Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Novell Was Wrong to Attend Kochi Conference

I want you for money

CK Raju explained it very clearly: [thanks to our reader Praveen for the pointer]

In a debate on question of "free vs non-free" or "role of non-free in free conferences", this one is drifting towards private and personal references which can be avoided. Let not Novell get off the hook by stirring trouble here. There are countless private conferences and symposiums going around nearby which promote themes of non-free and patents. No free software activist goes there to register protest.

Differences of opinion are usually accorded highest priority in a democratic institution, as they may be revealing something very surprising or innovative - silencing and subjugating are hallmarks of despotic or autocratic institutions. No one expects the entire rank and file of organisers to be aware of non-free designs; Novell could have very well evaded such a public scrutiny before gaining entry here, especially when it has very little public presence in Kerala.

Free Software conferences serve many purposes and we can accept that one such method in revealing or knowing about non-free intrusions could be through some kind of non-violent protest - stickers, posters and T-shirts are hallmarks of FS protests. Now many of us know what Novell does, and such an exposure on Novell coincides perfectly with the theme of our public conference in disseminating concepts on Free Software.

Since public institutions have a say on private lives, it cannot be beyond criticism. Just like "divine rights" cannot be placed over "human rights", it would be equally suicidal if we uncritically submitted to "political rights" of any party. After all, political parties gain power only after they appeal before citizens - notably the poor-off ones. Hence sharing dias or approaching leaders is in no way a transgression, it falls perfectly under rights of citizens. No established leader or representative would ever think this way.

Here, a wrong has been committed by (a) humiliating an individual who protests against a non-free incursion inside a Free Software conference and disseminates non-free ideology and (b) protecting the non-free intruder to display their non-free trickery without objections. Novell has succeeded in driving the wedge, inflicting a kind of perfect damage to a contributors' community and getting away scot-free.

Further reading (internal):

  1. Friendly 'Boycott Novell' Supportes Robbed of Voice
  2. Novell Removed from List of National Free Software Conference Sponsors?
  3. Novell Information, in the Words of Anivar Aravind
  4. Even Microsoft Chooses Red Hat Over Novell's SUSE

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