---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Petter Reinholdtsen <pere(a)hungry.com>
Date: २००७ जुलाई २२ १७:५५
Subject: Release 3.0r0 is ready
The final release of Debian Edu/Etch (aka 3.0r0 or Terra) is ready.
The images are in place on ftp.skolelinux.no/skolelinux-cd/. I will
not do any big announcement this time, but leave that to the press
team to avoid too many dupliated messages. This is just to let you
Now we celebrate, and start working on 3.0r1 and the Lenny based
To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-edu-REQUEST(a)lists.debian.org
with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster(a)lists.debian.org
Join The DRM Elimination Crew Now!
[I knew Shahid Akthar and many of those mentioned below in
their work situations, and am really grateful for his prompt
initiatives in promoting Free/Libre and Open Source Software
in the Asia-Pacific through his many initiatives, and extreme
openness to learn from the FLOSS campaign and its ideas here.
An unusual official from the UN network, for sure. --FN]
Shahid Akthar ... and his emails
A farewell note by Chanuka Wattegama
Shahid Akthar ended his long and illustrious career in the
field of development when he left his office in UNDP on June
30, 2007. In his 37 years of development work, he has become
perhaps the leading regional specialist about the ICT for
development (ICT4D) initiatives in Asia Pacific.
No matter whether it was e-Government, telecentres, Free and
Open Source Software (FOSS) or telemedicine, from Iran to
Cook Islands and from Mongolia to Timor Leste, none could
tell what exactly was going on in some obscure corner in
nearly 40 countries, better than him. That was his job and
what he was good at. He was the walking version of the
Digital Review of Asia Pacific, the two yearly publication
that records the ICT trends in every Asia Pacific economy,
which Shahid himself was instrumental in publishing.
Sometimes he was far more updated than the print version and
certainly had more links to information sources.
Until his retirement, he was my boss, although I hate to use
that word. Shahid was more a guide and a friend, with the
type of characteristics we South Asians fondly coalesce to a
single word -- a Guru.
Initially, when I went for international workshops, I
introduced myself by saying I work for UNDP-APDIP. Later, I
learnt to say, "I work for Shahid Akthar." I realised that
the latter was a quicker way to make others treat me as a
friend. Such was the respect Shahid had. His network of ICT
practitioners in the region was amazing. It was only rarely
that he did not get an invitation for any regional or most of
the national ICT events. People ran after him for keynotes.
Everybody and his uncle in ICT4D knew what he did from the
small UNDP-APDIP office in Bangkok.
A writer can pay tribute in only one way -- that is what I am
trying to do now, although I have to admit, it is no easy
task. Shahid had been a phenomenon. One can write a book
about him, said my friend and ex-colleague, Gopi Pradhan.
Gopi should know.
All of us who work in ICTs are weird. Shahid was even a bit
more exceptional. Shahid has his own ways of doing things.
According to my colleague Sunil Abraham, Shahid assigned him
the first job without even having talked with Sunil. "He was
just there at the workshop I did some presentations and in
the break he came to me and gave me his card without uttering
a word. Later he e-mailed me saying if I like to take there
is a six month?s assignment on FOSS."
So Sunil joined to APDIP team to build the largest FOSS
network in Asia Pacific, ISON and stayed for several years.
Shahid did not use a mobile. The story goes that during the
incident leading to the change of government in Thailand, the
UN security people were perplexed on why there was no mobile
number available in front of the name of the person who was
in charge of ICTs. They thought it was a mistake. James, a
colleague of mine had the difficult task of explaining just
because one is ICT savvy one does not necessarily have to be
an ICT consumer.
Shahid was a pioneer who promoted use of mobile phones, in
all sort of remote places, Bangladesh, Fiji and Laos, but he
never saw the need for one in Bangkok.
The security guys were not happy. "Yes, but how can one
contact him in an emergency?" Those who know Shahid, knows
the answer. By e-mail. You can send an email on 7 pm on a
Saturday and can expect the reply in 15 minutes. That was
Prior to joining Shahid?s team, my friend Joy Daniel, then
ICT specialist at Sri Lanka UNDP Country Office told me two
things about Shahid -- one good, the other one a bit scary.
"As far as giving due credit, none can be a better boss than
Shahid. You do a good policy paper, and Shahid will take it
everywhere and let everybody knows you did it. But the
negative side is if he sends an e-mail on a Sunday morning,
he expects action before the first thing in the morning next
My flirting with Internet started long before meeting Shahid,
so checking email on a Sunday morning was no issue to me. So
I joined UNDP-APDIP. Joy could not be more correct. Shahid
not only became one of the best bosses I ever had in my
career, but also convinced me what a strong communication
medium e-mail is, specially when they are written in all
Why Shahid wrote his e-mails completely in lower case is a
mystery. My colleagues have different theories on this. One
said that without having mastered the touch system (like many
in his generation) it was difficult for Shahid to use the
Shift keys, simultaneously. Another said he did not want to
look as if he is giving an order, even when it was what he
exactly did! I do not know the answer. May be both.
