[fosscomm] Help required to form FOSSCOM as analternate Industry and Civil Society body to NASSCOM

Guru गुरु guru at itforchange.net
Sat Jul 11 02:08:26 PDT 2009

Dear Anivar,

I need to give bit elaborate responses to your mail.

1. Andrew nomination
Andrew's name was proposed by Nagarjuna and seconded by a few people on
this list (myself, Sunil, Sasi, Prabir). Nobody objected. In one of your
mails you said "We need to hear from him".

Since he was not responding despite so many mails, I spoke to him over
phone to check if he would accept the request from members for his
representation. I reported back to the list that he was willing to
accept. Why such reporting back to the list should be seen as top down I
can't understand. It is a simple and quick method to end days of
speculation on a matter, whose urgency is well understood. If Andrew had
not read these mails (if he was not subscribed) and we were losing days
waiting for him to respond, I don't know what superior situation
FOSSCOMM would be in. By my picking up the phone and this issue getting
resolved, I don't know what inferior position we have landed into.

Anivar, nowhere in any FOSSCOMM discussion I have read/heard that all
our communications have to be ONLY on email or wiki, I know that you
also have conversations off-line with members of FOSSCOMM on FOSSCOMM
issues, so please avoid moral posturing.

2. Finalizing structure vs representation to on open standards
A few days back, I sent a few mails (debating with Gora and Sunil) on
the issue of "should we focus on structure first or should we work on
FOSSCOMM being represented on this issue by one of us". I argued that
given the criticality and urgency of the open standards issue, we should
not wait for structures to be resolved (which we all know will take some
time) and should in parallel work on the open standards issue as well. I
said and I repeat that "I am sure we will all agree that getting this
policy released in its current draft will provide a very huge thrust to
FOSS adoption in India and conversely, if the policy accepts multiple
standards, it will be a very significant loss to FOSS. Hence we
need to get our individual and collective energies into this
issue". Gora agreed that it was important to respond on this issue.

Anivar, in this debate between Gora and I, you did not participate and
subsequently, you have been suggesting names and even actively
persuading people - your suggestions include Gora, Raj, Sunil, which
means implicitly you accepted the imperative to engage on this issue as

I also said this in Delhi, FOSSCOMM is not a 'technical community' group
like a ILUG or FSUG, from the beginning we have been emphasising that
FOSSCOMM will be a diverse group of academicians, NGO/CBO activists etc 
- so we should take effort that this diversity is also reflected in our 
choice of people to represent us - so  Andrew as an academician from a 
reputed university is a good complement  to Kishore from ILUG D (since 
Raj and Gora have stepped back, we should  look at others - as Nagarjuna 
said we should try and widen our group instead of looking at only 3-4 
people as FOSSCOMM representatives. Also  for this effort, having local 
people will be essential - it will be difficult for people to fly in 
whenever there are meetings etc).

The FOSSCOMM membership diversity should also reflect in our 
'organizational'  norms including communication norms such as email 
etiquette, communications on  email/wiki vs F2F vs phone etc- we should 
not try to  enforce 'FOSS technical groups' norms on FOSSCOMM without 
any discussion or debate on the same, which can put off people not 
familiar with such processes.

3. Trust
As far as acquiring trust is concerned, I think trust is eroded when
bona fide voluntary actions of a member are questioned on really
frivolous grounds as this one - of having had a telephone conversation.

Anivar, if you have any substantive reasons to oppose Andrew's
nomination, please explain the same and we can discuss. In any voluntary
group as this one, it is destructive to trust building and group
effectiveness to provide strong negative reactions to others views /
actions without adequate justification. Many people will back off
volunteering if they see such harsh language, especially when we are
aiming to get in people from other groups like academia/bureaucracy etc
who are not familiar with the kind of 'flame mails' that technical
community lists sometimes indulge in. As a veteran FOSS activist, your
responsibilities on this aspect are only higher.

4. Position statement
I will share the same in a separate mail

5. Representation
I think on this critical issue, if we freeze into inaction because we
are not able to agree on one/two of our members speaking on our behalf,
though there is some support for the member we need to ask ourselves who
will loose from such ineffectiveness of FOSSCOMM. I see a very high
level of congruence in our positions on this issue and it is favourable
to our speaking with one voice to the Govt. which will have more impact
that only individual organizations doing so.

I request members to respond and suggest how we can constructively take
our collective agenda forward. Raj in his recent mail has clearly 
explained the nature of this representation, that it is limited to this 
issue and is not a generic representation on all FOSSCOMM matters. And I 
think it would be useful to accept his thoughts and move forward on this 

I also request Andrew and Kishore to come on the list and share their 
thoughts and suggestions


Anivar Aravind wrote:
> 2009/7/10 Guru गुरु <guru at itforchange.net>:
>> Dear friends,
>> Thanks for the several suggestions on the people who can put our position
>> across and the concerned people have also responded with their thoughts..
>> Andrew Lynn has not responded since he is not on the list. I just spoke to
>> him on the issue and he has agreed to be a representative.
> Dear Guru,
> With all respect to Andrew & you, I have an issue here.  Andrew was
> cc'ed in all recent conversations on this list when his name is
> mentioned. It is not an issue that need to be settled or granted
> offlist through personal Conversation.
> Sorry to say you set a wrong procedure here. and I strongly oppose
> this mode of communication /decision making in a FOSS Forum.  Fosscomm
> representation is a not a grant. it must come through the trust
> acquired through the prior work
>> I am copying him
>> on this mail and request him to become asap a member of this list (by
>> visiting http://lists.fosscom.in/listinfo.cgi/network-fosscom.in).
>> Looking at various other suggestions, I will also speak to Kishore to
>> request if he can become a member (or Raj or Gora can speak to him). As part
>> of ILUGD team, he could be a good choice as well to be a part of this 2
>> member team.
> Same applies in Kishores case.
> I feel this is a problem of thinking topdown instead of being bottom up.
>> I think for this process it is best we have Delhi people (for eg to attend
>> meetings that may be fixed suddenly without much notice etc) ...
>> so should try and get Delhi folks.
>> Nagarjuna, Gora, Raj and Sunil have responded to suggestions for (not)
>> including their names and I agree their views
> Raj's only concern was he is not much diplomatic as the position
> demands (If i read it correctly) .  I think thats why a lot of people
> still raised support to him even after his mail.
> We will work on the statement from the WIKI and share it later today or
>> early tomorrow along with a covering letter for DIT etc, which we can
>> formalize and then send off.
> I feel we need to hold the decision making  on representative  for
> time being. Anyway Jaijith & Venky are doing their best in policy.
> Lets Decide FOSSCOMM to strengthen their stand by our letter than
> asking for a representative for time being.
> I feel FOSSCOMM now facing a problem of not setting the ground rules.
> We cant act toptown. Lets start from deciding working principles,
> membership criteria for individuals & organisations , building working
> groups on topics etc before selecting a representatives.
> I hope our friends will not repeat the wrong procedures (may be in a
> good spririt) till that point
> ~ regards
> Anivar
> _______________________________________________
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> network at lists.fosscom.in
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Gurumurthy Kasinathan
IT for Change
Bridging Development Realities and Technological Possibilities
Tel:98454 37730
*IT for Change is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with United
Nations’ Economic and Social Council*

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