---------- Forwarded message ----------
Hi Frederick and everyone
This is the first time I've heard the expression FLOSS :)
FOSS yes, but FLOSS no, and it's quite good!
Free/Open source software is really important to APC. Infact our own
content managent system - the APC ActionApps
http://www.apc.org/actionapps/ - which was devised to help civil society
groups pool their content online and create shared portal websites - was
launched under the GNU GPL last year.
We see FOSS as a real and tangible way for moving towards attaining the
right to communicate for all.
In our "Internet Rights charter" one of the points is specifically on
Theme 4: The licensing and control of Intellectual property
4.1 Proprietary solutions and intellectual property: Policy and
regulation that govern public access and dissemination of public
information need to discourage the use of proprietary software and
systems. Governments that make use of proprietary systems to
disseminate information or for educational purposes, encourage others to
purchase legal licenses or violate intellectual property regulations.
This discourages local innovation and learning and enriches privately
owned corporations, usually based in the North. APC calls for the use of
open source and free software solutions. Working with open source
options is empowering, it builds skills, is more sustainable, and it
encourages innovation at the local level.
Many APC members have been real advocates for free software and also
open content since they started working online in the mid 1980s for
some. Now I'd say our most avid advocates are based in Colombia and
Ecuador. Others such as members in Brazil and Argentina tend to be more
pragmatic than political in their use and advocacy of FOSS. As one of
the technical directors said recently: "we will be happy to support and
disseminate [the software as long as it is ] free to copy, redistribute,
change, and run."
Let me know what it is that you need for your study and I'll see what I
come up with. I'd also suggest that you take a look at the back issues
of APCNews, the latest of which Frederick attached.
All the best
Karen Higgs, APC Communications Manager
Tel: +598 - 2 - 400 6460 (GMT -3)
APCNews: Civil society's monthly e-bulletin on strategic uses of the
Internet to promote social justice and equality. From the APC, an
international online community or peace, human rights, development and
the environment since 1990.
To receive the news direct, write to: webeditor(a)apc.org or visit:
APCNoticias: Un bolet�n electr�nico dirigido a la sociedad civil,
enfocado en el uso de Internet para promover la justicia e igualdad
social realizado por APC.
Para recibir las noticias directamente, escribe a: webeditor(a)apc.org o
FROM THE REGISTER
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 13/11/2002 at 04:22 GMT
We do hate to rain on a high-profile corporate love-fest, but we have to
point out that in addition to the much trumpeted $100 million Billg has
donated to India's fight against HIV, he's funding the Microsoft jihad
against Linux to the far more impressive tune of $421 million.
Billg's personal $100 million goes to health initiatives over ten years,
while $421 million of Microsoft's money goes, over a mere three years,
to support MS-friendly development and 'educational' initiatives. And
being a monster MS shareholder himself, a 'Big Win' in India will enrich
him personally, perhaps well in excess of the $100 million he's donating
to the AIDS problem. Makes you wonder who the real beneficiary of
charity is here.
Oh, and let's not forget the five, count 'em, five, vanity puff-pieces
appearing in the New York Times this week glorifying Billg's generosity,
one of which he wrote himself. That's worth quite a lot too, in PR
brownie points for both him and his company. It's far better than free
advertising; it actually looks like news and therefore has immensely
more persuasive value.
Interestingly, the NYT neglected to mention the gargantuan MS marketing
tie-in and obvious bribe against, and obstacle to, Linux adoption in
India. Certainly they've been falling all over Gates in their eagerness
to give him ink, so we're at a terrible loss to explain why they could
find no place, among those thousands of words, to plug in a brief
mention of the $421 million in anti-Linux ammo he's delivering.
Readers see greene-eyed monster
Now for some reader feedback. Admittedly, criticizing a man who's giving
a vast sum of money to needy people has its pitfalls, though since
Biblical days the hypocrisy of rich men conspicuously giving away what
they can't use has been a constant, exemplary theme, often treated with
acidic and sarcastic language.
