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President Of India Advocates OSS 702

Posted by michael
from the one-billion-new-users-can't-be-wrong dept.
cOdEgUru writes "I am sure this is a first. The President of India has urged Indian IT Professionals to develop and specialise in OSS rather than Windows. To be noted is that he made the speech (look for the "Think Different" section) at the famous Indian Institute of Information Technology (India's foremost academic institution equivalent to MIT). Also he reminisces that his meeting with Mr.Gates were difficult due to differing views concerning OSS and Security. What should be noted about him is that he is not a politician, but a scientist and an independent thinker foremost."
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President Of India Advocates OSS

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  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by gexen (123248) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:11AM (#6066767)
    Great for India. This is a great thing. If only the Indian food place near me would open source the recipe for Chicken Tika Mahkani.
  • Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barryfandango (627554) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:13AM (#6066784)
    I wonder how these changes in the political climate of software will affect Microsoft's Indian software development division?
    • by fussman (607784) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:47AM (#6067014) Journal
      Attention all Microsoft Employees: WORK HARDER!!!
    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Cydonian (603441) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:04AM (#6067164) Homepage Journal

      Here's a possible answer [microsoft.com].

      Incidentally, the Microsoft India Development Center is located very close to the other International Institute of Information Technology [iiit.net] campus in Hyderabad [cyberabad.com] (Dr Kalam gave the speech in I-squared-IT, Pune [isquareit.com]).

      In a way I guess, it wasn't surprising that Dr Kalam delivered a pro-OSS/Software Libre speech at an IIIT; been to the Hyderabad campus last year, and honestly, it was a weird feeling looking at a lab full of people using Emacs in Devanagri script. (They were using/developing Anusaraka [iiit.net])

      Yes, that's right trolls, they've successfully resolved two computer-related jehads out there. :-)

    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jkrise (535370) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:11AM (#6067236) Journal
      "I wonder how these changes in the political climate of software will affect Microsoft's Indian software development division?"

      Neither India nor MS seem to be indesparate need of each other, atleast for the software development. The total no. of emps in MS- India is less than 500, an insignificant fraction of the IT manpower of India.

      Except for SFU and now a command-shell with .Net elemnts, MS does not do it's core development in India. Even if this got relocated to the US, I doubt if any significant cost escalation could accrue to MS.

      The only reasons (as I understand) that MS does development in India could be PR and to promote their brand of IP and respect to IP. All in all, this development could affect sales of MSware and ruffle a few diplomatic feathers, but is unlikely to do anything to MS s/w development efforts.
      • Re:Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

        True that it does not affect M$ at all. Anyway, advocacy of Open Source Stuff is one thing - it will rub off well on the student community alone but what happens once they take up jobs in Indian IT companies? Point to be noted is, Indian IT companies thrive on developing stuff on M$ware, with M$ware for M$ware. With the Open Source _business_ model yet to prove itself globally, no one's gonna take this up in India - at least in the foreseeable future.
    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:40AM (#6068005)
      Not at all, India knows it is in a win-win situation. The main reason why Microsoft are investing there is the time difference. Testing can be done in India while the US is sleeping, US programmers can then arrive at work the next day and read the results.

      Sure there are other countries with similar time offsets, but Indians for the most part speak good english and those who study computing are well trained.
  • In India (Score:4, Insightful)

    by r0xah (625882) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:14AM (#6066794)
    This is really great statement to be made, but I wonder how well taken by the students it will be. A lot of the students who attend IIT attend so that they can be marketable in a big business like Microsoft. Working on OSS while a great thing is not going to bring them the same potential monitary gains as working for a big name software company. It would be great for a country the population of India to listen and follow their leaders urging, but I seriously doubt in a country where many are trying to break free of poverty that they will work for next to nothing on OSS.
    • Re:In India (Score:5, Informative)

      by heytal (173090) <hetal.rachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:37AM (#6066928) Homepage
      I am from India, and have been reading these things on /. in the recent stories on India. India is not a poor country, where everyone is just trying to break free of poverty. Please.

      There is a sizeable population in India which earns very well and significantly contributes to the Indian economy.
      • Re:In India (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nathanh (1214) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:52AM (#6067059) Homepage
        I am from India, and have been reading these things on /. in the recent stories on India. India is not a poor country, where everyone is just trying to break free of poverty. Please.

        You must remember that you are speaking with an American. In their eyes, if you don't live in the "Good Ol' US of A" then you are living in a gutter and probably a terrorist.

        • Re:In India (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ramzak2k (596734) *
          and you must be an indian. In your eyes everyone who lives in America are filthy rich, running around with nude babes talking trash about people living in other countries.