According to James, Shahid himself when confronted on this
issue has slyly avoided the topic by saying
that credible research has indicated that in the long run,
you actually save a substantial amount of time if
you type completely in lower case and refer to everyone by
initials and signoff with an initial too.
Shahid's use of e-mails was legendary. For two years, I
reported to Shahid (in Bangkok) from the UNDP Regional Centre
in Colombo. I initially thought I would be going to get a
phone call from him every hour. For those two years, he
contacted me by phone only once, that too for something
unavoidable. Instead I was bombarded with a load of e-mails,
staring from a minimum of 20-25 everyday. (I should say he
was considerate because he reduced that a bit on weekends.)
This practice never changed. Once both of us were at adjacent
seats in a cyber café in New Delhi and Shahid thought the
best way to instruct me do some minor task is by email, as if
he were writing from some other planet.
These were all official mails. As a true professional, Shahid
was not somebody who outwardly or openly discussed about
personal matters during office hours (or out of office hours
for that matter!). The only occasion I remember him getting
personal was to instruct me and my colleague James to take
care when there was a bomb blast at the Colombo Airport. It
is not that he was not concerned about us. The well being of
each and everyone who worked for him was always on the top of
his priorities list but he saw no reason to be outwardly
pretentious in demonstrating it.
I know of many occasions where he has stood up in defence of
his staff when the need arose without being asked. One more
reason why I am so glad to have worked with a boss like him.
Shahid was a workaholic. He often made me remind the motto of
my Alma Mater -- Kam mere Pooja (Work is worship). Call it
old fashioned, but he was a part of a generation that worked
not for rewards, but for the sheer pleasure of doing it. Joy
put it nicely, "Shahid is the type of person who knowing that
you worked till 12 midnight yesterday in organising a
workshop, but still expects you to arrive at work 8.00 am
today. Slightly exaggerated perhaps, but not too far from
The good news was Shahid did it in such a great manner, that
one never realised one works that much. It was all fun and
Shahid?s five years of work in UNDP alone speaks volumes
about him. Over 50 ICT4D knowledge products (both in print
and electronic format) makes UNDP-APDIP the lead agency that
has potentially contributed most in the area of cutting-edge
ICT4D research and literature in the region. As for capacity
building, perhaps its not too bold to state that no other
agency has trained so many individuals in the region in such
diversified topics from FOSS to e-Government.
The small grant scheme that Shahid pioneered alongside a few
development partners, has funded 56 innovative and
sustainable pilot projects. I am particularly happy to note
that one such project -- the e-village based on the Mesh
Networking concept -- is being selected to be replicated at
so many other locations, by the government of Sri Lanka.
I have often been asked whether Shahid would enjoy his
retirement, after leading such a hectic working life. Knowing
him, I find it difficult to answer this question. Frankly I
am not sure.
Shahid was a person who loved his work and I cannot imagine
him being happy without checking his e-mail at 7 pm on
Saturdays. In one of the Sherlock Holmes' adventures,
(another character - though fictitious - who immensely
enjoyed his work), Holmes tells Watson that the best thing
for rest is changing the line of work. I hope Shahid will
take a hint from that. I join the rest of my colleagues to
wish him a happy retirement and happy and productive long
Frederick Noronha Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
E: fred(a)bytesforall.org or fredericknoronha(a)gmail.com
P: +91-832-2409490 M: +91-9970157402
Yahoo: fredericknoronha Skype: fredericknoronha GTalk: fredericknoronha
784, Sonarbhat, Near Lourdes Convent, Saligao 403511 Goa India
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It's worse than Novell's, actually. It's worse than Tivo, in my book. I
know some say that Tivo doesn't interfere with you modifying, as long as
you give up using the modified software on Tivo hardware. To me, that is
a penalty not contemplated by GPLv2, because if you buy a Tivo, it's
because you wanted to use the software with the Tivo hardware, but with
Linspire's agreement, you have to give up pretty much all your GPL
freedoms, as far as I can make out, and more. And what do you get in
return for giving up everything? True Type fonts, Windows Media 10, DVD
playback, patent coverage...
You see things; and you say 'Why?';
But I dream things that never were;
and I say 'Why not?' - George Bernard Shaw
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Comment: Using GnuPG with Fedora - http://enigmail.mozdev.org
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All of them have Laptops running Linux with many FLOSS applications.
A NEW CHAPTER IN JUDICIARY AND INFORMATION TECHNLOGY
(Text of speech delivered by justice Yatindra Singh on 9.7.2007 on the
occasion of inauguration of the Allahabad High Court Website and
launching of E-court project)
"About fifteen thousand laptops are being distributed throughout the
country and out of these, seventeen hundred are for our State. These
laptops have linux—an open source software—as operating system. It is
not that open source does not have IPR problems but they are less than
the proprietary software.".........
For the remainder see
Member, Cal. Math. Soc
[Apologies for the cross-posting!]
