Sunday, August 30, 2009


{Summary: This paper explains moral and legal implications of open format and suggests ways to implement it.

This text of Talk was to be delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh on August 26, 2009 in the Third International Open Document Format User Workshop organised by SERPRO (Federal Service for Data Processing - Ministry of Finance, Brazil) and Caixa Econômica Federal in collaboration with the OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), at Brasilia, Brazil. However due to unavoidable circumstances, he could not participate in the workshop but this text was sent for circulation.

To read it in Portuguese (titled as 'Uma Boa Semente Faz Uma Boa Colheita') in pdf format - click here}

If there is any country that I wanted to visit in 2009, it is Brazil. And there is a reason for the same.

Charles Darwin in 1881
About 175 years ago, on 27th Dec 1831, HMS Beagle started its second voyage. Aboard was a naturalist, born on 12th Feb 1809. The first important stop of Beagle was at Bahia, a north eastern part of Brazil. The naturalist was struck by the beauty of the Brazilian forests. In 1939, he published his memoirs—'The Voyage of the Beagle'. He wrote, 
'BAHIA, OR SAN SALVADOR. BRAZIL, 29thFeb.—The day has past delightfully. Delight itself, however, is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist who, for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest. The elegance of the grasses, the novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers, the glossy green of the foliage, but above all the general luxuriance of the vegetation, filled me with admiration. A most paradoxical mixture of sound and silence pervades the shady parts of the wood. The noise from the insects is so loud, that it may be heard even in a vessel anchored several hundred yards from the shore; yet within the recesses of the forest a universal silence appears to reign. To a person fond of natural history, such a day as this brings with it a deeper pleasure than he can ever hope to experience again.'

So much awe-stricken was he, that he started his own journey: a journey that changed the World; changed our thinking how we came about. The young naturalist was Charles Robert Darwin, one of the greatest scientist of all times. And irrespective of faith, his theory on 'The Origin of Species' changed perception of our origin. The World over, this year is being celebrated as his bi-centenary birth year. It is for this reason that I wanted to be in Brazil, to see the beauty of the country that inspired him to take that extraordinary journey.

Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to be in Brazil in this memorable year.

STEPHEN HAWKING: Courage personified

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