          Let keep generalizations away from conversations.
        • OT wanderings (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Trevalyx (627273) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:17AM (#6067310) Homepage
          You must remember that you are speaking with an American. In their eyes, if you don't live in the "Good Ol' US of A" then you are living in a gutter and probably a terrorist.


          Oh, come on now, no need to be vicious. Certainly, as Americans we tend to be somewhat elitist, ethnocentric, and globally unaware, but don't confuse the thoughts of the most audible with the thoughts of the less vocal majority.. Most Americans don't think that just because someone is a foreigner that they are a terrorist, up to no good, or are a drag on the economy. Certainly, they have some fear of people of middle-Eastern descent, but you can't really begrudge them that, due to the current state of things. It isn't to say that we should be afraid, but if you get bitten by your neighbor's dog, you're bound to be a bit wary of your neighbor and dogs in general for a while, especially if you see them regularly going after each-other's throats. Not to go on a diatribe here, and I certainly thinkg Americans could stand to be a bit more globally concious, but the time will come when we don't have a choice, and that statement up there just comes across as being bitter. Your posting history doesn't indicate you as being trollish or having a particular appetite for flamebait, so I'll assume you're just having a bad day.. Hope that improves for you.
      • India's not a poor country, it's just a really, really corrupt one.

        It's a tough choice, I know, between the ideologically bankrupt and wholly corrupt Congress party and the racists in the BJP and their above-the-law backers like Thackarey and his thugs.

        When you guys get that sorted even reasonably well, we'll be willing to listen to criticism from you.
    • Re:In India (Score:4, Insightful)

      by afidel (530433) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:39AM (#6066953)
      There are quite a few large companies looking for OSS talent out there including one of the computing world's largest: IBM. Besides right now Linux is more of a niche because all of the MS certification mills and training centers have flooded the windows market but there isn't really an equivilant in the linux world so while demand is rising quickly the supply isn't.
    • Re:In India (Score:5, Informative)

      by pubjames (468013) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:43AM (#6066992)
      It would be great for a country the population of India to listen and follow their leaders urging, but I seriously doubt in a country where many are trying to break free of poverty that they will work for next to nothing on OSS

      You assume that

      working on OSS == working for nothing.

      Take a look at the kernel development list. You will find that nearly everyone working on the kernel is employed by a big IT company.

      Similarly with most other successful OSS projects. IBM has lots of people working on open source. Ditto RedHat, Suse, HP, Sun, AOL and others. I think it is time we dropped this idea that OSS programmers all do it for free - it isn't the case.
    • Re:In India (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Charlotte (16886) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:45AM (#6067008)
      Working on OSS while a great thing is not going to bring them the same potential monitary gains as working for a big name software company.

      I think you underestimate the power of the Open Side. Though I have a nice degree and make good money, for any future employment I will primarily refer to my work on open source projects as proof that I am as qualified as I claim to be. Open source work like this - done in the public eye and peer reviewed - has become the best kind of resume and the best way to a good job.

      As the economy picks up I'm sure my department will be hiring new system administrators and programmers. If you get two candidates with similar skills, one who worked at Microsoft and one who is maintainer of some Linux kernel driver, who would you hire?

      • Re:In India (Score:3, Funny)

        by $rtbl_this (584653)

        If you get two candidates with similar skills, one who worked at Microsoft and one who is maintainer of some Linux kernel driver, who would you hire?

        Depends on which one gives the best head.

    • Re:In India (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alsee (515537) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:47AM (#6067017) Homepage
      I seriously doubt in a country where many are trying to break free of poverty that they will work for next to nothing on OSS.

      Exacly. No one ever gets paid to write, fix, or administer opensource code. [sarcasm]

      If those programmers in India want to get paid they have to write, fix, and administer Microsoft code. Errr, oops. Only Microsoft can write or fix Microsoft code. The only thing a typical techie in India can do is administer Microsoft software.

      Heck, maybe you're right. If Microsoft software becomes expensive enough to administer maybe it will make up for the lack of a job doing anything else.

      -
    • Re:In India (Score:5, Informative)

      by ddangerkid (188714) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:54AM (#6067074)
      Note that the article summary incorrectly identifies the venue of the speech as an IIT. The institute that Kalam inaugurated is an IIIT (note the 3 I-s?), or Indian Insititue of Information Technology; these teach people to program, as opposed to the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) which, among other things, teach computer science. May I point out they have an /excellent/ Aerospace Engineering program? (alumnus pride)
    • by zogger (617870) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:58AM (#6067115) Homepage Journal
      --the whole idea of developing a market skill is so you can market yourself. Dumping millions more microsoft admins and developers out there just dilutes anyone's marketability-at THIS TIME- it would appear. Seems like you have to walk a line between today and tomorrow, and I'd slap me money on open source eventually "winning" or at least increasing global market and mindshare. There simply have to be many Indians who can see this. also the comments section on the linked story tends to support that idea by a wide margin.

