Centre for free software next month : Achuthanandan

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Kochi, Nov 16 (UNI) Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today said his Government proposed to open a 'Centre of Excellence' to integrate the activities of free software developers in the gobal arena.

Addressing the valedictory session of the ''National Conference on Free Software--2008'' at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), he said the Centre, to be opened next month in Kochi, would help in furtherance and use of free software.

He said an ''International Free Software' seminar would be held next month in Thiruvananthapuram to stress the importance of free software.

As part of the Government's initiative to give an impetus to free software, it had been decided to use free software in e-governance and for the IT @ School project, Mr Achuthanandan said.

''The development of free software is imperative as it will symbolise the fight against monopolisation of knowledge,'' he noted.

Speaking on the occasion, State Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem said IT had a major role to play in the protection, revival and development of the state public sector undertakings (PSUs).

He said IT had helped capital become more fluid and free of local and national control, and enabled industries to reduce cost of management, production, marketing and movement of raw materials and produced goods.

West Bengal IT Minister Debashish Das, who was present, said free software was essential to train the huge IT talent pool, which would be beneficial for the industries in the country.

CUSAT Vice-Chancellor Dr Gagan Pratap said six universities in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka had agreed to colloborate for furtherance and development of free software.

A declaration adopted by the seminar includes procurement of free software by Government or Government organisations/undertakings, appeal to the Centre to issue a white paper on the implications of financial crisis in the IT sector in India, and on appeal to the UGC, Centre and State Governments to use free software both in curriculum framework and research.

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