Community Member Monday: রিং/ring (S R Joardar)

Today we’re talking to রিং/ring (S R Joardar) from Bangladesh, who’s helping to spread the word about Free Software (as in freedom) – including LibreOffice – in his country…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a GNU/Linux user, lover, translator and supporter since 2000, and a sysadmin since 2003 using Red Hat 5.0, later Fedora and RHEL. I am using Ubuntu in personal computers since December 2006. Canonical sent me a zero-priced gift pack of 10 CDs with Ubuntu 6.10 back then. I have started deployment of Ubuntu servers with Ubuntu 8.04 manual installations in 2009, and just provisioned a few instances with 22.04 on Linode and Digital Ocean. In the years 2009-2017, I personally made over 6,000 new desktop or laptop installations with Ubuntu and LinuxMint.

I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2011, I along with 21 more Free software enthusiasts formed an organization titled “FOSS Bangladesh (Foundation for Open Source Solutions Bangladesh)” and started with official tour to the Universities here in Bangladesh. Up to December 2019, FOSS Bangladesh had organized 75 events in various universities and colleges and schools to spread out the digital freedom knowledge among the pupils, the future leaders. I have invited Mr. Richard M. Stallman came in Dhaka, Bangladesh at Daffodil International University for a session in 2014 and he agreed to my request and visited. I am also a Mozillian (Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird Fan, User and Supporter and end user support volunteer). At present I am working as the General Secretary of FOSS Bangladesh.

I am an IT Freelancer, working on PPH and Freelancer. I love to cook food and play cricket besides my computing and voluntary support to spread Free Software knowledge. 🙂

How well is FOSS, LibreOffice, GNU/Linux etc. known and used in Bangladesh? What are the obstacles to adoption?

In 2011, FOSS Bangladesh ran an online survey to gather approximate user data about GNU/Linux users, with the help of various online local language forums sites here in Bangladesh. Back then, it was around 9,000 people. As per my statistical knowledge nowadays, the pupils I had served with installations and had met by 2017 became professionals, and GNU/Linux users is now more than 100 times of that 15,000 count.

The obstacles to adoption of GNU/Linux and LibreOffice in here in Bangladesh is the lack of law bindings regarding software piracy. So far, can obtain a pirated copy of Windows 10 with Microsoft Office, and many more and get used to that closed, bind and blinded ecosystem. So when it comes to the professional workplace, most people got bound into that closed software ecosystem. They do not think that they are stealing – and on the piracy index globally, they make Bangladesh ashamed. Government offices here also go alike with the closed software ecosystem.

But the scenario is changing day to day. Those who once got the chance to get out of that closed system embracing the GNU/Linux ecosystem or the Free Software getting hold for his/her lifetime. They also spreads the enjoyment of Freedom to their surroundings.

Spreading the knowledge of Free Software and Digital Freedom is a must. Only sharing and caring, and contributing to the Freedom Ecosystem, can make that happen in the future. But the COVID-19 pandemic affected local events ing FOSS Bangladesh since 2020. We hope to start with a new run soon, by November 2022.

You’d like to grow the LibreOffice community in Bangladesh. How can others help out and get involved?

Translation and helping others to use LibreOffice can help grow the community in Bangladesh more quickly. Since 2010, I have transformed three industries in Bangladesh from Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu, and then LibreOffice came along. To this date, date they are using Ubuntu 20.04 or Linux Mint 20.3 with LibreOffice 7.3.2. I have to install, train end users to get into the ecosystem, and provide day-to-day user support. Around 500 users are migrated and get evolved in this Free Software ecosystem, and using it in the professional arena. I can recall 15,000 valid contacts, but the real count is many more than that.

In Bangladesh, I know that there are there are more private companies running only on Free software.

Finally, how can people get involved and help to grow the LibreOffice and Free Software community in Bangladesh?

We have already have setup a Telegram group – join it here.

Many thanks to Ring and all members of the Bangladesh community for their work and support!