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Linux Business

Indian Government Moves to Let Linux In 330

Webi writes "The government of India has started taking precise, wide-reaching steps to usher in a Linux wave in India." India sure seems to be a highly contested arena lately. Interestingly, India's plan calls for government-sponsored support and call centers. Looks like they've really thought this through.
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Indian Government Moves to Let Linux In

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  • by MamasGun ( 602953 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:49PM (#4963535) Journal
    ...good for them!

    In developing countries, Free/Open software makes tremendous sense. When your average worker doesn't make enough money in the average month to buy a license to Microsoft's latest OS, you know there's a disconnect.

    Maybe my home state (CA, the new capital of hideous debt) might take a lesson from India.
  • by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:54PM (#4963569) Homepage
    Ok, And I Should Caaaree......Why?

    Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn't, but the point is it provides a positive example of how to engage the government in promoting open source - whatever country you're in. That's of interest to a lot of us, I think - not just the Indian Slashdotters. ;-)

  • by agentZ ( 210674 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:55PM (#4963572)
    Because the government of the world's largest democracy just told the world's biggest business to go soak its head.
  • by Rambo, John J. ( 633310 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:55PM (#4963573) Journal
    This is good for the economy.

    A mammoth country like India is the first spark, pretty soon after other parts of the world follows, the tech support business model will take off.

  • Re:fuck fuck fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smd4985 ( 203677 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:59PM (#4963600) Homepage
    You guys need to take an economics course. Globalization and outsourcing of jobs to other countries is not bad in and of itself. In fact, in general it benefits everyone in the long run. In the short term the workers who were let go are hurt, but if the proper steps are taken (i.e. new skills training) then the short term loss is minimized.

    If it wasn't for cheap foreign labor, America would never have been able to become a service economy. Basically, Americans could not have been as rich without cheap foreign labor.
  • India and Linux (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Salubri ( 618957 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:06PM (#4963638) Journal
    There are quite a few things I'm seeing going on here that I do have to point out.

    It has been voiced that India is foolish for going with open source which "at most will be half done" as opposed to Microsoft.

    Think about this: India is a nuclear power, and they can hit major cities. Do we REALLY want a microsoft product running this? Think about it... this would bring entirely new meaning to the term blue screen of death.

    Personally I see linux right now being stuck in this trap. They don't have the marketshare because there isn't the development, and they don't have the development because there is no marketshare. One of these things has to be fixed for the other one to be fixed. India is a HUGE populous. If this becomes the OS of choice over in India, it WILL lead to more development of Linux in general of which the entire linux community will benefit.

  • but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sgups ( 449689 ) <sgups@NoSpAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:09PM (#4963650)
    But if anything my own experience of living there tells me, nothing will come of this move for another 20 years and by that time the MS flag will be flying higher than the stars and stripes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:10PM (#4963661)
    Yeah, all that support and so forth can come from LOCAL BUSINESSES instead of allmighty Microsoft. A handful of smart teenagers learning the Linux source code will do wonders for innovation and local business in India, I'd bet.

    Better to pay a local $10 instead of shipping $100 to Microsoft, eh?

    Foreign companies of any type would be better off NOT being under microsoft's (or the USA's) control. (And no, you're not under Stallman's control if you use Linux, so who cares what his agenda is).
  • by drudd ( 43032 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:12PM (#4963670)
    You have to remember that India is developing very rapidly as an IT power, but the rest of its economy is still struggling.

    So the labor costs in India relative to license fees are MUCH lower than in the US. So open source is removing the bulk of operating costs.

  • by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:19PM (#4963700) Homepage Journal
    Would my car perform any better if I had the precise engineering details about how every little part worked?

    Yes, you do, and yes, it does.

    You may not have those details to hand, but they are available to you. You may not want those details, but they are available to folks who are able to use them. That's why your fancy-schmancy modern car is significantly better than Grandpa's Model T.

    ... most would prefer to buy Microsoft (Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes, etc.) rather than hacking up a Linux (junkyard car ...

    How about Microsoft (1950's Rolls Royce clone, with a trouble-prone Chevy engine) versus Linux (modern Subaru)?

