essential maintenance--desktop or standalone user /individuals
run scandisk once a month or as required
ext3 file system does this automatically
run windowsupdate manually or wait for slower automatic updates --once a
run defrag once a month
part of ext3 File System
run diskclean once a week
part of a cron job
update antivirus weekly or autoupdate
no need --inbuilt security
keep antivirus and firewall on all the time--slowing down the computer
no need --inbuilt security
update firewall weekly
no need --inbuilt security
update antispyware weekly
no need --inbuilt security
be always on the lookout for some new vulnerability etc because of the
inherently insecure system
less tension because of better architecture
I recently came across turbocash which is open source. Since such a key
software was missing for the business users(small and medium
enterprises) (who could become the most effective champions of open
source) is it possible for Indians to develop a module for the Indian
accounting system? US, UK and other accounting systems have been built
for this software but no Indian system exists.
My question should have been --is any Indian group working to customise
this software which has enormous market potential?
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
A good friend of mine sent me the following piece of information. I am
quoting him verbatim here ---
About the storm in the tea cup about Kerala schools going 100%
GNU/Linux, I am cynical about the story.
1. The decision was made by the previous government, several months
back and there is absolutely no reason to make such a hue and cry
about this right now; unless you want to attract some attention of
the wrong kind.
2. The decision, AFAIK, applies to High Schools only. +2 schools have
to teach Tally, (in the commerce stream) so will stick to the
proprietary OS and/or dual boot.
3. Within the government, a massive software deployment is going on,
under the name ``Modernisation of Government Programme'', or
MGP. This is entirely M$ based, and govt. servants are provided a 7
working day training on using such exotic programmes like MS Word,
MS Excel, etc. The training includes how to type Malayalam.
How will the community counter this MGP thing?
The training is being provided by Institute of management in
Government, Kerala. Have a look at their web page - made in good
quality M$ FrontPage. (http://www.imgkerala.org/)
Baishampayan Ghose <b.ghose(a)gnu.org.in>
Free Software Foundation of India
BB2C E244 15AD 05C5 523A 90E7 4249 3494 8636 1B74
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v18.104.22.168 (GNU/Linux)
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Some random (and similar to may other view points already experessed in this discussion and many previous discussions) comments on the Biased and confusing article:
Mr assis cant decide if he is an (free beer seeking?) ordinary user or a software developer. Usually ordinary users cannot fix the software, they have to depend on the services offered by developers, and hey services are not free beer.
But in case of free software users/ customers can choose any developer, benefit from the free market and of course pay. Under ideal conditions business will not benefit from monopoly but by the merits of their offers and services.
There are incentives for developers and software developement:
Developers get the money and ordinary users/ and the software itself benefits by competition and quality of services offered by the talented/ motivated developers.
In the early days of free software movement IMHO the work was based on individual and usually free as in beer efforts (thanks to RMS and many other talented guys). But now it has attained its own momentum to break apart the monopolies and there is nothing stopping it now. But India is a free country (as in freedom) everyone can speak, lets not try to overwhelm ToI, the truth will still happen. There is lot of money and opportunities in free software, much more than Mr Assis can see or want others to believe.
The article and our subsequenting discussion will bring out nothing new except for free (as in beer) publicity for Mr assis.
Ajay Pal Singh Atwal
Dept of CSE & IT
BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib
i totally agree with Nagarjuna, in fact i think all of us ought to send a
piece of our minds to toieditorial(a)timesgroup.com .
This is what i've sent them :
This is with reference to Charles Assisi's article on the 31st
August, 2006 titled "No free lunches for me" in the Business and Technology
I don't think Mr Assisi has understood anything about the Free Software
philosophy at all. He call's himself a capitalist but forgets that one of
the cornerstones of capitalism is a free market with no place for monopoly.
Every individual player has a right to enter the market and the price and
quality of their goods and/or services offered and/or rendered along with
market conditions decides the success of a player. Any attempt to over ride
this simple rule is unethical and illegal(remember "certain" anti trust
The Free Software philosophy gives such a transparent and fool proof
business model wherein one has the required freedom in software usage,
modification and re-distribution. It is true that you cannot make as much
money via sales alone in Free Software, however the service, support,
customisation, integration, and solution providing is the place where people
profit from. Moreover these are generally bundled with sales to give a
"comprehensive solution". This is the trend all over the world at this time.
Thus you have ethics and profit existing in a natural harmony.
Mt Assisi also mentions "When somebody tinkers with it two things happen.
Firstly while the kernel may be mine, what finally emerges may not be mine,
what finally emerges may not necessarily be mine. In fact it may turn out to
be a highly evolved version of what I had originally thought up. The
collective is always better than the individual. But by thinking something
up and offering it to the collective to improve upon, I stand to loose my
The Free Software philosophy respects copyrite. Any work(software,
documentation, or even artwork) done is always credited to its original
author. Any successive revisions made by others are credited as well. The
fact remains that the world knows who the original author(s) is and
acknowledges that person(s). That would essentially
To quote an example, Einstein's work on relativity changed the way we look
at classical physics(attributed to Newton's work). Did that make Newton look
like a looser? On the contrary people still admire Newton's work. Einstein
himself acknowledged the fact that without Newton's work on Mechanics and
Calculus there wouldn't have been a Special or General Theory of Relativity.
Another irony here is that Calculus itself has been first traced as long as
Archimedes(200 B.C), and Madhava of Sangamagrama(1300's) later improved and
further researched by Issac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and several
To be a little brash, it seems pretty unlikely that if these genius' existed
around the same time they would be "loosing their lively hood".
Oh yes, and if he does want his software tinkered with or fixed but doesn't
want to do it himself, he can hire a Free Software developer to do it for
him for a fee. If he doesn't have the money he could get some people(who
also have the same requirement) together in a community and then pay the
developer for this community software. This is exactly what Free Software
stands for, a community of people collaborating and co-operating to achieve
the greater good.
I do agree with him that we live in a cynical world and most people want to
be selfish out of choice or circumstance. But encouraging that attitude is
not going to make things better, which is exactly what Mr Assisi is doing
In today's world the only way we can exist is by some direct or indirect
dependence on others. Hence a community spirit is what is needed to foster
this. Free Software gives this ideal. To share ideas, jokes, poetry,
feelings is that not the basis of us interacting with one another at all?
The fact it also becomes implicitly true for sharing knowledge as a whole
and that is the essence of being human.
I came across an article titled "Open Source Apps Broadening the Human
Resources World" http://www.technewsworld.com/story/52761.html that
begins with the introduction:
Software is ultimately composed of congealed ideas, so ideas are
very important in the minds of software developers. The key to
market power in the software industry lies in the minds of
developers. Fashion plays a role too; some ideas are fashionable
and some are not. The idea, or philosophy, of open source is
powerful, frictionless, and seductive.
The article highlights an important advantage available *currently*
with free software:
OSS developers benefit from a reduction in the friction-to-idea
exchange that commercial enterprises engender through the use of
lawyers, contracts, and payments. They experiment with new tools
immediately instead of paying for legally licensed access to
OSS is winning the minds of developers -- and that is precious real
Would the GPLv3 take away the advantage? I don't know, but time will
tell. A gentle warning has already been issued:
The [US] Supreme Court spoke clearly to clarify the relationship
between copyright and trademark law, cautioning against an
extension of trademark law into an area covered by copyright
law. Understanding this relationship is of great value to writers,
artists, and creators; for Fox and the other respondents in this
case, that understanding came at a price of $1.6 million.
If the free software community could see the distinction, it may make
room for more widespread growth and adoption. Of course, not
understanding means a kind of self destruction that is not really
V. Sasi Kumar <vsasi(a)cessind.org>
Comments on "No free lunches for me"
by Charles Assissi
Fri, 01 Sep 2006 20:49:27 +0530
I was appalled to read the article by Charles Assissi entitled "No free
lunches for me" in your newspaper dated August 31, 2006. Although he is
perfectly within his rights to express his views, and that is what he
has done, when it is published in an influential publication like yours,
he should have been more careful in formulating and expressing his
opinion, since a lot of people are going to take this seriously. My
objections are as follows:
1. He effectively says that nice things should not be done because those
who do them are bound to come last. This is shocking, to say the least.
In today's world torn by strife and infected by terrorism, I would have
thought that what we need is more nice things and nice people. I guess
coming first is more important for Mr. Assissi than peace, kindness,
empathy and other nice things.
2. He says, "my guess is free software will always remain on the fringes
of the mainstream." If he had just bothered to look at some statistics,
he would have changed his 'guess'. Just a few examples: The Free
Software operating system GNU/Linux is the second most popular on
desktops, after Microsoft Windows. Free software applications like
Apache are by far the most popular on web servers. Apache, incidentally,
has a share of around 65%. A number of companies, including large
multinationals, are switching to Free Software for their network
applications and even desktops. The city of Munich has shifted all their
13,000 or so computers to Free Software with help from IBM.
3. He says that the spread of Free Software would deny jobs to
programmers. He would have found, if he had done some homework, that a
vast majority of programmers are involved in developing or customising
software for specific needs for specific clients. Interestingly, many of
them do use Free Software. The fraction of programmers involved in
developing the kind of software people use on their desktops is very
small. And even in the Free Software world, there are companies like Red
Hat, Mandriva, Novell, IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems, who employ
programmers to develop Free Software.
4. He compares his profession with software development. Though the
final products (article and source code) are comparable, the work is not
at all. Once he publishes an article (like the one under mention here),
that is the end of it. He, or anyone else, is never going to improve it
or do anything else with it. No one is going to use if for any purpose.
Once it is read, and people like us write our responses, its purpose is
over. Software, obviously, is nothing like that at all. If Mr. Assissi
had spent a few minutes thinking about this issue, he would have
realised this fact.
Gandhiji once said, "They first ignore us, then they laugh at us, then
they fight us, then we win." People like Mr. Assissi are still at the
second stage -- laughing at Free Software. Proprietary software
companies like Microsoft have started fighting Free Software with
whatever means they have. History shows that they have little chance of
V. Sasi Kumar
Atmospheric Sciences Division
Centre for Earth Science Studies
PB No. 7250, Thuruvikkal PO
Thiruvananthapuram 695031, India
V. Sasi Kumar <sasi.fsf(a)gmail.com>
Free Software Foundation of India
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nagarjuna G. <nagarjun(a)gnowledge.org>
Date: Sep 1, 2006 3:49 PM
Subject: Response to Charles Assisi's Article
This is in response to the article "No Free Lunches for Me" written by
Charles Assisi, Times of India, 31th August 2006. The author is
either 'blind' or irresponsible or both. If this article were written
by a newbie journalist, I would not have reacted this way, but Charles
Assisi is a known name, also because he interwiewed me once or twice.
He may be a popular technical writer, he may claim that he was once a
socialist now a capitalist, or he was once convinced about free
software but not now anymore etc. This style of writing informs some
readers that the author has experienced both worlds and then writing
with experience. What this journalist lacks, now I realize after
reading the article, is a sense of responsible journalism.
He is essentially reacting to the decision Kerala Govt is going for
free software in place of proprietary software. The only reason that
he says free software should not be used is because it is backed by a
very good ethical principle of sharing and "nice guys finish last". So
this irresponsible journalist is asking people to be bad guys and
finish first. If this wasn't the message, what was it?
Let me demonstrate how blind this journalist is. First: he assumes
that nice guys don't finish. The already successful operating system,
the only competitor for the proprietary software today, is the
GNU/Linux operating system with a large number of applications for
almost every purpose, including computing in Indian languages. If
this operating system is not complete, how is this system being used
by millions all over the world. Which concept of computing does this
operating system does not implement, except possibly viruses, that the
system be declared unfinished? The system is not only finished,
several millions all over the world use it exclusively. That is not
to say that the system is not evolving, it is evolving at a pace that
people already began to call it a revolution.
The second point of the argument made by the author is that it does
not feed programmers, or why would software programmers work for free
software without incentive. Again, this is entirely baseless. Save
one major company, which other major company does not use or depend
their business on free software? If there is no money why did RedHat,
Novell, IBM, Sun Microsystems etc. ventured to business by supporting
free software. Even the exceptional major company, saved above, is
known to use whatever is borrowable from the free software world.
True, free software business doesn't happen by selling what is
essentially and eminently shareable entity called code. But, people
who make money in free software make money by providing various
services: making a free software accessible in the form of
distributions, helping in installation, customization, maintenance,
documentation, training and so on. In the case of propreitary
software both the things happen, namely selling what is not sellable,
as well as servicing. In free software only one of them is possible.
Therefore it is true that one cannot make as much money as one would
make with propreitary software. The reason why free software
community chose to give up on the additonal profit is due to ethical
committment, to live a moral life. A lot of service business in
propreitary software also happens by providing service to fix
vulnarabilities, such as software viruses, which were fixed by free
software by choosing a secure multi-user file system. It is an open
question: Why wouldn't a proprietary company doesn't fix a fixable
It is true that several hackers (not crackers) who contributed to free
software were hobbyists and worked out of their free time and without
much in expectation. That is because they were intervening in a
system that is ridden with evil practices. They are sacrifycing their
time to give the world and its people freedom, a better and healthy
place to live in future. No freedom movement will win without
sacrifice. This jounralist is pleading the Govt and people not to go
for free software because good things never win. What a hopeless
He writes: "Take away their incentive to create it and the world will
have fewer peices of software to work with." The author assumes that
their incentives were taken away, which is a baseless. If you ask the
users of proprietary software, who created the application they are
using, they will be mum. You ask the same question to the users of
free software, they will tell who the original contributors are. Even
if they are ignorant, may be they didn't pay attention to it, they can
find out by visiting their favourite search engine and will answer in
a jiffy. In the case of proprietary software, even if you give them
the library and also the Internet, it is very difficult to find out
who contributed what. Acknowledgement and maintaining authorship is
the real incentive any author, including journalists, would ask for.
How many journalists will find their job worthwhile if they were to
write articles without their names printed along with the articles.
Reporters on the street do not get enough attention, true. But they
continue to report with the assumption that one day when they become a
known writer they can imprint their name with each article they write.
This is the incentive that an author always asked for, which makes
each of the authors immortal, for they wish to make their mark in the
history. Proprietary software companies don't create any history by
masking the code as well as the contributions of millions of
programmers who work for them. This is the culture that free software
movement is trying to correct in the society, among others.
As scientists, we may never publish a paper in a journal if the
publisher asks us to be anonymous, or intends ot use another person or
company's name instead. The incentive we get is citation, readership,
and name, apart from the salary that we draw for our service.
Thisculture already exists in the traditional knowledge business, free
software business follows and embellishes this tradition. Thus, the
author's view that there exists no business model for free software is
not true. What is true is, free software does not produce
billionaires in half a generation time.
Proprietary software was created by converting knoweldge into a
commodity. This happened by encoding electronic documents in a format
that only their systems can decode. By asking people to pay for
decoding these documents for life is unethical lockin policy. This
is, by ethical standpoint, an illegal activity, for knowledge doesn't
continue transmission by privately locked code. Free software
momevent is asking the policy makers, Government bodies all over the
world, to correct this mistake too, and that is why we demand for all
electronic documents to be in open standards.
An unrepairable technology is evil. Proprietary software is
unrepairable since the source code is not made public. No 'garages'
are possible in this model. But we need garages for software too,
since no software can be perfect. Free software is repairable just
any system of ideas. Unless people at large participate knowledge
does not evolve.
If Kerala Govt. took the decision to change their schools to free
software, that is a very wise decisiion. We wish that all other
governements all over the world follow them to create a better digital
I would request the editor to publish this response to correct the
misunderstanding the article by Charles Assisi would create about free
Dr. Nagarjuna G.
Scientist, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Eduation, TIFR, Mumbai
Chairman, Free Software Foundation of India, http://www.gnu.org.in/
India State to Dump Windows for Linux
Thursday, August 31, 2006
COCHIN, India — A southern Indian state plans to switch all school
computers from Microsoft Windows to the free Linux operating system,
an official said Thursday.
The changeover on computers used in some 12,500 high schools in the
state of Kerala is set for Friday, and teachers are being trained on
the new software, said the state's education minister, M.A. Baby.
The state is ruled by communist politicians and its top elected
official, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, has long been a supporter
of free software, railing against the dominance of Microsoft's Windows
when he was a state legislator.
However, Baby insisted that the state government has no grudge against
But Achuthanandan was keen to develop the state as a"free and open
software systems destination,"Baby told The Associated Press.
"It is our stated policy that only free software should be used for IT
education in Kerala's schools. The government is introducing Linux
based software as tools to teach various subjects,"Baby told the
Associated Press on Thursday.
The decision to switch to Linux came after free software guru Richard
Stallman, founder of the open-source GNU software project, visited
Kerala two weeks ago, and persuaded officials to discard proprietary
software, such as Microsoft, at state-run schools, Baby said.
Despite the denials that Microsoft was the target, opposition leader
M.A. Shahnawaz, of the Congress party, said he believed the decision
was based on the communists'opposition to the software giant's
He cited the communists'opposition to a Microsoft-supported computer
training program that the Congress party enacted in 2002 when it ruled
"I think schools should be given the option to choose whether teachers
are to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft,"Shahnawaz said.
Frederick Noronha http://fn.goa-india.org 9822122436 +91-832-240-9490