Friday, January 11, 2008
RMS at UC college, Aluva
"The solution to all your computer problem is Windows, " thus spake RMS. "Either throw Windows out of your computer, or throw your computer out of the window!" After keeping as waiting for 5-10 mins, where he (as I suspect) must have got into filming the chenda melam at the entrance, I saw the man behind everything who's everything to the Free Software movement. He's the enigmatic, charismatic, spiritual, moral and ethical visionary and leader to the Free Software movement. He came, sat down, and asked to the volunteers to avail a facility to connect his laptop (an IBM ThinkPad T41p, if I recall correctly, as graciously donated by IBM). The session started while he continued to check his mails / work on his laptop. By around 11:30am, he was invited to the stage — his topic being "Free Software in Ethics and in Practise". Also present on the stage were Mr. Sasi Kumar, FSF-India; Mr. Joseph Mathews, IT-adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala, and also other luminaries. "What the society needs is not a product, but is a socio-psychological system," RMS proceeded. He continued to stress the importance of sharing and collaboration which is what will keep up the solidarity of the society. He seemed to have some problem with his throat, as he kept clearing it. Thankfully, the organisers had prepared nice warm tea, which he must have drank at least 7-8 cups. He also explained the huge difference between "powerful, reliable software" attitude of the Open Source movement, which he repeatedly announced was against his principles, and between, software that promote "freedom and solidarity". The session ended at 1:30pm, which was followed by a half-hour Q&A. The organisers (who were evidently dis-interested and distracted), tried to wind up the event to which RMS replied, "I guess I'll answer a couple of more questions." *laughter* I was expecting the usual brain-dead question — "linguistic landmine" — as they'd call it. Some twit thought it wise to ask RMS, "Why don't you start some Open Source training?". He retaliated very agitated stating that he is NOT associated with the Open Source movement which has always stood against his principles. And that associating Free Software movement with Open Source movement works against the whole purpose. I tried my level best to get an autograph of his, right beneath the print-out of the Free Software Song. He said there were too many students gathered, and that if one of them is signed, all would be wanting one. I was so elated that I could manage a close-up snap of his. That's his problem, whenever he comes to a snap-it distance, I forget to take his snap. Some people are so 'ensnared' by his charisma. w00t! It also seems that the organisers (what a bunch of weenies) were also so keen as not to gave away the goodies RMS brought to the college. I even asked the guy whether he give me one. He said "Not now" and scooted. I at least managed to grab up some stickers of FSF and the GNU project. I've attempted a decoration of my laptop with it. :-) The lunch was arranged within the college canteen. Fried-rice and cauliflower curry. That was really an enjoyable. Anyway, next mission is get my hands on the photos and videos that were taken during that session. One wish for a life-time fulfilled. Afterwards, we went to Balakrishna Pillai sir's house, where Sreekanth (the classic audiophile) and Sameer bhai encoded the recorded speech to Ogg Vorbis. I guess the speech recorded at UC college will be available only by next week. I must pounce on Mr. Brue Mathew (the programme coordinator) soon. Till then, ciao... Feb 11, 2008 update: Some photos (courtesy Kenny) are available here.