Nevertheless our notoriously sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued readers have
detected both bitterness and envy in my recent article criticizing
Billg's pledge of $100 million to fight the spread of HIV in India, and
the media blitz which the New York Times so graciously provided him.
o Baiju M <baiju(a)sdf.lonestar.org> reports from the South Indian state of
Kerala (November 2002, email): "We have required volunteers for textbook
preperation in Kerala (9th standard). Please see:
http://mm.gnu.org.in/pipermail/fsf-edu/2002-November/000091.html Its very
urgent, please come forward to volunteer."
- - - - - - - -
Baiju, I wonder if this could be a possible activity for NetAid, run by
the UN volunteers. What do you feel Andrea? It's possible that someone out
there has good GNU/Linux skills, the creativity and the time? A worthy
cause indeed. FN
Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa * India 832.409490 / 409783
BYTESFORALL www.bytesforall.org * GNU-LINUX http://linuxinindia.pitas.com
Email fred(a)bytesforall.org * Mobile +9822 122436 (Goa) * Saligao Goa India
Writing with a difference ... on what makes *the * difference
>From Andrea.Goetzke(a)unvolunteers.org Thu Nov 14 00:45:54 2002
> Dear Frederick,
> nice to meet you.
> I think the tasks you are looking for volunteers for can be performed well
> by online volunteers, i.e. volunteers who engage in the task from anywhere
> in the world, through the Internet.
> Online volunteers can do research for you on Indian language solutions for
> computing, and maybe you also find an expert who can advise you on how to
> implement/programme Indian language solutions.
> Also, online volunteers are perfectly suited to research GNU/Linux groups
> and to reach out to them, and tell them about your group, build links,
> maybe build and moderate online discussions etc.
> You can find online volunteers by publishing your needs in the Online
> Volunteering section of the NetAid website (http://www.netaid.org/ov).
> All published assignments can be found via a search engine. The number of
> people looking for volunteering assignments exceeds the number of
> organizations looking for volunteers, so the probability that you findgood
> candidates quickly is quite high.
> We don't pre-select applications,but the applications are emaileddirectly
> to you, i.e. the organization that posted an assignment.
> In order to publish your online volunteering assignments in the NetAid
> site, you need to:
> - First register with NetAid (in the "Join" section).
> - As a registered member you have your personal "My NetAid" page. Fromhere
> you can register the organization that you would like to publish
> assignments for. You need to post assignments on behalf of an officially
> registered non-profit organization. You register your organization via
> "Create A Group" from your "My NetAid" page.
> - As a registered, and vetted (this just takes 1-2 days) organization you
> can go ahead and publish your online volunteering assignment in the site.
> If you would like a volunteer to get involved with you on-site, there are
> possibilities as well. But how I understand your question, I think "online
> volunteering" is the first option to try. Let me know if you are more
> interested in the on-site alternative.
> Please also let me know if you have more questions. To get a good sense of
> what Online Volunteering means in practice, and to read good examples, I
> suggest you browse our site: http://www.netaid.org/ov.
> Greetings from Bonn,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Frederick Noronha [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2002 8:05 PM
> To: andrea.goetzke(a)unvolunteers.org
> Subject: From India
> Hi Andrea Goetzke,
> Could you find volunteers who could (i) help us take further plans to find
> Indian language solutions for computing (ii) help build links between
> GNU/Linux groups in India and abroad? ...
From: "Mahesh Murthy" <mahesh(a)passionfund.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 09:44:49 +0530
Subject: [india-gii] Sneak Preview of Business Today Column on Gates' visit
Since we are on the topic, and at least some of us seem to be thinking
alike, here is the column that should appear in Business Today next
Don't Bill the Gates.
Let's take the billionaire's healthcare handouts, and turn down the
By the time this article comes out, the world's richest man would have
been here and gone. From what I hear around me, our state governments
are in a tizzy, competing to outdo each other to dazzle the gent. All in
a hope to get some of his cash into their state.
Nothing wrong with any of this. But let's look a little closer at why
the Chief Software Architect is taking 4 days out of that hyper-valuable
time to hobnob with our CMs and CEOs. He's not really here because we
need his money. He's here because he needs ours.
