Commit 7e30771c authored by Abhas Abhinav's avatar Abhas Abhinav

Two new posts and a new CSS class

parent ffc63ed2
title: Why should we talk even when no one is listening?
date: 2019-01-09
Author: Abhas Abhinav
layout: post
permalink: /talk-when-no-one-listens/
toc: true
subtitle: We often stop saying (what we consider to be) the right thing
just because we feel that no one is listening. But how are we to know
when they listen and when they don't?
Recently, while having a discussion with a friend on how to handle a
major technical issue in their college, I mentioned some collaboration
opportunities that would have come up if they had chosen to use free
software in the first place. When he said that *"no one in the college
will listen"*, that got me thinking.
Do we only talk about something we consider useful if we feel that
someone is listening to us? What do we loose by talking even when no one
is listening to us? What if they started listening and we were not there
to talk? Then that is our loss as well as theirs'!
Since we can't know when (or whether) they are listening to us, one
thing we can do is to keep talking!
Hence, if we want to talk about free software, it shouldn't matter to us
if those we are talking to don't listen to us. I am confident that, over
different points of time, different people will listen. If we can
motivate ourselves to keep talking plainly, it *will* matter.
The next question is - how do we talk in an efficient manner? I believe
recording thoughts in a publishable form is a good way to refer to them
or share them later on. If we can write about whatever we want to talk
about, it becomes "reproducible". And the next time, we can re-use it to
make a similar point.
So to summarize - (at least) in the context of free software, don't stop
talking just because you feel that no one is listening. They *will* listen
sooner or later.
title: "OSFY - Open Journey: Software Freedom can lead to self-reliance!"
date: 2019-01-10
Author: Abhas Abhinav
layout: post
permalink: /osfy-open-journey/
toc: true
image: /images/2019/01/osfy.png
subtitle: Recently, the "Open Source for You" magazine covered an
interview with me in their "Open Journey" section. Here is a short
account of that experience! And some explanations and clarifications.
![osfy-photo]( {{ "/images/2019/01/osfy.png" | absolute_url }} )
I thought, instead of just mentioning about the coverage, if I could
offer some more details and clarification and share the experience,
maybe that might be of greater value.
## Open Source For You (OSFY) - January 2019 issue
Here is a [link to the ToC]( of
the Jan 2019 issue of the OSFY magazine. I will link to the actual
article once it is posted on the main website - maybe in a month or so.
Please do purchase the issue if you want to read this article. If you
are not able to find a copy easily, do mail me and I will find a copy
and courier it to you.
## Linux v/s GNU/Linux
The company is called "DeepRoot Linux" because in the year 2000 when it
was setup, it seemed like an excellent hack. I think it was in 2006 when
RMS asked me for the first time why it wasn't called "DeepRoot
GNU/Linux" and I explained how changing the company's name is a very
complex and costly process. I had added that apart from the name of the
company, I generally use GNU/Linux to refer the operating system.
That excuse seemed sufficient for many years, until a few months back, I
got asked the same question again by RMS:
> <tt> Founder & hacker-in-charge, DeepRoot Linux </tt>
> Why is the name "DeepRoot Linux"? That name promotes the name
> "Linux" at the expense of GNU.
And then I realised that nothing stops me from calling the company
"DeepRoot GNU/Linux" irrespective of the company's legal name. And so,
after 18+ years, I *updated* the logo to indicate this oversight:
<img class="centered" src="/images/2019/01/deeproot-gnu-linux.png">
<figcaption> Our logo now includes "GNU" before "Linux"! </figcaption>
The only reason I'm reciting this story here is because the article
mentions "DeepRoot Linux" and I thought it is important to explain why.
## FOSS v/s Free Software v/s Open Source
If I have to talk about software that provides freedom and is
distributed under licenses that provide + protect such freedoms for
users and developers, I use the term "free software".
Many people use the term "Open Source". Or a compromise term: "Free /
Open Source Software". Or even "Free / Libre / Open Source Software".
I feel that saying "free software" is sufficient and provides us with an
occassion to explain the importance and significance of freedom in
Most places in the article I use the term "free software" itself. But as
I read it again now, I realise that some place the article also uses
"FOSS". Right now I am very upset about this negligence on my part and
how I didn't realise this while reviewing the content on multiple
Being consistent is very important and I am sorry I was not consistent
enough in my usage of my preffered term: *"free software"*.
## Image Credits
The photo used in the article was probably taken by a student at NIT
Durgapur in Feb, 2018 when I was there to an interaction with the
students. Thank you - I am glad to use your photo in most places where I
need to use a photo. I owe you for this!
## The importance of editing
After I wrote close to 5000 words for this interview, I realised how
some of the statements were very open-ended and did not serve to make
any point. But I had spent too much time interating over the draft. The
editorial team at EFY helped a lot and their edits were very useful.
However, I felt that maybe if I re-wrote the first 40% of the content, I
could've written it better. At many places, it wasn't clear enough, it
didn't have enough facts and it didn't really make a conclusive point. :(
## Thanks EFY Editorial Team!
The editorial team at EFY was very patient and helpful. Thank you Rahul,
Niraj, Shweta and Aashima! An additional thanks to Rahul Chopra
(Editorial Director, EFY Group) for suggesting this and
## Links to resources mentioned in the article
### Books
* ['Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution' by Stephen
Levy]( (Wikipedia)
* Source code, documentation and sytems written and designed by D. J.
Bernstein - <>
* ['Coders at work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming' by Peter
Seibel]( (Wikipedia)
### Essays
* [The GNU Manifesto](
* [The Cathedral and the
### Presentations
* Some pointers on why freedom matters even for students and what it
means to be a hacker - <>
* For those who have teaching roles in academic institutions
(especially faculty members in engineering colleges), Abhas offers
a roadmap on why it is important to choose free software to
optimise for freedom and learning. <br>
* For entrepreneurs who want to consider building a business around
free software <br> <>
* In this presentation (extracted from a talk at Swatantra 2017), I
explain the problem of 'black boxes' and how we can get rid of
them using free software and self-hosting. -
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width: auto;
.centered {
width: auto;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
display: block;
.content {
text-align: justify;
......@@ -754,3 +761,9 @@ hr {
padding-bottom: 2em;
figcaption {
text-align: center;
font-size: 82%;
padding-top: 0.5em;
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