    ... I think Microsoft and other American companies getting more business means that there'll be more jobs here on the homefront. Just a thought...I'm not economic genius ...

    Right. You aren't. We can get jobs through trade with India. We don't have to sell them software to trade. Your conclusion may be obvious, but it is quite possibly wrong.

  • by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:25PM (#4963733)
    Within 10 years Linux or one of its offshoots will be the primary OS used on desktop and server computers world-wide. India is looking towards placing themselves in a very advantageous position in this new IT world.

    Same thing as anybody with any sort of intelligence has their eye on things such as alternative sources of energy..
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:31PM (#4963758)
    India is different! They have a lot of brain/man power over there. And they are still a very poor country. That will change tho, and when it does, would you rather them be pushing m$ or something free? It's not about performance or source code, it's completely about economics and control of ones own future and brain power.

    Besides, not every country in the world can pay ridiculous license fees for shotty software just to make a few people in some other country richer. Argh, ya know, instead of bitching about other countries, people should go there and check it out first hand. You'll see things in a completely different light and probably realize the whole high-priced, disposable 'american way' can't fly everywhere. jeeze, this is so obvious!

    As far as complaing about jobs, sorry man (really!), but remember, those of you lower on the ladder were sacraficed for those higher up. How many bosses took pay cuts or forfeited their vacation so you could stay on board? Absolutely none! So before you go complaing about those bad immigrants or bad people in other countries taking your jobs just remember, someone had to make that decision here at home. And it was your ex-boss/superstar management team.
    We won't have to worry about a terrorist attack or the like ruining our economy because we're doing it to ourselves. Give the middle guy a decent wage and get some creative management not selling their souls for the all mighty dollar and we'll go far. Of course, this is completely unrealistic today, but hey, some of us still have to keep thinking ahead..
  • by inquisitive ( 212340 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:39PM (#4963790) Homepage
    In India, labour is cheap. You can hire fairly good prog/sys adm for 1/4th-1/8th the cost of a moderately good American. Linux will help the small businesses, and provide more opportunities to folks (like me) who plan to enter the SMB market with Linux/FOSS consultancy services. (OK, currently I am outside India)

    Considering the fact that US Gov/MS have a penchant for interfering, trying to strongarm anyone (including democracies), the less dependent we are on US tech, better for us.

    The biggest gains from going F/OSS should happen in the Military, Edu and SMB areas, that's my guess.

    BTW, stop trashing India folks. Yoga, decimal system, astronomy, Ayurveda (nature medicine), Meditation, Buddhism, Karate, Sanskrit etc originated in India. Do you westerners ever consider that? All that is FREE! No Patents, No Copyrights.
  • Re:Thanks! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:53PM (#4963834)
    heh, haven't seen any lepers in the U.S. for a while and the water is safe to drink. who's really winning?
  • He may be annoying (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2002 @10:05PM (#4963877)
    I don't know.

    But he changed the world.

    I don't have to call the OS GNU/Linux to know that all this wouldn't have happened without *his* idea.

    Linus is great, probably even more competent than many. But RMS kicked the ball. Who knows how many years we would have to wait for Linux, had he not started GNU?

    Good night... Sleep well, knowing tomorrow morning no change in EULA will happen to Linux, thanks to good folks like RMS, Linus, many, many others and... the GPL!
  • by Dunark ( 621237 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @10:11PM (#4963899)
    The loss of sales in India is going to be the least of Microsoft's problems. Imagine what's going to happen when all the new Linux expertise from India goes looking for jobs in other countries. Microsoft's argument about Linux being more expensive to operate is going to go down the flusher very fast.
  • Re:Thanks! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2002 @10:13PM (#4963905)
    would you care to go and see for yourself? leave the tourist areas and see how filthy it really is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:05PM (#4964139)
    I can hire ultra cheap Indian coders and sell my programs in the USA for the SAME PRICES!!!!

    1) Create programming company.
    2) Outsource work to India.
    3) Sell at full retail in USA.
    4) PROFIT!!!!!
  • by deego ( 587575 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:13PM (#4964172)
    > So now Slashdot officially endores state central planning?

