Table of Contents

Free software story

1 Few ideas:

  • the initiation - free software usage, merits and motivation
  • exclusive use of free software for teaching
  • examples to include:
    • Online coaching for US students using Jitsi and GNU/Linux
      • Usage of Xournal for whiteboard
    • op-mattermost and its usage to advocate free software with OpenProject
    • GNU LibreJs contribution and receiving first donation
    • Savapage stint

Hints - strong storytelling for all those cases.

2 Draft:

My motivation to write and contribute to free software work has always been freedom and money. For me writing (both program and paragraph) have been a means of income and survival for the last few years.

I used to work for big companies before who paid handsomely for writing proprietary software. The transition to free software was a challenging one - what led me to it was a bigger cause which was freedom of users: including myself. I still can't wrap my head around the notion of 'freedom' as an abstract concept and its applicability to software. Is software freedom really that important when there are other freedoms which are constantly at stake? Freedom of speech, expression, living, movement, identity and so on. All of those matter more when compared to software freedom. Software freedom may help in achieving those in some ways, however, it cannot exist as an isolated moral or ethical principle. Human freedom always takes center-stage. Also, the notion that 'proprietary software is fundamentally unethical' is a flawed argument. There are examples of unethical designs, implementations and usages, however, that cannot apply for all proprietary software. It cannot be a zero-sum proposition. Having said that, free software generally are benevolent and freedom respecting, however, not every user requirement can be and would be satiated by it.

Free software has helped me in learning about software development, implementation, design, version control, collaboration and communities. This has definitely been an exciting journey, one that has lived with me for over a decade now and will continue to be. Over the last few years, I have met many people who contributed to free software and have learnt a thing or two from them. The challenges they face in terms of earning revenue for the work they do. One such example is Savapage - a Free/Libre Open Source (FLOSS) printing portal founded by Rijk Ravestein from Netherlands. The project was recognized ( as free software more than year ago by the FSF. Even though there were users for Savapage across all over the world: Africa, Asia and Europe, it wasn't able to make a decent revenue - not enough for business expansion. I learnt Free Software Advocacy from Rijk and was introduced to Free Software Business Practice ( Rijk is a free software practitioner and helps those who want to adopt free software practices.

My journey of using free software for business started through a teaching gig that I did for couple of students from US who wanted to learn Python programming. I used free video communication tool Jitsi for conducting the sessions. Xournal for whiteboard and notes creation. Had the complete set up created on Trisquel GNU/Linux running a Libreboot X200s machine ( This setup used 100% free software with no proprietary blobs - not even the firmware blobs. I got paid for the gig and the students were happy to learn more about computers, free software and programming in the due course as opposed to what was taught traditionally in their schools using proprietary counterparts. I still continue to teach those students and am actively seeking more who can learn about the fundamentals of computer programming, mathematics and free software. My service was enlisted on the FSF directory ( for the same. Apart from that, I had written this free software integration ( for OpenProject (a fork of Redmine) project management tool in Mattermost teams software. The free software integration needs donations to support its development infrastructure and implementation of new features despite its recent sponsorship from OpenProject Foundation, Berlin.

Author: Girish M

Created: 2022-12-09 Fri 16:32