Project positions are open at the Department of Aerospace Engineering,
IIT Bombay for the visualization of weather data using open source
tools. The project will involve creating tools for the visualization
of atmospheric weather data using MayaVi. MayaVi is an open source,
interactive, 3D visualization tool written in Python. More information
on MayaVi is available from http://mayavi.sourceforge.net.
In addition to directly working with MayaVi and its core development
team, the project will require working with and contributing to
several important open source projects like VTK (http://www.vtk.org),
Python (http://www.python.org), Traits and the Envisage application
We are looking for people with the following skills:
* knowledge of C and object oriented programming with C++.
* passion for 3D graphics, visualization, software engineering and
* passion for open source software.
* knowledge of Python is a plus.
Qualifications: Basic BE/B.Tech./BSc/BCA degree
Duration of project: 2007 to 2009.
More details are available here:
Prabhu Ramachandran http://www.aero.iitb.ac.in/~prabhu
Updates From PJ of Groklaw
While we wait, there is more on that front, this time from India, where
the technical committee there is still considering Ecma-376 issues.
Earlier, we mentioned to you some questions that Dr. G. Nagarjuna,
Chairman FSF India, submitted to the Working Committee, Board of Indian
Standards on Wordprocessing. In this Issue Sheet [PDF], we find answers
from Microsoft's Vijay Kapur, followed by a response from Dr. Nagarjuna.
For example, here's one such exchange:
Backward compatibility for all vendors: Can any third party
regardless of business model, without access to additional information
and without the cooperation of Microsoft implement full backward
compatibility and conversion of such legacy documents into MS-OOXML
comparable to what Microsoft can offer?
Mr V. Kapur: Implementing backward compatibility is an application
function not a file format specification requirement. The ECMA 376
specification is capable of faithfully representing information in the
legacy binary file formats. This point was treated in detail in the
response to the question raised by Dr. Nagarjuna. Microsoft can offer?
Availability of Binary File Formats -- It is to be noted that Microsoft
has made the .doc, .xls, and .ppt binary file format specifications
available under a royalty-free covenant not to sue to anyone who wishes
to implement all or part of these specifications in their products.
Anyone can get access to the specification now, using the method
described in the following Knowledgebase article at the link:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/840817 - How to extract
information from Office files by using Office file formats and schemas
(relevant extract below)With both format specifications being available
for a developer, a converter can be written in such a way that a DOC or
XLS document can be converted into an Open XML document with content and
representation intact. This point should be treated as closed as there
is no contradiction.
Dr. Nagarjuna: Availability of the specification of binary formats
does not solve the problem of another vendor's ability to implement.
What is required is a mapping between the existing proprietary formats
and OOXML if the stated objective of OOXML, namely, to faithfully
represent legacy formats in XML is to be met. The link provided by MS is
not an article. It is misleading to say so. MS did not publish the
specification of proprietary documents at any accessible place. They are
promising to provide to those who sign an MOU with the company. This is
unacceptable since, implementing this standard mandates the need for
private understandings. That is not the purpose for which standards are
specified. They are specified precisely to eliminate such a requirement.
The question asked was a very serious and a CORE issue: the answer given
is not satisfactory. A satisfactory answer to this consists in
publishing the mapping between OOXML and proprietary documents. Since
this is not the case, the issue is open, and forms a sufficient reason
to vote against OOXML.
I strongly urge any of you interested in OOXML to read the other
exchanges most carefully. You will find them illluminating. Today is the
last day to write to Massachusetts, I believe, for those who wish to.
The address is standards at state.ma.us . Here are two other documents
from the process in India, also PDFs:
* Issue Sheet of July 11th
* Clarification of MS on MathML
Read More http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070720073215943
The question that was put to vote was whether or not Microsoft's OOXML
document format should be accepted as a standard by the South African
Bureau of Standards (SABS). ...the votes amounted to 2 votes of yes,
with comments; 2 votes of yes, without comments; and 13 votes of no,
On Monday 16 July 2007 22:11:52 ஆமாச்சு wrote:
> On Monday 16 July 2007 18:01:58 Anivar Aravind wrote:
> Nagarjuna G. wrote:
> I agree that these are not going to be effective enough, but these are
> part of the campaign. Besides this will help us to get all our
> arguments together. This will help each of our colleagues to use them
> whenever they speak. we have to take the first steps some where.
> If you have another way of conducting a campaign please let me know.
> Press Release is an important starting point. It is a position statement
> on Problem. lets do it. I am also suggesting about drafting a signature
> campaign that focuses on Why we are opposing the It and what we. Free
> Software Community is suggesting for Schooling.
these are destructive way of opposing. some one should do this.. no
the ideal solution would be to start thinking in line of a free software
university.. i named one as "gnu"kulam.. ;-) in line of our traditional
gurukulam system ;-)
which will be more constructive...
gnukulam - copyleft - amachu 2007 ;-)
வாழிய செந்தமிழ்! வாழ்கநற் றமிழர்!
வாழிய பாரத மணித்திரு நாடு!