Think about it - Microsoft has seen off legal challenges to its Windows
monopoly. But never before has it seen such a strong marketplace
challenge - in the form of the open source operating system called
Linux is all the things a developing economy like India needs - open,
well-documented, stable, secure, accepted worldwide - and, best of all,
virtually free. Governments around the world, from Peru to the United
Kingdom have begun insisting on open source to power their national
India is not far behind - Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were
among the first to direct atleast some of their IT buyers to first look
at open source for solutions, and only later, at proprietary systems
like Microsoft before placing orders.
This worries the famously paranoid Redmonders. Small wonder that the CMs
of these very states are on Bill's list of people to schmooze on this
trip. "Hey buddy, I'll come and throw a few scraps your way from my
private jet - but, pal, you gotta buy Microsoft."
Governments and their directives are not Bill's only worries. India
isn't that large a market for software - we barely account for 1% of
Microsoft's sales. But the fact is that we are home to 10% of the
world's software developers - and Billy boy just doesn't want Coder
Coomaraswamy to go over to the Linux side of the development fence.
Corporations around the world want lower cost, more supportable and
stable solutions. And the nightmare of India becoming one of the world's
strong Linux-based development centers has ensured that our Ambanis,
Tatas and Narayanamurthy's get treatment on par with our Chief
Ministers. The message again: "Stay with Microsoft and we can beat off
those Open-source Outlaws and bring the world back to a place where a
monopolist can still make a decent living."
The trip is done and over with now - and hopefully some of the glamour
and space-cadet glow would have faded from those who wanted to be
photographed with His Billness. Time for a reality check.
For buyers, it's time to consider how the very nature of software is
changing. From a point where the internet offered the ultimate open,
extensible infrastructure we now have offerings like Microsoft's
Palladium which, in the supposed name of security, takes the free, open
nature of TCP/IP: the platform under the internet, and adds proprietary
bits that will ensure that Microsoft controls and gets paid virtually
every time you go out of the gate onto the net.
You will also see new Microsoft licensing models that force you to pay
subscriptions from now till forever for whatever you use. You don't have
to accept it if you don't want to. There are alternatives.
Further, you will hear standard Microsoft FUD, as they call it
themselves (rumours that add to Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that Linux
is more expensive than Windows to implement. This is Redmond's new
global anti-Linux positioning - once they realized their earlier "Linux
is un-American and un-capitalistic" line actually ended up making it
more popular. Don't take anybody's word for it. Do your own study,
arrive at your own conclusions. More FUD is expected that Linux is
insecure - but this coming from notoriously bug-infested Microsoft is
like Saddam suddenly evangelizing humane democracy.
If you're a developer, keep an equally open mind. There are advantages
to being part of the Microsoft camp, especially if you want framed
photographs you can show your grandchildren - or your customers live
under a rock and will buy MS, no questions asked. For others, there is a
global market for Linux-based solutions that is rapidly developing. You
will have to re-adjust your thinking.
And as far as the Bill and Melinda Foundation to eradicate AIDS? A
wonderful effort by all means. The NGOs among you should strive to seek
connections and funding. And having to write up your reports in Word or
Excel is a small price to pay.
From: "Mahesh Murthy" <mahesh(a)passionfund.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 23:59:55 +0530
Subject: [india-gii] Reposting column on BillG's visit
A few of you have asked for permission to repost this column.
Please feel free to do so at will, <with attributions to Business Today
and hopefully, me;)>
Also there's a rabid discussion on /. about the general topic:
Kerala lauds Microsoft for Malayalam software
By Raghu Menon, Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Kerala's has lauded the move by Microsoft to enable
its next version of Windows software to support the Malayalam language.
"This is the commencement of a long term relationship," Kerala Minister for
IT P.K. Kunhalikutty said after a meeting with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates
Kunhalikutty described the move as a "major step forward for the state,
which has been lagging behind the other southern Indian states in IT
This is the first time a team from Kerala met Gates. This, the minister
claimed, will give the state's "IT for the masses" project the necessary
Microsoft has also promised technical expertise in two flagship projects in
the state, Kunhalikutty said.
These include Information Kerala Mission, a grassroots level e-governance
programme, and "Akshaya," an initiative to bridge the digital divide in the
While the mission is in its nascent stages, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
will soon launch "Askhaya".