      Everytime I look at it, it is obvious that microsoft feels the same way, else they wouldn't bother in offering incentives down to zero cost, giving away licenses, etc, because there would be no need if they didn't see it or believe it. They could even INCREASE prices if they didn't feel open source was a threat to their dominance. And also tending to lobby for legislative efforts that would further lock themselves in "legally" somehow, establish clear governmental and corporate ties mandated by law. It's a cliche but that is clearly-fascistic. That's a desperation move on their part, or seems so to me anyway.

      IMO, this past year hit the turning point in open source being way good enough for about any use,for any user level. Before still a little clunky and rough around the edges, but now? Naw, plenty good enough to compete with microsoft, propieatry unixes, mac osx, etc for well over 90% of any conceivable use out there, at any level. Even a complete GUI person like moi has little problems with normal non exotic applications with Linux for example. 3 years ago I took a qucik look at it and didn't even bother trying, because I knew I couldn't use it effectively. last yerar I tried again, MUCH MUCH better, the advances were probably more obvious to someone like me than for someone who had been using linux whatever for many many years, because they saw the advances in very small incremental steps. What I "saw" was a decade worth of advancement in a year or two compared to windows or like previous mac classic. That was enough for me to predict eventual open source dominance. Open source went from a V2 rocket level to a Saturn V and moon landing in a few years, so that trend and rapidity of development will continue most likely.

      And the price is sure right-on, trebly more important in areas of the planet where the average wage is dismal. The security is right-on. The customize-ability is right-on. The enthusiasm is right-on. The mindshare with younger geeks is right-on. The license choices are right-on. Hardware is getting cheaper and cheaper and now it's just a matter of time where choice of installed OS is just common, not an aberration at any retail level. Once that occurs it's a new wide open market again, and it's *this close* right now.

      And as to "jobs", any nation makes more money by trading with itself as much as possible, and keeping the money recycliing as close to home, rather than exporting it. India and china in particular are in a unique position where there populations are simply so gigantic that they can take advantage of that. Sure, expat workers sending money back home helps, but CREATING the wealth and money in the first place at home is an economic force multiplier. An example opf that was when the US primarily did this with a more diversified economy, and vertical integration of the various sub niches of the economy. Since we went to exporting our developed ability to create wealth, we've gone from the worlds largest creditor nation to worlds largest debtor nation. India would be WAY smart to not duplicate that mistake,to listen to the thinkers rather than the high level market skimmers, and to seek to get more independent, not more dependent, in IT or anything else.
    • Indiafarming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gosand (234100) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:21AM (#6067337)
      Working on OSS while a great thing is not going to bring them the same potential monitary gains as working for a big name software company. It would be great for a country the population of India to listen and follow their leaders urging, but I seriously doubt in a country where many are trying to break free of poverty that they will work for next to nothing on OSS.

      Hmm, seems to me that the Indian tech firms are able to make it just fine by getting programming jobs from ... the US.

      I know a lot of programmers kind of resent this, but it isn't just about them being able to program cheaper. Most of these programming shops in India are at CMM level 3 or higher. That means a lot to big compaines. Not only is it cheaper, but these places put out good, reliable software with good documentation (code, results, requirements, design, etc). That stuff matters. I am currently on a team at my company that is trying to get processes in place to get us to CMM level 2. It is hard. People don't like following processes, don't like documenting what they do, they don't like being held accountable for their work. Some of the good companies in India are at CMM level 5, which is no small feat.

      So instead of people bitching about India, and how they are stealing our jobs, and how they are just clawing their way out of poverty, maybe we should ask WHY they are able to achieve these things when most companies in the US are not. It kind of reminds me of the Japanese car scare, where people would only "buy American" even though American cars completely sucked. The cheaper, more reliable Japanese cars of the late 70's/early 80's sure woke up the US car industry. Maybe it is time the US softare market woke up.

    • Re:In India (Score:3, Troll)

      by jkrise (535370)
      "This is really great statement to be made, but I wonder how well taken by the students it will be."

      Considering that Indian students are respected the world over, even by His Billness, while presiding over a meeting of IIT alumni in Clifornia recently, one would assume the students would be clever enough to understand the import of the statement.

      "A lot of the students who attend IIT attend so that they can be marketable in a big business like Microsoft."