    [1] Slashdot is not officially endorsing anything. It is a news forum posting interesting news and users like you comment.

    [2] Just where did you get the idea that there's any socialist planning going on here. As I understand it, India was socialist until several decades ago, not now

    [3] If you read the article, this was about using Linux in government, not forcing it on people in some sort of "socialistic" planning. As an example, this will involve ending "MS only" on certain government contracts. Yes, this will also mean using Linux in Government-schools, but so?

  • this is big.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deego ( 587575 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:23PM (#4964218)
    The Linux in China thing was big, quite big.

    This, OTOH, is perhaps even bigger, for 2 reasons, imho: Language and a larger number of developers in India. Linux being adopted in a country on a massive scale means that you can be assured of a good and user-friendly distribution showing up. There was one in China and one in Brazil too (IIRC) but none of them was in English. The indian one is defninitely going to be in english (possibly with strong internationalization support). And a good linux is bad for M$ and very good for all the rest of us.

    Or, they might just adopt one of the standard distributions like Debian, and in the process, accelerate the move towards userfriendliness of that distro.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:39PM (#4964282) Homepage Journal

    You are correct in that most so-called programmers with less than 5 years experience think they "deserve" a six-figure salary because they used to be with some dot-bomb. You are also correct that most of them aren't productive enough to justify those rates.

    The problem is that people with the experience to justify those salaries have a hard time getting noticed and hired when 490 of the 500 resumes submitted are barely or un- qualified.

    The problem is also that businesses have no problem nickel and diming their development salaries post-dot-bomb. Hell, I just saw a posting for Oregon that was offering a whopping $12/hour for front-line Unix support. How many people with any kind of professional training (doctor, engineer, lawyer) would even dream of taking a job at such rates? Yet it's "greedy" for me to expect to make a living with a University degree and fifteen years experience to back me up?

  • by rks404 ( 267508 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:41PM (#4964287)
    I am shocked to see how quickly this post has turned into racist troll bait. It's amazing how ugly people's attitudes can turn with a downturn in the economy. So many people here are quick to blame Indians for the fact that there are so many jobs being shifted overseas - aren't the American companies and the US government that allows this also to blame? I do agree that we should be more protective of our domestic economy, but the people that are truly profiting off of cheap Indian labor are the American mega-corps like IBM, Sun and Oracle.

    This post has been eye-opening for me, as an unemployed Indian-American programmer, because I've always seen the entire Linux/Free Software/late 90's geek culture as a new kind of social phenomenon unencumbered by the baggage of the past, including racism and nationalistic xenophobia. The idea of all these foreign governments throwing their weight behind Linux means that there will be a larger userbase, more developers, and more vitality to the entire Free Software movement. But instead of greeting this with open arms, I see lots of people denigrating India and Indians. Yeah, more curry jokes and discussion about filthy, stupid Indians. Don't forget that your favorite OS was initially developed overseas by foreigners and is currently picking up lots of steam in Asia.

  • Re:Ah, yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miu ( 626917 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:48PM (#4964305) Homepage Journal
    How exactly does hiring a US-based team obviate the need for harc-core requirements definition? Will the US team work for free if the customer's requirements specification was screwed up?

    Most projects with any real scope miss tons of requirements. This means that the team and customer have to negotiate date or feature slips. Much harder to do if the two cannot meet face to face.

  • Shades of Mexico? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @12:01AM (#4964343) Journal
    I'm not trying to put a damper on this, but lets not forget what happened in the past. I certainly remember hearing all sorts plans Mexico had for Linux. There were supposed to be millions of installs by now. Now its just remembered as one of Linux's higher profile failures. So while all the rah rah "let's embrace the underdog" talk is nice, get back to me linux hits >50% of the desktops.

    If India is as important to the world of software as everyone says it is, Microsoft isn't just going to walk away. They'll throw a billion or two into PR, lobbying, software give-aways, and FUD before giving up. And then they'll throw in a billion more. Remember money IS the only thing that matters(carve that into your dorm room desk). The fact that MS is competing with something that can be downloaded for free doesn't change anything.