"We could not have afforded to miss the bus this time," remarked the
"The very fact that he (Gates) agreed to meet a Kerala delegation ahead of
the other states illustrates Microsoft's desire to work with us", he added.
Microsoft's Indian team and the Kerala government will now draw up a roadmap
in the next 60 days.
"He has agreed to accord Kerala a special focus, which is tantamount to
considering us as a referral point in Microsoft's Indian initiatives. This
includes investment in our state", Kunhalikutty maintained.
"This focus would be at par with the programmes Microsoft runs in Andhra
Pradesh and Karnataka", he added.
Under the proposal, Microsoft would also help Kerala in its drive to enhance
computer literacy at the school level. Also in the offing are specific
competency centres for Microsoft tools.
Infrastructure, technical proficiency of the people and broad policy
framework, according to Kunhalikutty, were the most important requirements
sought by the Microsoft team. The minister was confident of delivering on
"Our adeptness in the IT sector has amplified manifold", he claimed. "We are
at par with Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in this respect."
--Indo-Asian News Service
In Goa we already have one. See
If someone could support us on the technical side (PostNuke setups,
webspace), we could surely think of doing this at a wider/national level.
On 11 Nov 2002, V. Sasi Kumar wrote:
> On Sun, 2002-11-10 at 15:26, Frederick Noronha wrote:
> > On another issue, I think that the ideals of Free Software need to be
> > extended to other fields too (including journalism, where the money has
> > become good in recent years in countries like India but increasingly
> > journalists are feeling choked by their inability to express themselves
> > freely).
> Do you think we could plan a web site where journalists could freely
> express themselves? Or does some such thing already exist? Perhaps we
> could also give regular daily news, if there are enough journalists
> willing to support it.
> V. Sasi Kumar
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [fsug-calicut] MS and LTSP in Namibia
From: Ajith Kumar <ajith(a)nsc.ernet.in>
Date: Tue, November 12, 2002 1:25 pm
To: fsug-calicut(a)freelists.org, fsf-friends(a)gnu.org.in
A link worth visiting. At least for our blind policy makers.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
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To: India Gii <india-gii(a)cpsr.org>
From: Udhay Shankar N <udhay(a)pobox.com>
Subject: Re: [india-gii] Free software guru's book
At 02:22 AM 11/11/02 +0530, Frederick Noronha wrote:
>Incidentally both Bill Gates and
>Stallman are visiting India at the same time.
Sounds like a recipe for a matter-antimatter explosion. :)
((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ pobox.com)) ((www.digeratus.com))
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2002 11:04:00 +0530
To: Udhay Shankar N <udhay(a)pobox.com>, India Gii <india-gii(a)cpsr.org>
From: Vickram Crishna <vvcrishna(a)softhome.net>
Subject: Re: [india-gii] Free software guru's book
At 8:44 AM +0530 11/11/2002, Udhay Shankar N wrote:
>At 02:22 AM 11/11/02 +0530, Frederick Noronha wrote:
>>Incidentally both Bill Gates and
>>Stallman are visiting India at the same time.
>Sounds like a recipe for a matter-antimatter explosion. :)
Absolutely... with BG here for work on AIDS thru technology, and RS
here for work on aid thru technology, there is definitely scope for
fun and games. What a pity (for me!) they will not be in Mumbai....
This is about the work of Sunil Abraham in Bangalore...
PS: At the risk of sounding vain, I could say that in a small way, our own
efforts were successful in getting Sunil to look at Free/Libre and Open
Source solutions for NGOs. Today, he has grown vastly in the field, and is
amazingly competent. Maybe Free Software Foundation could help (I don't
mean financial) groups like this. FN
PPS: To be honest, this mail is extracted from one sent out in another
context. But I think it's important enough for all of us to know what's
going on elsewhere...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Sunil Abraham <sunil(a)indiacares.org> says: "In our own small way we are
promoting FLOSS in Bangalore. A short note about us is attached to this
Sunil Abraham [MAHITI]
314/1, 7th Cross, Domlur
Bangalore - 560 071 Karnataka, INDIA
Ph/Fax: +91 80 5352003. Pager: 9624 279519
MAHITI aims to provide affordable and appropriate Information
Technology services to the Indian voluntary sector. We specialize in
the areas of web / intranet / kiosk / multimedia applications,
consultancy and training. We design and execute projects in the areas of
resource mobilization, collaboration, advocacy, e-governance and
knowledge sharing. We specialize in the use of Open Source and Free
Over the last 3 years we have serviced more than 75 VSOs directly. And
around 1000 VSOs indirectly. Our clients include Ashoka.org, Indian
Foundation for the Arts, Institute for Bio-Informatics and National Law
School of India. We also have commercial clients such as I2
Technologies, Datacons, Datamations and Aztec.
