Open Letter To Mammootty

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Open Letter to Mammootty to Reconsider Promotion of Microsoft and their Proprietary Softwares

We request all of you to blog on this and add your link to Protest Blog posts page.

A malayalam version of this letter is available here .

Context

Microsoft will be signing up Malayalam movie star Mammootty as one of the brand ambassadors for the Computer Literacy programme that is to be organized soon in Kerala, a Southern Indian State well known for its pro-free software policies. This is an open letter by Free Software Activists, Supporters and Users of Kerala to Mammootty.

Open Letter to Mamootty from Free Software Community

Dear Bharat Mammootty,

This letter is to express our deepest disappointment in your involvement with Microsoft to launch their e-literacy program in Kerala and is based on the belief that you have high social convictions and commitment to the people of Kerala.

Kerala's civil society had in the past been delighted by your decision to dissociate with the Coca-Cola advertisement project as a response to the resource exploitation and pollution caused by the corporate body. However, people of Kerala will be bewildered to see that you are lending your name and fame to support a devastatingly nefarious techno-monopolistic campaign unleashed by Microsoft in our state. We feel your move is both ill-advised and harmful.

Being the Director of a major media initiative (Kairali TV, Malayalam Communications Limited) that claims to be people-oriented both in terms of its initial resource mobilization tactics as well as its professed commitment to people's causes, it is embarrassing to see that such concerns are completely sidelined in favor of a hideous agenda of a major US based multi-national IT giant, despised even in US for its monopolistic tendencies. In fact there are records of this company using underhanded tactics to enforce its views on an organization like ISO which maintains international standards for public benefit.

We are assuming that you were not given enough information about the IT Scenario we live in.

Software is a tool and a means with which we can achieve a lot of things. In this respect, it is similar to infrastructure like roads and rails. Using Microsoft software is akin to using a road built by a private agency who levies a charge for its use. Any further development of that road and the terms of usage of that road will be subject to the whims of that private agency alone, however insane it may be. Free Software is like an alternate road , with equal or better quality. It is community owned - public property. What modifications have to be done, and where it has to be done is driven by public need and is not influenced by a private party.

When we use Microsoft's products, which do not give the four essential freedoms in Computing (Right to study, Right to copy, Right to modify and Right to Redistribute software), we are becoming helpless creatures. Non-free softwares like Windows are designed to keep users helpless and prohibit cooperation. On the other hand, Free software believes in sharing and cooperation.

For your kind attention, Microsoft, the company with which you plan to sign the contract, has a track record of being fined $1.35 billion for Antitrust Charges in European Union for not complying with EU standards and trying to avoid giving essential information required for interoperability to others by asking for a huge price. As the report says, "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," The Hindu February 28, 2008.

The Kerala state IT policy says motto of Akshaya project is ‘making technology and e-government services accessible to common man’. For making technology and e-governance accessible to common man without vendor lock-in, Free Software (Swathanthra Software) is the only solution available.

In the IANS Report, you said that you want to launch the project "to help make all sections of the society IT literate". We understand and appreciate your genuine spirit. But selecting Microsoft as an accomplice would be the wrong choice. Making people literate benefits the society as a whole. Proprietary software rejects their thirst for knowledge: it says, “The knowledge you want is a secret — learning is forbidden!” Free software encourages everyone to learn. The free software community rejects the 'priesthood of technology', which keeps the general public ignorant of how technology works. The people and Government of Kerala understood it and has already introduced it in our schools and government institutions. So we request you to stand for free software and essential freedoms in computing to fulfill your mission.

Since you have on several occasions expressed your support to the causes upheld by left forces in the country, we hope that it will not be news to you that CPI(M) and other progressive forces in the country have been ardent supporters of free software and as a matter of principle, detest Microsoft's monopoly built through treacherous market machinations that even the developed countries find unbearable.

It is high time that you understood the implications and ramifications of your support for Microsoft. It seriously undermines your role as a socially committed artist, progressive media leader and sympathizer of leftist politics.

We hope that being a thinking man, you will realize the error in endorsing proprietary software and will persist in your mission of bringing about IT to the common man via free software and open standards. As a great man who has enriched the culture of Kerala and India, please do set an example by using and promoting free software.

We as a body that strives to support free standards and free society through free software, request you to reconsider your decision and be a proponent of free software to achieve your mission to help make all sections of the society IT literate.

Let us build your dream together with free software.

A group of free software activists, supporters and users who believe in freedom, free society and free expression of ideas.

