Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Code Breakers - FOSS - and story from an online post

The post that follows in the 'comments' section, click to read, is about a new documentary from BBC about Free and Open Source Software, FOSS. I hope to see it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Message: 2
Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 22:19:47 +0500
From: "Fouad Riaz Bajwa

[DDN] The Code Breakers by IOSN

DDN = Digital Divide Network

The Code Breakers by IOSN - Building a case for ICT Software Freedom

By Fouad Riaz Bajwa, FOSS Advocate
Copyrights & Copylefts - In search for ICT Software Freedom

General Secretary, FOSSFP: Free and Open Source Software Foundation of

I can still recall the first day at the Kram Expo Centre in Tunis last year during the World Summit on the Information Society 2006 as I was making preparations for exhibiting FOSSFP projects in the space allotted to me by UNDP when I was overwhelmed to see Sunil Abraham, Program Manager of the International Open Source Network in action as usual but this time he wasn't alone like the last time he dropped in at the FOSSFP National Free and Open Source Software Awareness Campaign in Pakistan. He was leading a team of documentary camera men! I knew the very instant that our Open Source dude was up to something, and yes, he was covering FOSS related activities and interviewing the global FOSS Movement members about their struggle to advocate and promote the usage and adoption of FOSS globally.

As I was suspecting, Sunil approached me and asked me my availability for a
brief question and answer session with his team, I replied in approval and
after a few hours Sunil had me rushing with him wearing a Media Entry Permit
towards the Media Pavilion of the Kram Expo Centre. I was seated in a small
room with a camera focused on me and a mic hovering right above my head!
Yes, it was my few minutes of fame where I exchanged my views over how the FOSS movement was taking on in my region and what do we foresee about its future. I remember the best part, when I actually forgot a word I wanted to say near the end of the interview shoot and for the first time in my life, I ordered to the cameraman "CUT!" who shocked by the sudden shout while catching me on tape, popped up from behind his camera and first shot a glance full of amazement at me and then towards Sunil who was ultimately
smiling in response to what had just happened. I discussed the word with
Sunil and we dropped the idea of the answer to that particular question with that particular word I had forgotten and we were back in the shoot and then yes, it was complete.

Later during that day and the days to follow, I would see Sunil and his team
running all over the place conducting interviews and the best part of all,
Sunil got footage of Richard Stallman of the Free Software Movement, Bruce
Perens of the Open Source Software Movement, me of course of the Free & Open Source Software Movement, Molly from Malaysia, FOSSFA from Africa and lots of more important FOSS people and organizations. I am telling you, the world is in for a treat of a technological life time. I don't know anything about the script; I don't know which direction the documentary is going to take the world towards, I have no idea what a surge the documentary might send in
to the proprietary world but I am definitely sure of one thing, it will
change the way forever how the world perceives Free and Open Source

Information about the "The Code Breakers" documentary is available on the BBC website. BBC states that "Microsoft has dominated the world of computing for many years, with its heavily guarded �code� being beyond reach to many in the developing nations. In some of the poorest countries the cost of upgrading an operating system to keep up with the rest of the world amounts to a year's wages, and there are few legitimate options. In Thailand for example, 95 percent of software on computers is pirated. The poorest countries are now beginning to use free or open source software (FOSS), a software that parallels many of Microsoft's programmes but with the major
difference being that they are distributed free of charge and can be altered by computer programmers who are allowed unfettered access to the 'source code'. In this two-part documentary, Code Breakers includes stories and interviews from around the world where FOSS is making an impact, from disaster management in Sri Lanka to tortoise breeding programmes in the

The schedule for airing "The Code Breakers" documentary by BBC World is:
(Pakistan Standard Time):
11 May 2006: 0030 - The Code Breakers Part 1
18 May 2006: 0030 - The Code Breakers Part 2
11 May 2006: 0470 - The Code Breakers Part 1
18 May 2006: 0470 - The Code Breakers Part 2

