Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “Public Software and Public Institutions” by Mr. Gurumurthy Kasinathan, Director Public Software Centre, IT for Change, Bengaluru on Friday, 23rd September, 2011 at 6:30 pm. The Talk was moderated by Mr. Rajeev Gowda, Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy, IIMB.
Mr. Kasinathan talked on the importance of promoting and using public software which is software created for the public good which is publically owned, permitting free sharing and local customization. He said that the software, as a form of digital knowledge should be as much as possible free to be shared, collaboratively created and modified for the benefit for the society. Hence, for him, digital freedom was important since our society has increasingly come to be known as a “digital society”. He was opposed to proprietary software creating barriers and artificial scarcity of software resources and opined that knowledge, by definition, should be for all and non-restrictive in nature.
He stressed that just as government fund public education and health, similarly government needs to fund development of public software and make available public software resources for the society. He stressed that many free educational software applications, bundled with Ubuntu GNU/Linux, are powerful in helping teachers and students understand concepts in math, science and social sciences. Hence, the academic institutions should promote teaching and research on public software.
He pointed out the large scale adoption of public software in countries like Europe, South America. In India, he mentioned that many institutions are already working to promote public software and it has been adopted by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Orissa and Assam.
The event was interspersed with active participation from small but discerning audience.