Endorsed by

Organisations

  1. FOSS Communities in India
  2. GNU Linux Users Group- Thiruvanathapuram
  3. Swathanthra Malayalam Computing
  4. Swathantra Software User Group Malappuram
  5. Palakkad Libre Software Users Society
  6. GNU/Linux Users Group Calicut
  7. Free Software Users Group Bangalore
  8. Indian Linux User Group Cochin Chapter
  9. PHP Trivandrum
  10. Free Software Users Group Thrissur
  11. Free Software Foundation of India
  12. Open Source Foundation of India
  13. Movingrepublic
  14. Global Alternate Information Applications(GAIA)
  15. ViBGYOR Film Collective
  16. Keraleeyam Magazine
  17. Third Eye Films
  18. Visual Search, Bangalore
  19. samalochana
  20. SPACE
  21. Forum Kerala
  22. Cinemela Film Festival, New Delhi
  23. South Asia Citizens Web
  24. KONANGAL FILM SOCIETY, COIMBATORE
  25. BMS Libre Software Users' Group (BMSLUG)
  26. Swatantra Kannada Localisation Project
  27. COIMBATORE HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM
  28. Malayala Kalagramam Film Society,New Mahe
  29. Kerala Society for Theatre Research,Sree Sankaracharya University,Kaladi.
  30. Padhabhedam magazine, Calicut
  31. IBON South Asia
  32. FOSSMeet@NITC
  33. Fireflies- an ngo for children and youth
  34. Subaltern Studies. An open-access media, communications, and cultural studies collective

Individuals

  1. Abdulkareem UK
  2. Abhinandh
  3. Aditya Kavoor
  4. Afthab Ellath
  5. Ajai Joseph
  6. Ajo Augustine
  7. Amel Mathai
  8. Amey Jahagirdar (One Happy Linux Mint User)
  9. Amit Narkar
  10. Amit Surana
  11. Anand Babu Periasamy
  12. Anand Haridas
  13. Anand S Babu
  14. Anand Narayanan
  15. Ani Peter
  16. Anish Bhaskaran
  17. Anivar Aravind
  18. Anoop C Jacob
  19. Anoop John
  20. Anoop Jacob Thomas
  21. Anoop P Alias
  22. Anoop Panavalappil
  23. Anoop V Muraleedharan
  24. Anto Jose
  25. Anu James
  26. Arun.K.R
  27. Arun Eapen
  28. Asha Gopinathan IISc
  29. Ashik Salahudeen
  30. baburajbhagavathy
  31. Baiju M
  32. Basil Baby
  33. Bipin Thayyullathil
  34. Birenjith P S
  35. Chandra Sekar.S
  36. Chandrasekharan Nair S
  37. Cibu C J
  38. Chandra Kumar
  39. CK Raju
  40. C.Saratchandran
  41. desertwind
  42. DileepRaj, Resident Editor, Penguin Malayalam
  43. Dinesh Joshi
  44. Dr. Mahesh Mangalat
  45. Edwin
  46. Fr. Benny Benedict
  47. Mr. Bruce Mathew
  48. Geethika G.
  49. George John
  50. Gopal menon, Film maker
  51. G. Palaniappan
  52. G.P Ramachandran
  53. Hafiz A Haq
  54. Harish Veeramani
  55. Hari Vishnu
  56. Harsh Kapoor
  57. Hiranjyoti Mahanta
  58. Hiran Venugopalan
  59. Indu.R.Nair
  60. Jaisen Nedumpāla
  61. J Suresh Kumar
  62. Jagadish S
  63. Jayakumar Thazhath
  64. Jayesh V
  65. Jinesh K J
  66. Dr. Sunny Kuriakose Alwaye
  67. Jithu Sudhakar
  68. Joby John
  69. John Samuel, Convenor, National Social Watch Coalition
  70. Joice Mulanthanam
  71. Joseph John (Saji)
  72. Justin Joseph
  73. Kalyani Menon-Sen
  74. karthick.n(linux loves me)
  75. Kishore.A
  76. K.M Venugopal
  77. K.P Sasi, Filmmaker
  78. K.Satchidanandan, Poet
  79. Kurian John
  80. Kishore Budha
  81. M Jayadev
  82. Madhusoodanan P
  83. Mahesh Aravind
  84. Manilal K M
  85. Manish Sharma
  86. Kiran Chand
  87. Manu S Madhav
  88. Manuel Jose
  89. Mathew Chacko
  90. Mohana Krishnan
  91. Mustafa Desamangalam
  92. Nimesh V
  93. Nishan Naseer
  94. Nishanth Dhar
  95. Noor Manseel Mohamed
  96. Pavithran S
  97. P.Baburaj
  98. P.K.Pokker, Director, Keralabhasha Institute
  99. Pramode C.E
  100. Prashant Shah
  101. Pratheesh Prakash
  102. Praveen A
  103. Praveen Gopinath
  104. Praveen Kunjapur
  105. Praveen P
  106. Prakash Kumar Ray, Cinema Studies, SAA, JNU, New Delhi
  107. Prinson.P.J
  108. Rahul Ghose
  109. Raja Swamy, Austin, Texas
  110. Rajiv R Nair
  111. Rakesh Sharma Film Maker
  112. Reju Rajeev
  113. Ranjith S. Kumar
  114. Ravi Chandra Padmala
  115. Renni P Mathunny
  116. Sajeer.A.R
  117. Sajina Raman
  118. Sajith VK
  119. Sam Albuquerque
  120. Sameer Mohamed Thahir
  121. Sandeep Jairam Web Developer
  122. Sanju Surendran
  123. S.Anoop
  124. Santhosh Kurian
  125. Santhosh Thottingal
  126. Sarah Singh
  127. Sarath Lakshman
  128. Sasi Kumar, V.
  129. Seena Sreevalson
  130. Shabnam Hasmi
  131. Shailesh Kumar Soft Developer
  132. Shashank Bharadwaj
  133. Sheshu K R
  134. Shyam.k
  135. Sibi Antony
  136. Siddhartha Brahma
  137. Sp^wN_0F_S^T^N
  138. Sreenadh H
  139. Sudev
  140. Sudhang Shankar
  141. Sujith Haridasan
  142. Sujith S
  143. Sushovan Dhar
  144. Thanesh Thampi
  145. Thejesh GN
  146. The Overclocked Fragger
  147. T.T Sreekumar
  148. Thomas Mannuthy
  149. Venkatesh Choppella IIITM-K
  150. Vikram Vincent
  151. Venu V.K
  152. Vimal Joseph
  153. Vineesh Thalethodi
  154. Vipin Vincent
  155. Vishal Rawlley
  156. Vivek Khurana
  157. V K Adarsh
  158. Yadu Rajiv
  159. Yesudeep Mangalapilly
  160. Zaheer M Kozhakkaniyil
  161. Mohan R
  162. Sabeel
  163. Anish Samuel
  164. KamalHariMenon
  165. Lijeesh S D
  166. Alfahed P M
  167. PON.CHANDRAN, COIMBATORE
  168. Pramod G Menon
  169. Dr Haroon Ashraf
  170. Praveen K. Prasad
  171. Girish G G
  172. Sreekumar R
  173. Arun Murali

