FOSSMeet 2020

FOSSMeet is an annual event at NIT Calicut that brings together the Free and Open Source Community from around the country.

Anivar Aravind


Understanding #Openwashing : The emerging threat to Software Freedom

Submitted Mar 5, 2020

“Openwashing” is a term derived from “greenwashing” to refer to dubious claims about openness. One of the best things about the free and open-source software community is that it that it’s quite resistant to deception. But what happens while the definition abuse target is not the developer and FOSS communities, but the public policy space.


A language of openness is used for the last few years by lobbying groups to hijacking the ‘open source’/’open standard’/’open content’/’open government data’/’Open data’ friendly policy space created in India by FOSS communities and other digital commons movements. These efforts resulted in a new trend of proprietory technologies and fenced access-controlled APIs marketing themselves as “Open” and as “digital public goods”, with continuous definition abuse. These closed and fenced API projects falsely themselves as ‘open protocols’ and ‘open standard’ against all definitions. Efforts to replace software freedom adoption in government with this new openwashing language is now a threat to software freedom in India & world.

The talk is in the light of Consulatation paper on “National Digital Open Ecosystem (NODE)” published by MEITY.

Speaker bio

Anivar Aravind is a public interest technologist, working at the intersection of technology, politics and digital rights. He is actively evangelizing the need of software freedom as an essential precondition to ensuring Digital rights.



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