      For your info., ALL IIT students run Linux on their
  • In his speech, he said:
    I would like to narrate an event that took place in Rashtrapati Bhavan a few months back when I met Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft. While walking in the Mughal garden, we were discussing the future challenges in Information Technology including the issues related to software security. I made a point that we look for open source codes so that we can easily introduce the users built security algorithms. Our discussions became difficult since our views were different.
    • Our discussions became difficult since our views were different.

      *choke* lor' lumme,.. I'd love to have been a fly on that wall!
    • I also remember reading articles today, by a couple of Americans - the outgoing Robert Blackwill, mentioning the imbalance in trade between the US and India - 5 billion vs. 15 billion; and another gentleman suggesting India open it's markets to leading American hitech firms - Boeing and Microsoft! Boeing maybe, but Microsoft?

      Considering SFU was developed entirely in India, as well as the fact that all top 20 IT and commn giants have a direct presence in India, Microsoft would come rather late in th list of
  • by heytal (173090) <hetal.rachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:23AM (#6066809) Homepage
    Slashdot readers may remember that APJ Abdul Kalam, the President of India, is a scientist. He has worked towards developing missiles and the nuclear research of India. He is indeed a rocket scientist.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:52AM (#6067062)
      This is embarrassing actually. We're not even sure Bush can read without some help sounding-out the big words...
    • Abdul Kalam is no scientist. That is just the way he has marketed himself in order to maximize political gains.

      You will probably say that he worked 40 years in the DRDO, India's main Defense research organization. He was an administrator (i.e. management) for DRDO, not a scientist. And his "doctorate" is an honorary doctorate --- he only holds a Bachelor's degree.

      100% politician.
      • NASA invited this "politician" to spend 4 months at the the Wallops Island Rocketry Centre and the Langley Research Centre.

        He also has a DMIT in Aeospace Engineering from MIT (Madras) which incidentally has 2 nobel laureates which is more than can be said than for several american school including Georgia tech(Jimmy Carter's prize for peace hardly counts) If you really want to learn about this great man and his career read his autobiography "Wings of fire" [amazon.com]
  • by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeney AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:25AM (#6066828) Homepage Journal
    Mohandas Gandhi once said:
    Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.

    It's obvious Ghandi would of never used Microsoft.

    Mike
    • Re:true wisdom. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by s20451 (410424) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:33AM (#6066894) Journal
      I wonder what Ghandi would say about the president of India having helped design nuclear missiles [geocities.com]?

      I suspect he would have something to say about that before getting his shorts in a knot over Microsoft's EULA.
      • by Alsee (515537) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:53AM (#6067068) Homepage
        design nuclear missiles

        Well India needs to some sort of deterrent against Microsoft.

        -
      • Re:true wisdom. (Score:5, Informative)

        by jkrise (535370) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:58AM (#6067121) Journal
        "what Ghandi would say about the president of India having helped design nuclear missiles?"

        Actually, Gandhi believed in the doctrine of Ahimsa, or non-violence. His brand was a bit different from that of the Jesus "Slap-my-left-cheek-and-I'll-show-you-my-right" brand.

        While advocating tolerance to evil, Gandhi also extolled self-defence and defence-preparedness. To sum up, Gandhi would've approved the design of nuclear misiles, but with a rider - to be employed after all other peaceful avenues (Ahimsa - non-violence, satyagraha - The path of Truth) etc. were exhausted.

        With reference to MS, this could have meant - If MS lives and lets Open Source live - no worries. If they adopt an either-you-or-me attitude, then it's time to act positively and decisively.
      • Re:true wisdom. (Score:3, Informative)

        by arvindn (542080)
        Dr. Kalam is a vocal advocate of peace. He maintains, however, that the existence of nukes in the subcontinent is one of the things that contributes to that aim, due to its deterrent value. So there's no contradiction here.
      • Re:true wisdom. (Score:5, Informative)

        by The Cydonian (603441) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:36AM (#6067968) Homepage Journal

        Or more precisely, on Dr Kalam leading the team which made the nuke bomb.:-)

        Two different perspectives on this. Larry Collins and Dominic Lapierre, in their extremely readable book, Freedom at Midnight, had suggested that India's testing of the bomb in 1970's was the final break from Mahatma Gandhi's path of non-violence and ahimsa. Raj Chengappa, in a much later book on Pokhran II, Weapons of Peace, asked the same question to the nuclear team, which, of course, consisted of Dr Kalam. The team apparently had their conscience clear; they were developing nuclear weapons not to increase India's fighting ability, but to increase its deterrent ability. We had, to be sure, "not seeked territory in a thousand years" (or something like that; quoting the words from memory), and that, therefore, Gandhiji would have approved.

        I'm sure the team meant well, and personally, I've always admired Dr Kalam and the other team leader, Dr Chidambaram, but with all due respects, the deterrent ability of India's nukes (and indeed our missiles) have long been answered on the snow-capped peaks of Kargil. They are not going to stop terrorists from killing Indian nationals or attacking Indian installations, establishments and everything we hold dear. Not just that, we must also note that large-scale industries are not discouraged, alchohol is not prohibitted (or even if it was, the prohibition has been lifted), or village-level self-governance is not encouraged.

        I don't know if Gandhiji would have approved, but let's at least be honest here:- India has left Gandhi a long time back, during the days of our first PM, Nehru itself, when we had established factories, dams and other large scale industries that Gandhiji detested so much.

      • by lysium (644252) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:17PM (#6068269)
        Perhaps in the long view, Gandhi would approve of nuclear weapons because they are an ultimate deterrent. Granted, this might change if the USA goes ahead with tactical nuclear weapons, but as of yet nuclear weapons have created more indirect peace than indirect violence.

  • I can't help but notice the rather unusual character of JBoss team [jboss.org] (the premiere open source Java server). Is the disconnect due to money problems forcing Asian Indians to work for money? If so, then why the absence of Asian Indians in the Top Coders [topcoder.com] where the top guys are making enough money in prizes to live in the US or Europe?
  • It is I2IT not IIT! (Score:5, Informative)

    by yodha (636988) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:26AM (#6066835)
    The President made the speech at the new International Institute Of Information Technology (I2IT) [isquareit.com] not at IIT.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:28AM (#6066848)

    What should be noted about him is that he is not a politician, but a scientist and an independent thinker foremost.

    Everyone thinks they are independent thinkers. Someone else is an independent thinker if you agree with him, otherwise he's just being difficult.
  • Correction! (Score:4, Informative)

    by arvindn (542080) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:32AM (#6066881) Homepage Journal
    To be noted is that he made the speech (look for the "Think Different" section) at the famous Indian Institute of Information Technology (india's foremost academic institution equivalent to MIT). .

    There are two things wrong with that: first, you got the name wrong: he made the speech at the "International Institute of Information Technology". Second, you're probably confusing it with IIT, Indian Institute of Technology, which is the one that fits the description of India's foremost academic institution. Two unrelated universities.

  • by flokemon (578389) <florence.hotbox@ru> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:32AM (#6066885) Homepage
    He added that India should emerge not only as a software industry but as an "ICT (Information and communication technology) industry" with equal strengths in software, hardware, embedded systems design, integration and total end-to-end solutions.

    I think India is to be reckoned with in the future. Take the pharmaceutical industry at the moment, India has big companies manufacturing generic medicines.
    That story actually reminded of that: give them the source/ingredients and they will try to make it, but cheaper. Obviously they can't make free software any cheaper, but if they try to make it a complete solution, then why couldn't they have a chance of succeeding?
    The major problem they are facing at the moment imho is probably a lack of qualified IT people, but give them time, and they will surely be there.
  • It makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Original Yama (454111) <lists.sridhar@dh ... m ['pal' in gap]> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:32AM (#6066886) Homepage
    It makes sense, since the President of India is a top-level scientist (I believe he headed India's nuclear programme) and not a clueless buffoon [gwbush.com].

    Note for the humour impaired: this is a joke
  • Bit Slanted.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:32AM (#6066888)
    I find the subjective statement that "he is not a politician" to be exceptionally slanted. Clearly, the submitter has alterior motives. It has a certain Clintonian ring to it that suggests that the submitter is the guy's campaign manager.

    Any guesses as to what these motives are? How could you say that the leader of the largest democracy in the world is not a politician, first and foremost?

    I think the slashdot editors should have stripped that subjective statement from the story. Just because a guy advocates OSS doesn't put him on some new plane of existance.

    Anyway, hooray for gov't backed OSS. I'm sure if Bush came out and made the same speech, he'd be crucified on slashdot in some strange way.

    30% offtopic, 40% troll, 30% flamebait, 5% funny, 5% love
    • Re:Bit Slanted.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by heytal (173090) <hetal.rachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:49AM (#6067036) Homepage
      The Indian President, unlike the American president, is a ceremonial head of the state. All the powers lie in the hands of the Prime Minister (currently Atal Bihari Vajpayee). The president of India need not be a politician, and is not elected by the large electorate. The lawmakers elect the president.

      The Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam, has received the highest civilian award in India, Bharat Ratna, before he was elected President. He is a nuclear Scientist, who headed India's defense laboratories.
    • Re:Bit Slanted.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Cydonian (603441)

      I think the submitter was trying to hint at he fact that Dr APJ Abdul Kalam isn't a career politician, but was in fact, largely responsible for India's missile, space and nuclear programmes (Pokhran II that is).

      He was elected virtually unopposed, with token opposition from a Communist Party nominee, so if the submitter was indeed Dr Kalam's campaign manager, he probably had one of the easiest jobs in the world. :-)

      Any case, this isn't quite governmental approval for OSS/Software-Libre; it's more like Dr K

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:33AM (#6066895) Journal
    India is really making gains in the IT world. They are also a rapidly expanding and potentially quite vast market. If a company can get enough of a foothold in India, we may see someone other than MS dominate there.

    1 000 000 000 million people worldwide using an Os that isn't Windows..... Now, that would clobber Microsoft's world domination plans.

    On a side note, anyone know how I can invest in India's IT stocks?
    • 1 000 000 000 million people worldwide using an Os that isn't Windows

      Fuck I better start impregnating women like crazy if we are going to hit those numbers, but if thats what it takes to beat MS I am prepared to suffer and do it. Girls please form an orderly queue outside my door. Preferably supermodels/fit actresses types to the front.
  • by heytal (173090) <hetal.rachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:35AM (#6066914) Homepage
    The most unfortunate thing is that India still seems to believe in proprietary solutions. Further spread of IT which is influencing the daily life of individuals would have a devastating effect on the lives of society due to any small shift in the business practice involving these proprietory solutions. It is precisely for these reasons open source software need to be built which would be cost effective for the entire society. In India, open source code software will have to come and stay in a big way for the benefit of our billion people.
  • Pebbles (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brettlbecker (596407) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:35AM (#6066918) Homepage
    The leader of the world's most populous democratic (as far as that term goes, anyway) nation advocates the development (and thus the use) of open-source software. Completely excellent.

    With this announcement following the Munich decision, it will be interesting to see if any further cities/states begin to take a closer look at open-source alternatives. If these increasingly influential parties have some success with this decision, then I would think that this could be quite the spur to others who are getting fed up with being strangluated by the ever-more restrictive licensing and lowest-common-denominator quality of many proprietary products.

    Are we perhaps watching the pebble begin to roll?

    B
  • Optimistic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:36AM (#6066925)
    He may not be a pure politician but theres a lot of political optimism in the numbers he's looking for regarding growth. Indian IT will not keep growing the at the rate it is now for much longer, I'n not saying it wont grow, just not at the rate they are projecting. It strikes me as very naive and shortsighted for a leader to put so many economic eggs in one basket by baking on IT to prop up the economy. Its not oil or Gold, customers can get it somewhere else.
  • I'm always looking for examples to present to my boss to switch to OSS. My company is mostly in the US. Unfortunately even the recommendation of a country's president isn't enough to persuade them to even look at OSS. While I see lots of news of other countries actively switching to Microsoft's alternatives, the change is still extremely slow in the US. I think even when the rest of the world is mostly on OSS the US will be the most stubborn in letting it become the majority. But it'll take world press
  • famous Indian Institute of Information Technology (india's foremost academic institution equivalent to MIT)

    Not that I care to defend MIT, but how is this university equivalent to MIT? I saw the 60 minutes by Leslie "kiss ass" Stahl a few months ago. They way they measured its competitiveness is by the acceptance rate of an exam that high school students take, which any student can take in hopes of passing. I'm sure its a fantastic university, but there is no way it can have the quality of applicants see

  • makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ramzak2k (596734) * on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:40AM (#6066956)
    For a country like india to invest in open source. They have the IT manpower, a huge indegenous market with enough demand to absorb anything that is created even if they dont prove successful oversees where microsoft is already a dominant player. I dont know what Gates discussed with the President of India about security, it sure dint go too well.

    Also, it should be noted that the president of india is not directly elected by the people unlike united states & does not carry that much of a power. I would like to hear something like this from the prime minister of India - which will not happen because industry lobbyists are effective where there is a need for money to run in elections.
  • IIT, IIIT and I2IT (Score:4, Informative)

    by rmathew (3745) <rmathew.gmail@com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:40AM (#6066957) Homepage
    To be noted is that he made the speech (look for the "Think Different" section) at the famous Indian Institute of Information Technology (India's foremost academic institution equivalent to MIT).

    RTFA!

    He made the speech at the International Institute of Information Technology (I2IT) not at an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT).

    By no stretch of the imagination are any of these India's foremost academic institutions. The submitter perhaps meant one of the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) here...

