(No.80) STEADY STEPS.....FOSS AND THE MDG's

Go to Report
Status: 
Accepted
Workshop Theme: 
Internet Governance for Development [IG4D]
Theme Question: 

IG4D Thematic Cluster 2 "Enabling Environment" Question 1: What does it take to attract investment in infrastructure and enc

Concise Description of Workshop: 

This workshop will address some key areas, where Free and open source software has made a milestone, in the last few years to fulfill the Millennium development goal, across the globe. Many a times whenever FOSS is mentioned, , thoughts quickly run to ‘techies’ . In this session , the Panelists will give practical presentations/projects on Free and Open Source Software, outside the technical arena and show how it has changed the face of  : 1) Governments:- We will look at, Policy in the area of Open Data, 2)  In Academia:- We will look at, Open Education Resources (OER) , FOSS in schools etc, both in Africa and India. 3)  In Private Sector- we will look at , Wealth creation, innovation and job creation, just to mention but a few. 1)  Secondly we will look at how FOSS is bridging the digital divide, existing between the different age groups more especially the Youth, Women, between the different social circles/media , inclusion of person's with disabilities.etc, through partnerships and rural deployment of FOSS. We will have the privilege to look at initiative(s), in Brazil.   1) Last but not least, It will address, the key policies, that governments should embrace, that would continue to enhance FOSS in the Internet development goal at national level , regional level and at the global level.  A rich discussion will be encouraged, from the participants to ensure that the FOSS community understands its strength and role in the internet governance realm, in policy making process and in the privacy, security and openness arena.
 
Workshop Agenda:
1. What Milestone has FOSS made in:
i) Academia
ii) Government
iii) Private Sector
2. Is FOSS factor to consider in bridging the digital divide?
3. Regarding the Milestone that FOSS has achieved, should there be national, regional, global.etc  policies to ensure a fair palying field it?
- Closing remarks, What actions to be taken,  conclusion.
 
 

Organiser(s) Name: 

- Mr. Satish Babu, International Center For Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) - India, Government - Ms. Judy Okite, Free Software and OpenSource Foundation For Africa (FOSSFA) - Africa, Civil Society

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

1. Mr. Satish Babu - ICFOSS, India  (Government)- Moderator- Confirmed 
2. Mr. Fernando Botelho- F123.org, Brazil (Remote Participation)- Confirmed
3. Ms. Anne Rachel Inne, ICANN- Confirmed
4. Mr. Sunil Abraham , CIS Bangalore, India- Confirmed 
5. Ms. Mishi Choudhary,  Executive Director of International programs at Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), India- Confirmed
6. Mr. Yves Miezan Ezo, FOSSFA , CHALA, France- Confirmed
7.Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma, CEO, Nnenna.org, Cote d' Ivoire- Confirmed

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Ms. Judy Okite, FOSSFA
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
About half of the participants were women
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was mentioned briefly in the presentations and discussions
Please include any comments or recommendations you have on how to improve the inclusion of issues related to gender equality and: 

We intend to look at the women who have made it in the FOSS community and how they have made it  and what can be done to extend this globally, begining with  Brazil, India and Africa and compile this information as the background paper to our 2013 workshop. 

Report
Reported by: 
Mr. Satish Babu and Ms. Judy Okite
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

In this session very critical questions were asked;
1. How do we ensure that the Governments across the globe are well educated in terms of software and how do we ensure that the right people with the right knowledge are the one's that make the policy decisions (in reference to Latin America)
2. Are there any indicators that FOSS has played, within the MDG arena?
and
3. FOSS is about Free sharing, free learning, free giving....Multi-stakeholder platform is not new, FOSS has practiced this for years, the IGF ecosystem can learn from this.
 

Conclusions and further comments: 

The first point is about the strategy that you deploy to  sell the idea of open source to the government. In India, at least in the state of Kerala we have  converted all the government schools, that's about 2,000 schools with about 500,000 children, to Linux, the strategy that was adopted was not to lobby the Minister or the bureaucrat, it was actually to lobby at the grass-roots with the teachers. They got the teachers convinced, and then there was this bottom up transition that took place. I mean the Minister, or the bureaucrat that point was irrelevant, because the teachers decided to convert to open source, so I agree that it is a long way, it is not a short way, that it is along haul, but once you do that it is very sustainable because as long as the teachers could support it, the programme shall run. Today, this program is   in its seventh year and continues  to run without any problems, despite changes to the government, so the top may change, but it is here  and it will be sustainable. I suggest please don't  foreclose your options. There are strategies and there are strategies.

There are discussions around the IGF about a 19th and 20th century legal frameworks trying to govern the technology of the 21st century and finding it very difficult to cope, that we should therefore, like the universal declaration of human rights perhaps start thinking about the universal declaration of Internet rights which is somewhat different and forward-looking. Hopefully such frameworks will also help us address   questions  like how to convince our governments. So when you have a new kind of a framework that is futuristic, forward-looking, perhaps we'll be there.
 
CONCLUSION
Mr Babu and Ms Okite closed the session by thanking all the participants and apologising for not being able to carry the passionate discussion forward.
Overall, the panel discussion brought forward various point of views from different sectors, those of technology industry, legal industry, entrepreneurs, civil society organization, governments and teachers. In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals such as Universal Education, Gender Equality, Environmental Sustainability and Global Partnership with the help of technology we need Free Software, we need Free Hardware we can hack on, we need Free Spectrum we can use to communicate with one another, without let or hindrance. We need to be able to educate and provide access to educational material to everyone on earth without regard to the ability to pay. We need to provide a pathway to an independent economic and intellectual life, for every young person, man or woman, rich or poor, whether living in a developed or a developing nation as in tough times, we all must collaborate and innovate together. Further, FOSS is  now going to join a  big river of Internet Freedom and without free software there cannot be any free internet. Thus, FOSS should be an integral part of any debate that talks about internet freedom.

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