MAHITI is also institutional CTO for Tarahaat.com [Rural ICT Project],
ICICIcommunities.org [Donation Portal for the Indian voluntary sector
funded by ICICI Bank] and Explocity.com [City Centric Portal funded by
NewsCorp]. As institutional CTO we play a wide range of roles from
envisioning the technological road map right through to design,
development, deployment and withdrawal.
MAHITI provides user interface, information architecture and multimedia
design and production services. For example a reporting system for I2
Technologies, a study of application servers for Datamations, an
automobile dealers MIS for Datacons and a grant recipients portal for
the World Bank.
MAHITI is working on two products. One, Knowledge Manager an Indianized
version of Zope Application Server. This is a joint project with Homi
Bhabha Centre for Science Education. This was a finalist for Erica 2000
- an award instituted by Ericsson for technical innovation in the
non-profit sector. This software will conform to the standards
prescribed by the Indic Computing consortia. This is an unfunded
project. It is our belief that this tool would increase equity on the
Internet. Just like Mozilla is free tool for consuming information on
the Internet. Knowledge Manager will be a free tool to produce
information on the Internet.
Two, a fund raising software to be developed in collaboration with MCAS
and supported by Ford Foundation. This is only meant for small and
medium organization as it can handle on 10,000 addresses. It is very
similar to a customer management system. With features such as
profiling, case handling and mass personalized email. Both these
products will be licensed under General Public License.
MAHITI is also a founder member of Bangalore Cares - an on-line and print
directory of over 570 voluntary organizations in Karnataka. In addition
to being a core group member of the Credibility Alliance a consortium of
voluntary sector networks that represent over 15,000 organizations in
India. The Credibility Alliance is working towards enhancing the
credibility of the sector by evolving and establishing standards and
encouraging public disclosure of information. MAHITI is also founder
member technical forums such as the Indian Zope and Python User Group
and Indic Computing.
MAHITI has many partners both non-profit and for-profit for different
types of collaborative projects. Murray Culshaw Advisory Services
[fundraising-india.org] for communication and fundraising consultancy.
Together we constantly update and maintain a database of 7,500 voluntary
agencies. Mithi Technologies [Mithi.com] for multilingual technologies.
Deep Root Linux [Deeproot.co.in] for advanced server appliances. VXL
Instruments [Vxl.co.in] for thin clients and disk-less nodes. Vishwa
Infotech for rural information and communication technology strategies.
Pantoto for community platforms. Alternative Law Forum for legal and
intellectual property issues.
MAHITI has a 22 member team located in Bangalore, South India.
Consisting of 10 staff members, 8 corporate pro bono staff and 4
volunteers. MAHITI is headed by Sunil Abraham, an Ashoka Fellow. Most
members on the team are programmers. We have two user interface
designers who focus on aesthetics, coherence and usability. We follow a
participatory design approach wherein the developers directly interact
with the end users and solicit their feedback throughout the development
cycle. Most team members have cross disciplinary skills and super
specialization is discouraged.
We use the following servers - Apache, TomCat, JRun, MS-IIS, Zope,
MySQL, PostGres SQL, MS-SQL, Qmail, SendMail and Mithi Application
Server. Graphical and multimedia tools such as Adobe Suite, Macromedia
Suite and Gimp. Languages such as HTML, XML, WML, ASP, Basic, VB Script,
Java Script, JSP, Java, Python, C++ and C. We are familiar with the
Object Oriented Design and Unified Modelling Language. The MAHITI team
has held trainings on these topics for various for-profit and non-profit
technical teams. We have conducted over 50 trainings independently or in
collaboration with MCAS, Public Affairs Centre, Indev.org and