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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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  • Re:English in India (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robb0995 ( 633070 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:53PM (#4963562)

    I am in the process of opening a satellite office in India for my company to hire developers and back office personnel, and language doesn't really seem to be a barrier at all.

    In fact, my next trip over, I am scheduled to meet with training centers that train call center agents to speak with a midwestern american accent, and even teaches them current events!! So, this is not even socio-economic class-based, as developers earn significantly more than they do.

    You have to remember that the country was a UK colony until 1948, English is not nearly the problem I worried that it might be.

  • by stevejsmith ( 614145 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:26PM (#4963737) Homepage
    Maybe they're poor because of you? Do you really think that if the United States stopped trading with everybody (specifically Iraq and Saudi Arabia, our main oil suppliers considering that Venezuala is for shit now), dropped Alaska (we bought it from Russia, you know, because of good diplomatic relationships), we would still be the super power that we are? No. We would smell and we'd bathe in the Mississippi River. Are you so dumb that you don't understand that? If all other nations did to the United State what you want to do to India and Saudi Arabia, do you think we'd be the way we are? No. No we would not. Get an education, because you've just been outsmarted by a high school freshman.
  • by yogkarma ( 635120 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:44PM (#4963800) Homepage
    India can build their own OS, hardware and database system and language, Only problem is Indians are not ready to think this way. They are not ready to fight to get adjusted with current situation of India. As you can see there are more number of psychiatric case in banglore after dot COM then ever. The younger generation's hero is people like sabeer bhatia who earn millions in few years, but that is not the truth any more. The hero who can show path for Indian IT future is the one who will give idea to build entire home made software and hardware solution. The confusing part is that Indians still want to work for foreign company and yet want to live and think like their parents who have experience of working in Indian companies like TATA, BIRLA and Reliance. Or in Indian Government organisation. Where competition means bloody politics, and narrow-minded approach. Indian government must think that ultimately you have to give price to LINUX also in one way or other. As most of the user group are nothing but free bug fixing hut for any software. And as far as cheap labour is the question, ha ha India is the best. Now we have answer of poor people also.
  • Re:Ah, yes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> on Thursday December 26, 2002 @09:58PM (#4963844) Homepage Journal
    US developers still have benefits over Indian ones. They're closer, easier to communicate with.

    This is a very big deal. In order to use a remote team - in this case off shore developers - the business users have to actually document what they want and get it right the first time out. Solid requirements... I've seen this type of development succeed only a handful of times, most projects produce something between what they asked for (not to be confused with what they wanted) to catastrophic failure. Come to think of it, it has been a while for requirements too. Anyhow, the short of it is most business users will rather pay US rates so they don't have to do the groundwork required to move stuff over seas. Not to say they don't give it a try once or twice first...

    One of my favorites was working with a business user who thought they needed complete creative latitude / absolute control. We went round and round about address and phone number validation. What is valid? (555) 555-1234, SOMENUMBER (alpha characters that map to digits), or extensions? A few months later the call came in on how to handle the UK customer's phone number.

  • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @10:23PM (#4963940)
    I'm not a zealot, I believe in the right tool for the job. I'm lucky enough that I understand programs and programming fairly quickly and can use a variety of toolsets. I do not assume that everyone is like me, and everyone makes the same value decisions on ease of use. free/libre, support and all that. I think that is where RMS and other zealots fail. RMS is a programmer, a pretty good one in fact, but his views are sometimes colored by that.

    I think an unbiased TCO analysis is kind of hard now. Each side has an agenda to push. Depending on what you investigate you can come up with different numbers. The only survey I can think of that I consider did a decent job on TCO is an survey that shows apache on linux is cheaper than the main alternatives. [] That obviously doesn't show "user" apps, just servers.

    As far as the bias goes, I think the way TCO is asked is biased as well. I rarely see people include the cost of Microsoft's essentially forced upgrades or the time and effort tracking obtaining and tracking licenses. There are also some intagibles, such as not being locked in, being able to look "under the hood" - the US government's post-9/11 intelligence gathering, MSes history of tracking have people a bit wary now. Those are real, though hard to put dollar number on, concerns.

    There are companies that offer support for OpenSource apps, they're not as big name as Linux itself, they tend to be smaller shops.

    The other thing is that the switchover cost, at least as it currently looks, is a one time cost, vs. continuous costs (MS forced upgrades) albeit that are lower. The problem is you have to at some point bite the bullet. Things like Crossover are making this easier and a gradual conversion.

    I'm not saying everything should be opensource, but things like WordProcessing make sense. It's a very mature app, fairly stable code base once you get to "modern" wordprocessing feature levels, and it's dangerous to have your important data locked in a proprietary format. If the Justice Department really wanted to make a dent in the MS Monopoly they would have forced MS to open up completely all past, present, and future Office formats. This would guarantee compatibility with competing apps, and MS would have to compete on features, not on lock-in. it would also ensure people could read and write their old Office files and not have to upgrade. It would be pretty ironic if outside apps had better support for MS's old formats than Word does.
  • by ninewands ( 105734 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @10:34PM (#4963994)
    India is different! They have a lot of brain/man power over there.

    Thrue. Idia is probably the only fully-functioning democratic country between Australia and Israel and it owes it's ability to function to the existence of a fairly effective public education system and the highly entrepreneurial spirit of it's people.

    And they are still a very poor country.

