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Free Software Conferences and closed source papers

December 13th, 2008

Recently, we had  two important free software conferences in Kerala. Both spent a lot of public  money on invited talks , exhibitions and other related conference requirement.  What is the benefit for general public from such conferences? A typical conference will have limited  , say 500  delegates. In Kerala, the delegates are often chosen  based on the political affiliation or whims and fancies of the organizers rather than  merit.   Will these conferences disseminate knowledge to the common man ? I doubt.

What is the remedy for this kind of situation?  I think the remedy is already known to the free software community.  OPENNESS in every aspect. Right from choosing the organizers to selecting delegates there must be transparency.      It is the papers presented  and  transcripts of the discussions held that matters finally. The future generation will refer to the conference depending on the quality of papers.   Good international conferences bring out bound volumes of its proceedings. Most of the  conference papers are not free. Look at IEEE or ARRL.  They have lot of knowledge available with  them ,but they charge this knowledge . To an extent they are knowledge monopolies.   We can call the papers with them  as closed source papers.

Being  free software community , we  should bring out papers presented/ slides shown immediately after any conference.  An abstract can be published even before   the conference. The abstracts must be scrutinized by experts as well as members of the community.   If you want to present a paper, some home work must be done. Google can  detect cut and paste very well.:D

I was  looking at fsfs.in website.  It has some abstracts but no complete papers or slides. I request the organizers of  fsfs.in  to publish the papers/ slides presented.  Let the public see how their money was spent.
PS .We can emulate   Dr. APJ Abulkalam for this. He puts  his speeches/papers  online as soon as it is deliverd.

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  1. December 31st, 2008 at 12:50 | #1

    A meeting was called, the day before(!) the conference was due to start in order to arrange for the exhibition at Kanakakkunnu palace.

    The secretary grandly called for arrangements for waste from food to be taken away, school children to be brought in on KSRTC buses, drinking water to be provided, and so on ad grandeum.

    At the end, after we spent two days wondering where the organisers had gotten to, and several phone calls, we were informed that the exhibition was cancelled.

    Really shows up the callous and indifferent attitudes of these guys.

    (EE Electronics, PWD)

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