    Arun, It takes a lot of hard work and struggles not only to become successful but to be recognised for one’s success. Please know that there are no shortcuts to reach there, if that is your practise.
    Try to rise from position of being jealous in others achievements and concentrate on your efforts and prove before society that you are genuine propagator of what you preach. As Rajesh rightly pointed out awards will come your way too.

    Arun and his allies should know that four months is too big time to implement any project, if your aim is to do something beneficial to society and if you are not into implementing mammoth infrastructure projects. Of course, it is too little time if your focus is on preaching ideologies and criticism.

    This whole exericse is another publicity gimmick by Arun.
    Stop trying negative publicity by brining up pointless allegations and appreciate the fact that even Kerala and our education system as a whole is recognised by international community by this award.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Arun and his allies…

    What I see here is mostly “Sadath and his allies” smearing the reputation of an honest man.

    The receipt of this award should be the man or group responsible for ODF adoption, not someone who merely inherits a policy.

    Ramesh Nambiar Reply:

    Excellent Mr Roy. Your position is very clear.

    I think you should be ‘honored’ with awards not below a Nobel prize for your sincere efforts to ‘mislead’ the facts.

    You are dare enough to promptly put the details of some ‘Anwar Sadat’ to insult a reputed person, in this article.

    You should be appreciated for your ‘in-depth research’ in preparing an article like this, without ‘any prejudice’.

    Roy, you are simply great !! I like you..

    sarath Chandran Reply:

    Arun, It takes a lot of hard work and struggles not only to become successful but to be recognised for one’s success. Please know that there are no shortcuts to reach there, if that is your practise.

    This incident points to an interesting scenario as you have mentioned. “Some special skills are required to get recognised”, here god has blessed Anvar with lot of those skills.

    In a healthy discussion you must point out where Arun has made mistake based on the mails he sent. Seeking recognition for people who have done work along with people “who have not done any work” only seeks justice.

    It’s not surprising to see smudge campaign against Arun and friends. Work done by them has been itching many powerful guys. A recent article in a local magazine says Arun and friends stood for ethics and that’s the biggest crime they have done!

    It will also be nice to remember your own words “there’s absolutely no shortcuts” to hard work. Better you prove it!

  18. V. Sasi Kumar said,

    April 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Gravatar

    This episode seems to have been blown totally out of proportion. The only issue was that the award was given to Sri Anvar Sadath, who himself apparently agrees that he only inherited a system that already was using Free Software which includes Open Office and the odf format. The ODF alliance says that the award can be given only to an individual and not to an organisation. The response is that someone else, such as the former Executive Director, Biju Prabhakar, the Chief Minister or someone else who worked to implement Free Software in IT@School should have been given. As I see it, there is no great controversy in this. Because Sri Anvar Sadath himself agrees that others deserved it more. I appreciate him for that.

    Some people seem to take this as an attck on Sri Anvar Sadath. I don’t think that is true. I have not see an accusation that he manipulated things to get the award. Perhaps, he may be considered guilty of not directing the award to someone else. But I think that is not a serious accusation. It may not even have been deliberate. Unlike some people who have written here, I do believe that the Chief Minister could have been given the award, because he had taken unusual interest in implementing Free Software (that includes the ODF format) in the IT@School project and in the state government. I am pretty sure that, without his personal interest in the matter, it would have taken much longer for Free Software to get into the schools in the state.

    On the whole, this controversy only points to the need for a rethink on the norms for the ODF award, including the possibility of giving the award to an organisation. I hope the ODF alliance is now convinced of the issue. It would be good if the Alliance can redraft the citation for the award, and Sri Anvar Sadath decides to dedicate the award to those who really worked for introducing ODF, as part of Free Software, to the schools in Kerala. I hope the controversy dies with that.

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