    Unfortunately, this is true for two reasons.
    • First, India is, historically, a poor country because the Hindu religion emphasizes spiritual gain over material gain. This has allowed India's non-Hindu rulers over the past several centuries (first the Moguls, then the British) to exploit the "lower-classes" for their own benefit. The caste system in Indian society also contributed to this problem.
    • Second, following India's attainment of independence from Britain, the government adopted a very socialist-oriented system of central planning and control that led to massive corruption, capital flight and near-zero foreign investment.

    India has GREAT potential to become an economic powerhouse rivalling, maybe even exceeding, the US, the EU and Japan if they stay on their current path.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Salubri ( 618957 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:15PM (#4964182) Journal
    I can't believe what I'm reading today. I really cannot.

    From what I can tell this article was origionally put up on slashdot in order to show that Linux and open software were starting to gain some "marketshare" in the global scheme of things with the Indian government maneuvering to deploy the OS.

    So what do I find really as I scroll through the comments today? I see people claiming that this is bad because other countries might be using something other than Microsoft, which employs americans. I see racist comment after racist comment. In fact I've seen so much of it in this thread that I am sickened by this.

    If this is the case, you might ask why I'm responding or why I even bothered to continue reading. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, or maybe rather than get sickened and let things bother me it gives me the fuel to give a constructive criticism. Either way I'm compelled to speak my mind. Mod me in any direction that seems appropriate.

    First of all, I'm having a little trouble seeing how this is costing any american jobs. From everything that I'm gathering here, the Indian government is, by and large, an undeveloped market in computing. No one is losing their job because linux is being used. No market is shrinking over this. The only thing that can be said is that Microsoft is not EXPANDING it's influence into India further. Microsoft still has all the lucritive markets it had before.

    Secondly, I've seen many comments about the level of filth or inferiority of the people living over there. Perhaps people have had it too easy for a while to really see one point. In a country like the US, with a relatively strong economy and relatively low unemployment, it is much easier for a person to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. It is much easier to use programs provided by either public or private institutions to train in a field and get a job. What if that was taken away? What if you were born into an environment that wasn't as cushioned? You'd be struggling just as much as anyone there, or anywhere else where life is hard.

    Are jobs being lost in the US? Absolutely. Wal-Mart is killing off Mom-and-Pop shops. American companies are killing off other american companies all the time. American companies are even doing things like moving to other spots in the country where employment is low. I can remember the day that the factory in my hometown shut it's doors because the local union employees refused to work for less than $20.00 an hour. They went somewhere more viable for employment. In the case I gave, South Carolina... where people were more than willing to bottle beer for $8.00 an hour. Just because jobs are being lost in America doesn't mean they're being relocated overseas. It's ignorant and just plain fucking stupid to think so.

    I do agree with one of the posters I saw here... Americans really do need to learn to tighten their belts if they want to stay competetive. You can't keep on earning a salary that allows you to buy/lease a new car every year, computer upgrades every 6 months, eating out every night, and living like a king to produce a product in a global economy where people with the same skill set are starving and willing to do the same job for much less. It's the reason that a Gibson Les Paul will cost $2000 while the Epiphone Les Paul is $600.

    ~shakes head~ Okay. I'm done ranting. I'll get off my soap box now. But it's like one poster said... people should be open about thier opinions.

  • Re:Porting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:23PM (#4964220) Homepage
    Mainwin for example says that it cuts porting times down from 18 months to 6 months; so it isn't just a recompile. My guess is that the numbers are similar for Wind/U. Also remember that visual studio itself is much deeper than visual studio apps would be.

    In any case I'm not a microsoft employee and haven't seen the source. My point is only that the people who have looked at said it would cost a fortune and would never pay for itself. As for Wine that's way too far behind the times.

    Finally as for India and Linux I think there is another major factor. 3rd world office workers tend to be more intellegent and better educated than their 1st world counterparts in similar positions. Which means ease of use is much less important, and ease of customization is more important.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:34PM (#4964260)

    > How much money are they saving really? By adopting linux they are also opening thier own tech support centers. Training and hiring those people costs money. They still have to develop (costs money) or buy software (Gee jolly gosh, this costs money too). Supporting linux might actually be a more expensive proposition then sticking with microsoft. I think they did it becuase they feel it is a better operating system. Save money in not needing new hardware maybe? I dont think money was a big factor in thier decision making.

    Step back and ask yourself how much money will flow out of the country this way over the next 30 years vs how much would flow out if they didn't switch.

    What India and others are doing is commonly called "opting out".

  • by geo_2677 ( 593590 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @11:56PM (#4964327)
    This is good news indeed. As a linux programmer based in India, this certainly is more than a great news. All the more happy, just like many others out there, that Windows is being shown the door. Beleive it or not, the Open Source champions in India owe a lot of thanks to Bill Gates for this. If he hadn't come to India to make a publicity stunt of supporting the AIDS cause( ofcourse he is more worried about Linux than AIDS ) Linux would not have got so much attention in govt. circles and media as it does now. A few months ago any ordinary business man would know and talk only abt MS and Windows. Now he knows about Linux also. Now whenever the media talks MS it talks about Linux in the same breath. Free OS gets free publicity.
  • by norculf ( 146473 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @12:37AM (#4964476) Journal
    Doable, but unlikely. Americans won't walk to work or sit in a train when they can pilot their SUV in luxury and solace. They won't pay for solar cells either.

    And Bush is an oil man. He isn't going to mess with big oil.

    I also thought all the uranium was in South Africa, and that's why we let them run wild. Maybe that was another element...

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.