  • by hotchai (72816) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:43AM (#6066988)
    Oh the irony!
  • Great News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wahgnube (557787) <slashtrash@wahgnube.org> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:44AM (#6067000) Homepage Journal
    I was just reading a book written by the Indian president, Igniting Minds and came to realize how forward thinking and intellectually "fresh" (childlike.. curious, don't take stuff for granted, asking extremely basic questions...) this great man really is. This is great news, in the sense that there are people at "higher levels" who have foresight in science/technology. I hope it sets a precedent for other countries as well. In a side note, the IIIT is not a premier institution, no where near the league of the institutions equivalent of MIT here.
  • Whoa....... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:45AM (#6067006)
    "What should be noted about him is that he is not a politician, but a scientist and an independent thinker foremost." "

    Whoa. Electing a thinker. What a bizarre concept.

    Those whacky Indians. Let's rain some "Freedom" down on their asses.

  • India it would appear is working incredibly hard to drag itself out of its near third world state - it has one of the most prestigious technical universities in the world (the Indian Institute of Technology, who's graduates include Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems Inc.).

    It has programmers that may not be paid as much as their US counterparts, but for this very reason are being courted heavily.

    So, you're the President of India. You're trying to make your country more money. Which will you do: churn your countries workers into Microsoft developers, or work with Open Source?

    Microsoft Advantages:
    • Major desktop monopoly.
    • Large funds to finance new infrastructure, education, etc.
    • Major business ties, especially in the United States.


    Open Source Advantages:
    • Free (as in Beer) - your students/average citizen can get ahold of it.
    • Free (as in Speech) - if your companies should ever start to compete with Windows in a major way (thereby making India more money from paid developers/consultants), you don't have to worry about some unknown factor messing them up *cough*DR-DOS*cough*.)
    • Open Source is making huge inroads into the server market. If you support Microsoft, you support Microsoft's growth, which *might* mean more money for India, but *certainly* means more money to Microsoft than India would get. Supporting Open Source and being the best at it guaruntees more money to India in the long haul.
    • Piracy - my understanding is that piracy is pretty much a problem in nearly every Asian/Middle Eastern country, including India. If you support Open Source now (which is pretty much pirate proof), you can actually cut down on piracy in the long term. (You can't steal what is free - which means you have money to spend on something else.) If India should develop major anti-piracy laws in the future, having much of your software being Open Source cuts down on all the nasty legal issues.
    • Decrease business overhead. Open Source software typically runs on cheaper components, so Indian businesses that use that can save money on hardware (and software, natch) with Open Source, which means more money to give to programmers/company bottom line. More money in the business sector means more money in citizens hands, and "trickle down" theory says "Hello!".
    • Broader variety of hardware support. If an Indian company were to come out with its own computer chip technology/plants to compete with Intel, Open Source would allow that company to have a quick access to applications (granted, there would be the issue of compilation/etc, but at least there would be a common base to start with).


    I'm sure it wasn't easy for this gentleman to have to explain these ideas to Mr. Gates. I'm not saying that Mr. Gates is a bad person in general - but having a potential 1 billion market right in front of you and told that the competitor has the inside track (especially after all the charitable donations to that country) probably didn't help his appetite very much.

    The interesting thing is how this will trickle out. Why did Unix make it big in the business world? Well, students trained on it, and when they entered the Work WorldTM, they said "Hey - I can make a Unix server and solve problem XYZ." This is something that Microsoft has bet on as they help finance education - churning out the folks who "know thier stuff".

    If more companies are turning to Linux for their development/help desk needs, odds are, a student with an Open Source education will propose using Open Source tools to solve the problem.

    It's very, very interesting. There are cracks appearing in the walls, and I'm wondering how much longer the flood will be held back.

    Ah, well - at least Apple isn't going out of business this month. (And they're getting pretty good about supporting Open Source too. Hmmmmm....)
  • by nomadicGeek (453231) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:00AM (#6067664)
    Nothing earth shattering here. Free software is a necessity in such a poor country. The cost of Windows XP and a copy of Office XP would wipe out about one third of the average person's annual income.

    From the CIA World Factbook 2002 edition...

    India:
    GDP per capita: $2,540
    Population below poverty line: 25%
    Unemployment rate: 8.8%
    Internet service providers: 43
    Internet users: 7 million

    True that there are over a billion people in India but the vast majority are involved in agriculture, are uneducated, and most likely will never be able to afford a computer. Its not like this is a major blow to MS.

    From a government standpoint, India is much better off using free software and saving money for public health and other more pressing issues.