    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,4573 7, 00.html

  • by Salubri ( 618957 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @12:02AM (#4964348) Journal
    ...I've always seen the entire Linux/Free Software/late 90's geek culture as a new kind of social phenomenon unencumbered by the baggage of the past, including racism and nationalistic xenophobia...
    You and I both man. I've worked crap job after crap job here in America to educate myself. I didn't turn around and blame others when I wasn't handed a cushy job with no degree just because I knew a couple programming languages and how to run linux.

    I don't even know what to really say that I haven't said in my previous post or you haven't said. However, I think I'm adding you to my friends list.

  • Re:Porting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <stuart@gathman.org> on Friday December 27, 2002 @12:23AM (#4964415) Homepage Journal
    Since I'm Indian, I'll take the liberty of saying that there are cultural factors at work here as well. Indians LOVE free stuff. We'll waste gobs and gobs of time with useless junk trying to make it work as long as it's free.

    While the time may be "wasted" from a time and materials billing perspective, it is hardly wasted. Trying to make things work exercises creative problem solving, and gains a deeper understanding of how things work. The employee who expends a reasonable amount of time making junk work, even if unsuccessful, will be much better prepared for a real crunch. A wise company will encourage a balanced amount of this.

  • by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish.infoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 27, 2002 @12:53AM (#4964527) Homepage
    I have done a great deal of work over the last year or two with people in India. In fact, it's thanks on large part to them that I'm able to support myself at the moment, since I'm currently a nonresident alien in the country where I now reside and thus not permitted to have a job as such. (Nebing an American who finds oneself in that situation is a bit ironic, I must admit, given that in the States we're always hearing about foreigners trying to enter the country to take our jobs.)

    Without boring you with the details, let me just say that many of the programming books you're buying these days are written and edited there, at least in part. (And some of the "polishing up" work gets outsourced to me.)

    Their enthusiasm for doing useful, meaningful work is genuine, as is their desire not to be lisence-taxed to death while trying to do it. They simply can't afford it. So Linux and other Open Source technologies are a natural for them.

    I also wonder if it'd have done Microsoft much good to make a pitch in any case. According to Microsoft's own "Attitudes Towards Shared Source and Open Source Research Study", as quoted in the Halloween Documents [opensource.org],
    Ratings for messages that were meant to be negative actually had a positive response among the respondents. For example, when read what was supposed to be a negative OSS message about OSS and proprietary software having a similar TCO, nearly half (49%) of all respondents said that having heard this message they were now MORE FAVORABLE towards OSS.
    In other words, the very things that MS keep trying to tell people are "evil" about OSS are in fact what people actually like about it! Especially those people concerned with the bottom line because they can't afford not to be.
  • by m1a1 ( 622864 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @01:33AM (#4964631)
    I see that you are a little unfamiliar with the rage that only us Americans seem to have. Simply put, we are an angry people. Some people think we just try to pass of blame onto other people to take it off of our own backs. This is sometimes true. But it would be much more accurate to say we just blame everyone for anything for the hell of it. When you get to a certain point of pissed off, you can't have enough targets. If you lose your job to someone willing to work 70 hours a week for 35 grand a year, the "hard working Indian immigrant" becomes a "daiper-head terroist" or "dot wearing misogynists", etc. It isn't that most Americans really hate Indians. Not at all. But when we get pissed we aren't afraid to say it. You will also notice more Americans are killed in violent rage by Americans every year than Indians. We just make fun of you, we kill each other.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tyndareos ( 206375 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @06:43AM (#4965356) Homepage
    Those idealistic demonstrators you describe are not against globalization. They are in fact for globalization, but against the unfair globablization that most of the first world countries prefer, because they realise that real and honest globalization will have a serious impact on their economies that will have a very hard time to compete on almost any ground.

    Of course it's much easier for those being protested against to claim that the protesters are against globalization and against improvements for impoverished countries: even half-smart people who don't bother to inform themselves buy that.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller