Gates' foundation pledges $100 m for India AIDS campaign
>From Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Microsoft chief Bill Gates Monday announced $100
million from his foundation to battle HIV/AIDS in India, asserting the row
over the number of victims should not detract from the enormity of the
"We do not really know the number of HIV/AIDS victims in India but the
sooner we bring attention to the problem and greater visibility, the better
we can face it," Gates told a press conference here.
"There is no doubt that India faces a serious challenge."
On a four-day visit to India, Gates said AIDS was a growing crisis around
the world and in some countries, 25 percent of the adult population were
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed an initial support of
$100 million to slow down the spread of the dreaded virus in India, he said,
the largest the organisation had funded in a single country.
The software czar was responding to a question about the projections by him
and U.S. Ambassador Robert Blackwill about the extent of the disease in
India that reportedly annoyed Indian authorities, especially Health Minister
New Delhi asserted that Blackwill's projection that India would have 25
million HIV victims by 2010 was exaggerated.
Denying being a part of any study projecting these numbers or of trying to
spread panic, Gates, who met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the
afternoon, said he hoped the numbers were not very high.
"So far, in the history of AIDS, every estimate of the spread of the disease
has been low. My point is that numbers should not be the focus."
But toning down the loud alarm he sounded in the run-up to his four-day
visit to India, Gates maintained Monday that the disease was at a
"relatively lower level" and early stages.
While India had launched many initiatives against AIDS, a lot still needed
to be done, he observed.
"India can not only address its own challenges and save millions of lives,
but also help other developing countries with emerging epidemics.
"India is poised to be a global leader in the development of new HIV
Gates said his foundation would work in collaboration with the federal
government, mainly focusing on two aspects of the anti-AIDS campaign - the
mobile population most prone to contracting and spreading the disease and
communication and advocacy efforts to raise awareness.
Truck drivers, migrant labourers, construction workers and their partners,
who are said to be more vulnerable to the disease, were a special focus of
the initiative, which would be steered by minister Sinha.
But the Microsoft head hastened to explain that this was not to generate or
spread damning stereotypes about certain sections of the population.
"It is everyone's problem and no one should have the impression that only a
particular section should respond to programmes against AIDS. It is
important that people with the disease are not treated in a discriminatory
way or stigmatised."
Was it difficult convincing the government about the extent of the AIDS
challenge it faced?
"I think it is a problem that you almost cannot talk too much about. It is
worth reminding each other about the importance of fighting AIDS all the
time and we should all carry it on our minds."
India has some four million AIDS patients at present, while global
projections indicate 45 million new infections in the next eight years.
Said Helena Gayle, the chief of the Gates' foundation's AIDS and TB
programme: "An estimated 28 million of the new infections can be prevented
if existing HIV prevention strategies are scaled up and new prevention
technologies are created.
"That precisely is the focus of our effort in India."
Gates, known as the world's richest man, is visiting India for the third
time as he discusses health and IT programmes.
He will visit Bangalore, a Microsoft development centre in Hyderabad and
address businessmen in Mumbai. Microsoft has had a presence in India since
1987, with offices in five Indian cities including Bangalore.
--Indo-Asian News Service
isn't a sweet moment in indian IT history, that bill gates and richard
stallman are in delhi at the same time? i haven't seen this much
highlighted (perhaps i missed some media coverage). but today's new york
times makes reference to india' emerging enthusiasm to embrace open source
and free software officially. (remember the economic times front page
headline last month which said that the ministry of IT was endorsing
here's the full text of the NYT article.
the link is
November 11, 2002
Bill Gates to Tour India Amid Global Software Debate
By SARITHA RAI
BANGALORE, India, Nov. 11 Taking the case for Windows software to a
crucial audience, Microsoft's chairman, Bill Gates, is set to begin a
four-day tour of India today.
This country has an estimated half-million individual software developers,
many of them writing programs for some of the world's largest corporations.
Mr. Gates's visit, his third to India, comes as programmers around the
world are being lured to join the so-called open-source computing movement,
which favors the Linux operating system available free or in low-cost
software packages over proprietary systems like Microsoft Windows.
"India is a big bet for Microsoft," Rajiv Kaul, Microsoft's managing
director in India, said last month in announcing Mr. Gates's visit.
"India's unbeatable developer strength has ensured that we are in the top
slot for Microsoft globally."
Software developers are the people who write applications that work with a
given operating system. And their support is crucial to Microsoft.
"Microsoft is a marketing machine," said Satyen H. Parikh, "hooking
developers by offering them hundreds of shrink-wrapped packages off the
shelf, ready to be deployed, along with a variety of goodies." Mr. Parikh
is managing director of the Indian unit of Borland, a provider of software
tools for developing applications across platforms that can span Microsoft
Among other recent measures, Microsoft recruited perhaps India's best-known
software executive, N. R. Narayana Murthy, the chairman of a leading
software exporter, Infosys Technologies, to endorse Microsoft's
technologies in large newspaper ads. The headline on one quoted Mr. Murthy
as saying: "When I saw Windows XP in action, I was amazed. How did
Microsoft get hold of my wish list?"
Mr. Gates is scheduled to visit New Delhi, Bangalore, Bombay and Hyderabad.
If previous visits are indicative, his trip will attract a fawning group of
state chief ministers and federal political leaders lining up outside his
hotel suites, waiting for a chance to meet with the world's richest man.
Recent actions by the government, however, have been less than adulatory.
Just weeks before Mr. Gates's impending arrival, officials in India's
Department of Information Technology in New Delhi leaked details of an
effort called the Linux India Initiative. It is meant to promote Linux as a
viable alternative to proprietary- based software for use in government
departments, state governments and corporations.
But recently, Pramod Mahajan, the information technology minister, has
declined to discuss the initiative. "I don't want to comment on Linux so
close to Mr. Gates's visit," Mr. Mahajan said last week in a telephone
interview from New Delhi.
Mr. Mahajan, whose office displays a large framed photograph of himself
with Mr. Gates, a founder of Microsoft, on a previous visit, added: "Bill
Gates is Bill Gates. He is a brand name. And I won't say anything
Linux, a descendant of the Unix operating system that is distributed free
and written and debugged by volunteer programmers, is capturing the
imagination of the techie community. But unlike in neighboring China, where
the government actively promotes open-source software, in India the
democracy makes it difficult for the government to decree a blanket
So far in India, Linux is used on fewer than 10 percent of the country's
personal computers and server computers. But the potential market for any
operating system is huge: although the country is a leading global software
exporter, there are only an estimated four million PC's in use here among
the nation's billion people.
"India and China are the world's fastest-growing markets, making them
attractive to multinational computer corporations," said S. Ramakrishnan,
head of the software division of the Department of Information Technology.
Compared with the Western industrialized world, where the open-source
campaign is nearly as much a philosophical issue as a monetary one, the
appeal of Linux in a developing country like India could be mainly economic.
"India needs millions of copies of software," Professor Swami Manohar said.
He added that if that number was multiplied by 5,000 rupees ($104), the
price of a proprietary operating system, "the costs could run into billions
compare this to a low-cost alternative and the choice is obvious."
Professor Manohar teaches in the department of computer science and
automation at the Indian Institute of Science, which is located in
Bangalore and is India's premier school for pure sciences and engineering.
But Microsoft's concerns could go beyond bargain-basement software. The
earliest adoption of open-source software here, beginning more than a
decade ago, was at India's military installations and sensitive research
sites. India's National Stock Exchange now uses Linux for critical
applications. And Hindustan Lever Ltd., India's largest consumer products
company and a subsidiary of the British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, is
considering using Linux to build applications for data warehousing,
inventory management and e-commerce.
Across the border in Pakistan, Linux is starting to be used for a host of
projects in schools and government offices. "A few months ago, we asked all
offices to move the servers to Linux," said Salman Ansari, an adviser to
Pakistan's minister of science and technology in Islamabad. "Those who
wanted to use other, more expensive software were permitted to do so only
if they could justify it."
Microsoft has offered a few million dollars a year to the Pakistani
government over a three-year period for all applications in government and
education. The government is studying the offer.
While in India, Mr. Gates is widely expected to pledge a large donation to
public health projects through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But
Microsoft India's executives hasten to note that the foundation's
activities are distinct from those of the corporation.
mail2web - Check your email from the web at
---------- Forwarded message ----------
>From the Mumbai LUG (cross posted):
There is an excellent documentary on Linux, available for free download on
I downloaded it. It's pretty wide, not deep. It does contrast OSS and FSF
nicely, in RMS and ESR's own words. I think I'm on the OSS side (FSF is
nice, but not particularly practical).
If you're expecting to see code, forget it. Much of it is documentary-style
history and political interviews with various people (RMS and ESR come to
mind). The infant Linus looks cute.
Flames will be ignored.
Use DEVICE=EXXON to screw up your environment.
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I just finished uploading the Mukti set of fonts to the project site.
See http://www.nongnu.org/freebangfont/downloads.html for details.
The Mukti set, developed by Dr. Anirban Mitra uses the glyphs from the
recently GPL'ed Akruti set of fonts.
It has three fonts - muktibld.ttf, muktinrw.ttf, mukti.ttf.
Note that Mukti is still in *BETA* stage, with the positioning lookups
still incomplete, and hence, there will be misalignment of matras and
rephs etc in many cases.
Sayamindu Dasgupta [http://www.peacefulaction.org/sayamindu/]
* GNU is Not Unix *
.... Towards World Liberation ....
Stallman: Disk, I/O issues delay GNU OS
By John Ribeiro
November 6, 2002 2:54 pm PT
BANGALORE, INDIA -- The release of a production version of the free GNU
operating system (OS) has been delayed beyond the end of the year, as the
current development version of the system does not support large disk
partitions and high speed serial I/O (input-output), according to Richard
Stallman, president of the Boston-based Free Software Foundation (FSF).
"I would say that when two features that are that essential are still
missing, we are not at version 1.0 of the system yet," Stallman told IDG
News Service in an interview this week in Bangalore. Stallman was however
noncommittal on a new release date.
In an interview in March, Stallman said that the production version of the
GNU OS was likely to be ready by the end of this year.
Developers working on the current development version of the GNU system,
also called the GNU/Hurd to distinguish it from GNU/Linux, have found
limitations in the Hurd kernel and the GNU Mach microkernel, according to
"There are two problems that have to be solved," Stallman said. "One of them
is the lack of high-speed, serial-line handling, and the other is the limit
on the size of a file system which is at somewhere between one to two
gigabytes, which means that if you get a moderate size disk you have to
divide it into smaller partitions, which is a nuisance."
To solve the serial port problem, the GNU project is switching from the GNU
Mach to the OSKit Mach, a Mach based on the OSKit for OS development from
the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. "That version of Mach is
supposed to get high speed serial line support, although it apparently isn't
there in yet," Stallman said. Before the GNU project could switch to the
OSKit Mach, it had to rewrite the [Image]terminal support in the Hurd to
support virtual consoles.
The GNU project has also got developers to work on the problem of the limit
on the size of the current Hurd file system.
"There are many other things that we want to do that will make the Hurd
better, but resolving this issue (of the limit on the size of the file
system) is absolutely essential," added Stallman. "I don't think it was
realized how bad it is practically speaking not to be able to use whatever
your disk partitioning is. Clearly most people are not going to repartition
their disks to be able to try out our Hurd based system."
Currently some users work with a development version of the GNU/Hurd system
distributed by the open source Debian Project.
The FSF is also modifying the GNU General Public License (GPL), though the
fundamental principles will remain unchanged, according to Stallman.
"We have looked at, for example, adding a clause that explicitly states that
you give a patent license when you redistribute the software," Stallman
added. FSF also plans to incorporate into the GNU GPL a section covering use
of software on a computer network. This new section is likely to be on a
similar section in the Affero GPL adopted by San Francisco-based Affero Inc.
The Affero GPL requires anyone modifying a software program to give
immediate access by HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to the complete
source code of the modified software to other users interacting with the
software on the network, if the original program had a provision for this
kind of access.
John Ribeiro is an India-based correspondent for the IDG News Service, an
11 Wood Street
Tel: 91-80-553 3341
Fax: 91-80-553 3342
Please reply to S Srinivasan <madraschap(a)yahoo.com>
I will also point out that the correct term is GNU/Linux and that Open
Source is different from Free Software (though both may be collectively
called a term which is gaining acceptance in South Asia too -- Free/Libre
and Open Source Software). FN
On Thu, 7 Nov 2002, S Srinivasan wrote:
> Dear Frederick
> Thanks for your mail. I have a few queries for the Indian LUGgers and other experts on open source/free software. Could you kindly circulate this among your friends and ask them to reply to me? Before that, I would request you to answer these queries too. Thanks in advance.
> 1) Bill Gates is coming to India next week. How do you, as a supporter of open source software, look at this visit?
> 2) What message, do you think, the Indian and state governments should be giving Gates?
> 3) Do you think our central and state governments have the nerve or the commitment to encourage open source software risking the wrath of Microsoft and other software multinationals?
> 4) There has been a recent story, sourced to nobody in particular, saying that India will push into open source in a major way... Your reactions...
> 5) Can you give me instances of Linux/open source software making a difference in e-governance or projects meant for poor people? Also, can you give me examples of governments talking right on open source, but still depending heavily on Windows?
> 6) What do you think is the future of Linux in india? how do you rate the progress so far?
> Thanks. Kindly reply to madraschap(a)yahoo.com. I am looking to wrapping up the story as soon as possible, so I would request you to answer as soon as you see this mail. Thanks for allowing me to make this small demand on your time.
> S Srinivasan
> S SRINIVASAN
> THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
> S-2, Ganga-Cauvery Apartments, Sultanpalya Main Road, Sultanpalya
> Bangalore - 560 032.
> Do you Yahoo!?
> U2 on LAUNCH - Exclusive medley & videos from Greatest Hits CD
The Hindu has brought out a Classified Ad for buying PCs for Legislative
Assembly with MS Windows Server as software component.
The 'mode' of mixing ISM from C-DAC (for language support) and MS technology
appears to have found favours with those who are constantly pushing such
systems in the Public Institutions, as it deviates public and media suspicion.
This is murder of democracy as the highest democratic institution within the
State, will now be 'vulnerable for security attacks', nothing less than a
Some of us should write to the editor letters(a)thehindu.co.in
and try to bring it to the attention of CM and other Ministers.
India Inc. waits for Gates to open more windows
By Imran Qureshi, Indo-Asian News Service
Bangalore, Nov 9 (IANS) India Inc. is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the
world's richest man, Microsoft Corporation's Bill Gates, to plan its
strategy for a larger stake in global business in the currently uncertain
The IT industry as well as the head honchos of several corporates across New
Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad are looking forward to listening to
the entrepreneur whose U.S.-based company earns revenues of $28 billion,
employing over 50,000 people in 78 countries.
"Everybody is looking forward to listen to him, his strategy for the future.
>From our perspective, it is a privilege to have him in India. His visit (he
is not visiting any other Asian country) will step up our morale and act as
a motivator," J. Veeraraghavan, managing director of Novell India, told IANS
"A number of Indian IT companies are working on Microsoft technologies. And
it would be helpful for them to align their future business strategies,"
added Veeraraghavan, the prime mover behind Software Process Improvement
Network (SPIN), a platform of professionals to benchmark software
engineering practices and enhance the quality of processes in the industry.
In India's tech capital, where he arrives from New Delhi on Wednesday, Gates
is expected to address about 3,000 software professionals before meeting
Karnataka's IT savvy Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, followed by the chief
executives of Indian corporates, under the aegis of the Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII) and the National Association of Software and Service
Gates will meet Infosys Technologies chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana
Murthy and chief executive officer Nandan Nilekani.
All these meetings will be held at Infosys City, the corporate headquarters
of India's second largest software exporter.
To maintain the balance in Microsoft's relationship with the other Indian IT
major Wipro, Gates will also address software professionals at its
Electronics City campus.
In New Delhi, where Gates arrives Monday, he will be leading a delegation of
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is expected to announce long-term
strategic commitments to support India's efforts to curb the spread of
HIV/AIDS. He is scheduled to meet ministers and address a media conference.
Gates is likely to meet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Finance Minister
Jaswant Singh and Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan in the
After two days in New Delhi and half a day in Bangalore, Gates will fly to
Mumbai, where he will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh,
corporate head honchos like Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani and K.V. Kamath and
the banking community under the banner of the country's top financial daily,
The Economic Times.
He will later reach Hyderabad, where he is scheduled to meet Andhra Pradesh
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Nasscom executive committee members and
Satyam CEO Ramalinga Raju.
He is also scheduled to visit the sites funded by his foundation before
flying back to Seattle on Thursday.
--Indo-Asian News Service