Relates Links

  1. Microsoft, Mammootty to launch Kerala e-literacy programme
  2. CPI(M) supports Free software
  3. Globalization Institute's submission to European Union
  4. Kerala schools use free software
  5. What is Free Software?
  6. ORUMA: the result of KSEB’s concerted efforts

Press Release

Open letter to Mammootty - Press release




Mammootty's Response


May 07, 2008



Dear Sir,

Sub: Computer Literacy Programme for computer illiterates of Kerala, India:

Greetings' from Mammootty’s Office, Kochi!

This is in response to the fire ignited by free software lovers of the state against Mammootty’s alleged association with Microsoft for the Computer Literacy Programme for computer illiterates of Kerala.

In this regard Mammootty would like to make it clear that Mammootty is in no way a part of the project. Mammootty has in no way associated with Microsoft nor held any discussions with them. Mammootty Fans and Welfare Association & Microsoft are envisaging the Project. As a person Mammootty is against any kind of monopoly in any area.

Mammootty Fans and Welfare Association is a registered society, which is independent and Mammootty by no means a part or office bearer of it. Mammootty Fans and Welfare Association is working for the upliftment of marginalized sections of the society. As per our knowledge their major works include ‘Kazhcha 06-07’ – An eye care programme for the poor sections of the society. Through this they provided free eye surgeries & treatment to thousands. Recently announced ‘Heart to Heart’ a free open-heart surgery scheme for 100 hearts patients who are unable to afford the treatment.

Mammootty believe that the reason for the Mammootty Fans and Welfare Association associating with Microsoft is a genuine one. It seems that its aim is to orient computer illiterates of Kerala. It will be a great step, if it achieves its fruit. We, Keralites can again be proud about the fact that we will be first state in India to become 100 percent computer literate like our former literacy programme. It will bring accolades to the state from worldwide and will help in increasing the reputation of the state. Mammootty is ready to join hands with any one interested in the welfare of the public.


Yours sincerely

Robert Kuriakose

P R O to Mammootty