SIX PROPONENTS of Free Software from Kerala are to visit Goa shortly, and
to interact with those interested in issues they're working on.
Those coming are CV Radhakrishnan, CV Rajagopal, E Krishnan, Anil Kumar, S.
Rajkumar and KG Kumar. Some of the presentations planned for Monday, May 5,
2003 from 4 to 6 pm at the Padre Conceicao College of Engineering, Verna
o Introduction to LaTeX and digital typography
o TeX as a business solution: a case study of the BSNL Trivandrum telephone
o GNU/Linux and Free Software in the Enterprise: with a case study of the
online bill payment system of BSNL Tvm.
o Free Software and its relevance in higher education (subject to
o Network security using Free Software tools.
All are invited to this interesting meet. If you'd like any particular
emphasis, kindly send your feedback to KG Kumar of the Indian TeX Users
Group at <kg at tug.org.in>
See you on May 5 at Verna! FN
PS: Below is a feature relating to the work of some members of the team,
which puts the issue in context...
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Currents: Free Software Makes Telephone Users' Lives Easier in India
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003
Large prep and printing job made manageable and affordable with free tools.
Thanks to free software, one-third of a million telephone users living in
Southern India will no longer find locating phone numbers such a complex
process. Telephone directories often take a notoriously long time to be
published in India, meaning phone subscribers are lost when trying to locate
numbers they need.
GNU/Linux increasingly is attracting attention in Corporate India, not only for
its usually lower costs but also because of its high quality products. Last
weekend, the latest edition of the Thiruvananthapuram telephone
directory--from the regional capital of the south-western province of
Kerala--was processed and typeset using a range of free software tools.
These tools provided substantial savings in cost and time, while producing a
neatly laid-out and elegant publication ahead of schedule.
The two-volume directory, to be distributed to all subscribers of the
Thiruvananthapuram secondary switching area as of March 25, contains 1,200
pages and 320,000 entries. Some 400,000 copies of the directory currently
are being printed by the locally based St. Joseph's Press, using typesetting
software and programs provided by River Valley Technologies (RVT), also
based in the Kerala capital. RVT specialises in typesetting and publishing
solutions using free and open-source software.
For the phone directory publishers domestic telecom giant Bharat Sanchar
Nigam Limited (BSNL), this is the first complete directory to be published
since 1999. K. Sreekantan Nair, Principal General Manager of the
Thiruvananthapuram telecom district, said BSNL has spent Rs 35 million on
printing the directory.
Normally, an order of this magnitude -- a print run of 400,000 copies, each
with 1,200 pages printed on 48 GSM white paper in three columns of Helvetica
Narrow 7 point typeface, with 94 lines per column--would have taken six
months and involved around 50 employees wholly dedicated to the work.
In this case, however, the press was able to finish the entire printing
process in four months, using a smaller team. At present, SJP's printing
presses are operating 21 hours per day at their maximum capacity of 20,000
copies per hour to finish the printing.
Using software like PageMaker or QuarkXPress could have taken a longer time,
said RVT. Instead, they used a combination of free software programs to
extract BSNL's data, process it and typeset it into camera-ready copy.
RVT managing director C. V. Radhakrishnan said the BSNL data of telephone
numbers, subscribers names and addresses was supplied as files in dBase, an
outdated database software that goes back to the days of the DOS operating
system. Using a set of free software libraries downloaded from the Internet
and locally customised, this data was extracted into the PostgreSQL
relational database, also free software, and was then entirely recreated.
RVT wrote a Java program to pipe this newly generated database into TeX.