  • No Better (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mobileskimo (461008) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:05AM (#6067704) Journal
    WE designed and DEPLOYED the first nukes on Japan. WE still pump the most funds into designing NEW ways to kill people. How are we any better? How are we in a position to criticize someone else?
  • by jazuki (70860) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:08AM (#6067719) Homepage
    A P J Abdul Kalam led the nuclear weapons program in India prior to being tapped to be titular head of state as President. (Note that the President of India is largely a ceremonial post, like the Queen of England. However, it does offer a bit more of a bully pulpit. As in England, the head of government is the Prime Minister.)

    When India tested its first nuclear weapons (both fission and fusion), Abdul Kalam crowed with pride about how it was an indigenous effort. And this was largely true: They figured out, based on published materials, and with some Russian help and some reverse-engineering, how to build the facilities to generate weapons-grade uranium and plutonium and make heavy water, and constructed the facilities themselves, the latter with very little outside help. This was because they didn't want to be dependent on anyone else for such a critical national security matter.

    It's about India being master of her own destiny.

    So, it must really grate on Abdul Kalam that so much of software developmetn work in India is focussed on proprietary, and externally controlled, technologies. For him, the OSS model offers a perfect way out, sharing with the rest of the world, but leaving no chance that the rug can be pulled away without India's acceptance.

    That said, all he has is the bully pulpit. Hopefully, he will be able to get some of the relevant people, whether in the universities or in government, to listen and take the issue seriously.
  • by mritunjai (518932) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @11:17AM (#6067814) Homepage
    1. Indian president is not elected directly, but indirectly by elected representatives.

    2. Current president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is an exception. While previous presidents were just symbolic heads as dictated by constitution, Dr Kalam has actually taken steps to bridge the communication gaps, meeting publically and raising his opinions on matters... to much discomfort of the dirty politicians.

    3. Dr. Kalam meets hundreds of school children daily. His vision is to bring about awareness in current generation and imbibe a scientic vision in them. He encourages them to question the things around them.

    4. Dr. Kalam has been very supportive of humanitarian work. His team developed an ultra-light carbon composite for heat shields of ICBM Agni missile. Working with a doctor, Dr Kalam made available that material for making artificial limbs of physically challanged children. An artifical leg for children which used to weigh 3.5 KG (7 pounds) now weights 300 grams (less than 1 pound). Dr Kalam lists this achievement in his 3 life time achievements above all nuclear and missile stuff !!

    5. He has written two books which are one of its kind. You have to read them to believe them!
  • by morgajel (568462) <{moc.lejagrom} {ta} {redaerhsals}> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:27PM (#6068346) Homepage
    The President of India is advocating opensource.

    I don't even think our president knows what opensource is.
    You ask Bush what he thinks about opensource and I'm sure he'll go into a story of why they're bad and how he got opensource once from kissing a farm animal.

    In all seriousness, I think this is a very good thing. Last time I checked, India had a larger population than wyoming. If their tech school starts churning out linux guys, their country will eventually turn to linux, and there will be much rejoicing

    that would make me happy.
  • by jordandeamattson (261036) <jordandmNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @01:46PM (#6068972) Homepage


    First, I don't find this speech all that surprising. India since Gandhi and his spinning wheel has had a focus on independnce as a people and a country. Nehru - first prime minister of India - and others pushed for the formation of IIT to help India grow their own crop of engineering professionals. In this they have been extremely successful, but the unexpected consequence is that that engineering talent has been exported to other countries. And well it should, for it is top-notch (here I speak as someone who has two IIT grads in my chain-of-command and work closely with a passel of them and am hiring three to work for me in India).



    On the other hand, this speech is not all that significant. Dr Kalam's influence is extremely limited. Remember that in India the president is the head of the state, with little - if any - power or authority. This speech is roughly equivalent to Queen Elizabeth coming out in favor of OSS. Would it make the news? Yes. Would it influence British business or political decisions in a significant way? Probably not. The equivalent in power and authority to the US President in India is the Prime Minister.



    Dr Kalam hold the larger ceremonial position of president because of his work as the "rocket man". He is the person that gave India ballistic missiles and his naming to this position by the BJP (the leading, Hindu Nationalist party that runs the current Indian goverment) was at the point where tensions were at their highest with Pakistian last year. It is widely thought it was to send a message to Pakistian that India was serious about Kashmiar and would not back-down.



    Bottom line, I don't think that IIT grads will be focusing their energies on OSS work. It is their desire to land a job with a Microsoft, Adobe, InfoSys, Tata Consulting Group, or Wipo. These companies are focuing on building and delivering non-OSS software.

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