I’ll be in Delhi, India for the Red Hat sponsored IP Symposium to be held August 24 and 25. With luck and planning I hope to visit our Tibetan friends up in McLeod Ganj near Dharamsala. (more on that later). Here’s my assignment:

Panel Discussion: Open Source, Open Access.

  • Jim Wales, Wikipedia
  • Madhukar Sinha, Registrar of Copyrights
  • Subbaiah Arunachalam, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation
  • Paul Jones, University of North Carolina

The philosophy of copyleft has emerged as a powerful and credible alternative to copyright. Where traditional copyright seeks to control and restrict access, copyleft seeks to empower and encourage sharing. The growth
of open source software like Linux, Apache etc and web sites like the online, open source encyclopedia called Wikipedia, iBiblio and many others are examples of this trend. Open Source is built on the tenets of collaboration, community and shared ownership of intellectual resources.

The growth of the Internet opened up unparalleled opportunities for harnessing the contributions of thousands of volunteers across the globe while open source licenses like the General Public License, Creative Commons
License and others created a formal, legal framework for enabling such collaboration. In fact, most of the infrastructure of the Internet is itself based on open source software.

Inspired by the success of Linux, (which has grown from 10,000 lines of source code in September 1991 to over 100 million lines of code today) and other open source efforts, many other disciplines biology, scientific
publishing, films, music etc are now applying the principles of collaboration and sharing within their discipline. Open Source has now moved far beyond the world of software into being a mainstream philosophy and a way of life, a way of life that is in tune with Indian traditions.

This session will examine the relevance of the Open Source philosophy to India’s future as a Knowledge Superpower. Questions that this session can address are:

  1. Does the open source approach open up alternatives to the current IP regimes that are heavily loaded in favor of the West?
  2. Within the Indian socio-economic context, where the knowledge economy needs to reach out to more than a billion people, does open source provide a viable alternative?
  3. Can the open source model encourage greater industry-academia collaboration and accelerate innovation?

As usual suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Also if you have travel tips to India, Delhi, and Dharamsala, please let me know.