SFD08 Press Release II

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Press Release

Date: September 20, 2008

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community of Nepal (FOSS-Nepal) observed the fifth international Software Freedom Day today. The day was celebrated by over 500 different volunteer groups in 120 countries. The theme for this year's celebration of FOSS-Nepal was "Create, Share, Collaborate." Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Ganesh Shah started the proceedings at Yala Maya Kendra in Patan, Kathmandu by unveiling a compilation of Free/Open Source Softwares in a CD named "Nirvikalpa." Honourable Minister also announced the launch of a web-portal named "Prasfutan." "Prasfutan" which means "blossoming" in English aims to provide a collaborative environment to a vast number of local talents in Nepal whose creativity has a reach only up to a limited audience comprising of their acquaintances. This is in sync with the theme of "Create, Share, Collaborate."

Programs were also conducted in Dharan and Chitwan by FOSS-Nepal local chapters.

Program Highlights:

  1. Candlelight Vigil and Solidarity Rally on the eve of SFD.
  2. Documentary Shows
  3. Signature Campaign
  4. Demonstration of Free/Open Source Softwares
  5. Demonstration of FOSS Educational and Scientific Packages
  6. Open Art
  7. Experts' Session
  8. Open Hardware and Robotics Workshop

Key Speakers:

Officials of the Government of Nepal representing the High Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT) and National Information Technology Center (NITC), journalists, teachers, students, professionals and other individuals were present in the packed auditorium at BaggiKhana in Patan Dhoka.

Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Ganesh Shah

Mr. Shah shared his own experiences as a Freedom Fighter. He talked of the struggle for freedom in various fields and was very glad to learn of a similar movement in the field of technology. He pledged his unfettered support and commitment to the Free Software movement in Nepal. "I will do all I can in my capacity to prioritize and promote FOSS in the policy and government level of Nepal", he said.

Senior Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit

He pointed out the necessity of Free/Open Source Softwares to minimize the digital divide that's building up in developing countries. Talking on how Free Softwares can help achieve Free Media, he pointed out the need for Nepalese press to vigorously advocate the proliferation of such softwares.

Member Secretary of HLCIT, Dr Madan Pariyar

Full Time Member of HLCIT, Manohar Bhattarai

Executive Director of NITC, Dr. Subarna Shakya

President, FOSS-Nepal, Subir Pradhanang

The speakers expressed concern for brain drain happening from Nepal. They unanimously recognized FOSS as the medium that could generate employment and develop a vibrant IT industry in the country.

Kathmandu Declaration

During the formal official session of the day's events, a "Kathmandu Declaration" was signed by the volunteers of FOSS-Nepal in Kathmandu.

Context and Background Information

The declaration talks about the right to information, especially in the context of electronic exchange of information. The context and background information for the Declaration being categorical about the "Right of Information" is explained by Prabin Gautam in his blog.

The official statistics and result of Nepal's recent historic Constituent Assembly Election, that turned Nepal into the world's youngest republic and in a rare event, brought a warring party of Communist guerrillas into mainstream democratic process can be accessed only by using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The website is run by the government's Election Commission.


We pledge our commitment to this declaration, signed on the 20th of September 2008. We will work whole heartedly towards implementing it.

  1. Apart from the usual connotation of the term "information", entities like technology, procedure, results and statistics related to any study, research or implementation that involves partial or complete participation or investment of government or public bodies will also be treated as "information."
  2. Everybody will have an equal right and access to information. This shall be called the "right to information."
  3. Even while making use of the technologies available today or that might be available in the future, the right to information will be guaranteed.
  4. Proper standards will be used to safeguard the right to information while exchanging data electronically.

The Free/Open Source Software Community of Nepal.