In the series of sharing Linux and Open Source journey, today we’ll read about Krishnakant Mane and his experience and views about Free and Open Source Software.
Some of you might already know Krishnakant or KK (as his friends and colleagues call him). Krishnakant is a software engineer by profession and an open source promoter by passion. He works on various open source projects, some of them specifically meant for visually impaired computer users.
I must add at this point that Krishnakant himself cannot see. He lost his eyesight in the childhood but this did not deter him from learning. Today he is a known Open Source advocate giving TEDx talks and leading open source projects such as GNUKhata. He has also started Digital Freedom Foundation to promote Free and Open Source Software in India.
I had the chance of e-meeting with him when his colleague contacted me to cover GNUKhata, an open source accounting software. This lead to an email interview with Krishnakant Mane which I have published here. I am sure you would like reading Krishnakant’s journey and mission of Open Source.
Interview with Krishnakant Mane
Hello KK, first, a little background about yourself?
I am Krishnakant from Mumbai city, India. I am a software engineer by professional and a liberal (democratic) socialist who believes in equal opportunities and absolute rationalization of resources to make an equal playing ground for education and employment. I am developing free software and advocating its use through Digital Freedom Foundation and my major contributions are the work with Orca screen reader and GNUKhata.
I have a mission of making rural India ICT empowered so that they come on par with all of us fortunate people.
When and how did you start using Linux? How did you learn about Open Source? Who is your hero?
I prefer referring to freedom oriented technology as Free Software and not Open Source (KK remarked on my liberal use of the term ‘Open Source’). I was a Unix SysAdmin to begin with and then through some online reading and few college friends came to know about GNU/Linux. But they did not tell me its value for our digital rights and freedom. I then slowly started to attend GLUG meetings in Mumbai and once met Dr. Nagarjun, a senior scientist at Homi
But they did not tell me its value for our digital rights and freedom. I then slowly started to attend GLUG meetings in Mumbai and once met Dr. Nagarjun, a senior scientist at Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education of TIFR. He is also the president of Free Software Foundation of India.
There are many people who share technology, but Nagarjuna made me convinced about value to make people aware of their digital freedom and the rights for their own privacy, security and ability to control technology. Thus I came into the free software moment in 2006.
Many people do wonderful things for society and nation and they all are my Heros. Dr. Richard Stallman, Dr. Nagarjun and Dr. Prakash Amte are my main heros and I am fortunate that I have been very close to all the three.
Which Linux do you use?
I use Ubuntu currently but am not opposed to any Distro.
Which Linux/Open Source project you contribute to?
I mostly work on GNUKhata. I have also worked on training projects for visually disabled people with the Orca screen reader. One such project is called True vision with Tamil Nadu state government.
How did Linux/Open source make a difference in your life?
I think free software gives power in hands of everyone and with some organization and a lot of community efforts, including professional and enthusiast, we can make a better world. This has practically happened with me.
Anything you would like to say to It’s FOSS readers to motivate them?
I think we must look at Free Software or what many call as Open Source not just as another alternative or good replacement to proprietary software, (which in most cases it is ) but also the fact that the cotrol is with us and we decide how it shapes up. Only thing is taking time to participate for your own benefit.
This was Krishnakant Mane and his views of Free Software. If you like reading this, you may also want to read about Ali, a blind Open Source programmer from Iraq.
Personally, I salute such courage to overcome odds and the passion to make a difference. People like Krishnakant are living source of inspiration. What do you think?