Another documentary soon to follow after The Code Breakers
This is not the beginning and its definitely not the end, I feel that this
documentary is a message to all the nations of the world, to the corporate
world, to academia, to implicitly and explicitly anyone and everyone that
FOSS is making waves and is here to stay and has revolutionized in to a Open ICT Software Ecosystem promoting open standards and immense opportunities of innovation, knowledge development and sharing. I wish I had come up with the True Spirit of the FOSS Movement back then but once again, it was definitely the right time when I shared the ideology/philosophy with the world at the FOSSFA-IDLELO2 Conference February 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya. Thanks to the
inspiration that FOSSFP and FOSSFA share globally and the opportunity for
active participation extended to me by FOSSFA, I presented the ideology and
David Madi� from Eighty Days Productions was there with his documentary crew to cover the moment in the global FOSS Movement. David and his team are making an unusual documentary on the FOSS Movement. Madi�'s current film is
a character-driven film that focuses on some of the people involved in the
Free/Libre and Open Source communities [FN]. "Therefore," Madi� says, "as
much as it's a film about FLOSS, it's also a film about fighting for your
beliefs. This film will show the characters fighting for what they believe
in. This happens to be Open Source, which I think is also an important

When Madi� was enquired by the famous voice of the FOSS Movement, Frederick
Noronha that why he had selected such an unusual, maybe unglamorous and
certainly technical, subject? Madi� explained "That's because I used to be
in the IT sector. I once ran a joint-venture company in Uganda and came to
know about an African country like Uganda. I was very ignorant about Africa
-- as many Europeans are -- and I was surprised by the skills and the
talent, and all the modern science of a capital city like Kampala that has
skyscrapers taller than what we have in Copenhagen."

FOSS has not only promoted a philosophy introduced by the software
development world but has also introduced a new way of perception towards
humanity. Whether it is the multimedia work of Mark Shuttleworth's Go-Open
Source Campaign, IOSN or David, the voice of Frederick Noronha or the
advocacy efforts by thousands or maybe millions of FOSS Movement members
worldwide, it only strengthens the movement and grows it bigger and bigger
on a daily basis. Efforts like these will go a long way to mark milestones
in the history of mankind when humans embraced ICT for their sustainable
socio-economical development and embarked upon FOSS, a little flower plant
seeded by Richard Stallman, that budded in to flowers and re-decorated by
Bruce Perens and that were bought by the FOSS Movement as a whole.

The Spirit of the FOSS Movement
This is once again a grand time to celebrate the success of FOSS and share
the true spirit of the global FOSS Movement. The spirit is an ideology that
helps to strengthen the message of the FOSS movement globally. To embrace
the true spirit of FOSS we have to understand how to make a difference in
the world around us:
1. We believe that the software we generate as a result of our thoughts and
actions influences the people around us
2. We think about how we can add to the spirit of life rather than subtract
from it
3. We have the power to change the world around us through software built
under the umbrella of Open Standards and FOSS
4. We should never underestimate or neglect this power of software
5. We should nurture it and help others benefit from this/its true spirit
This FOSS friends and partners in service is the true spirit of the Global
FOSS Movement.

How to join the Global FOSS Movement
1. FOSS is a result of Freedom
2. If you let others decide what software you should use, you are not
seizing your own Freedom
3. You have a choice for adopting software for every situation in your life
4. You can choose software just like your actions and attitudes
1. You can choose your own Freedom!
2. Your own FOSS!
3. Your own Software!
4. And make a difference!

With knowledge and zeal to achieve the unachievable, by developing and
sharing knowledge for the benefit of humanity, the FOSS Movement will
continue to disrupt the dictatorship of the proprietary software world
leading and march towards an Information Society that embodies the
principles of sharing and open society.

1. The Code Breakers, BBC World,
2. Film-maker hunts for an unusual tech film... in Africa,
3. Film-maker documents African free software movement, Tectonic, By
Frederick Noronha, 24 January 2006,
4. FLOSS on the Big Screen, Linux Journal, By Frederick Noronha, 24 January
5. The Spirit of Free & Open Source
6. BBC Schedules,