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Indian State Encourages Microsoft Removal 298

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the another-12,500-bites-the-dust dept.
cultrhetor writes "The New York Times reports that the communist government in the Indian state of Kerala is trying to remove Microsoft from its public institutions, as part of a campaign against monopolistic corporations. From the article: 'schools and public offices across the state are being encouraged to install free software systems instead of purchasing Microsoft's Windows programs. "It is well-known that Microsoft wants to have a monopoly in the field of computer technology. Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software," M. A. Baby, the state's education minister, said by telephone.' The government is not banning Microsoft, but it is actively encouraging all 12,500 public schools in the state to install Linux."
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Indian State Encourages Microsoft Removal

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  • Linky. [slashdot.org]
    • Yes, this is a dupe. Still, there was a bit of new and interesting information:

      In a written statement, Microsoft's public sector head in India, Rohit Kumar, said the company had tried to keep its prices low to make them accessible to schools, selling one version of Windows for between $25 and $30 per computer.

      This would be the 'crippled' version, I presume. Still, it does show how afraid Microsoft are of Linux adoption. Of course, they could do a great job of defending their monopoly by just giving aw
  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:35AM (#16005530)
    Revenge is sweet but we should be careful as to not let any one linux company become the next microsoft.
    • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@@@alum...mit...edu> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:51AM (#16005594) Homepage

      Because of the GPL, it isn't possible for a Linux company to develop the kind of control that Microsoft has.

      • by babbling (952366) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @04:26AM (#16005727)
        Because of the GPL, it isn't possible for a Linux company to develop the kind of control that Microsoft has.

        Actually, it is. Due to the LGPL being used in most libraries, it is possible for a company to develop proprietary software on top of Linux. For example, if Microsoft had a Linux distribution, they could create MS Office for Linux, which only runs on Microsoft Linux.

        I think the LGPL will eventually turn out to be a huge tactical mistake.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by init100 (915886)

          I think the LGPL will eventually turn out to be a huge tactical mistake.

          Why would it be better if the LGPL libraries would have been GPL instead? The reason to be for the LGPL is that it should be unnecessary to have two libraries doing the same thing on the same system. If we would take as an example the GNU Libc, using the GPL instead of the LGPL would force users that want to run GPL-incompatible software to install a sepatare Libc that allows linking for such software. Thus, the LGPL was created for

        • Due to the LGPL being used in most libraries, it is possible for a company to develop proprietary software on top of Linux.

          yesm and without the LGPL there would be no Oracle, real player etc. fr Linux

          For example, if Microsoft had a Linux distribution, they could create MS Office for Linux, which only runs on Microsoft Linux.

          How? The MS versions of LGPLed libararies would still be FOSS so a version of MS Office that ran only on their libraries could still run on any distro.

    • by babbling (952366) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @04:19AM (#16005700)
      If Linux starts to take off, you'll see Microsoft themselves start a distribution. I actually find it amazing that they have stuck with Windows. If they used Linux, they would be able to forget about needing to maintain all of the low-level operating system stuff and could put more effort into locking people into their brand of Linux.

      This is something that the Free Software community will need to start thinking about, soon. How do we prevent that from happening?
      • by giorgiofr (887762)
        It's easy: you don't. If you respect other people's freedom, that is. Including the one to shoot themselves in the feet.
        • by babbling (952366)
          ... and then what do you do when they start sending you .DOC files that will only work in MS Office 8?
          • by giorgiofr (887762)
            The same thing you do today: you suck it up. If you want you can start using another format which they cannot read. Or you can put your money where your mouth is and use the market to push your product against theirs. Funny how freedom takes on a whole new meaning when it's applied to people who disagree with you!
          • ... and then what do you do when they start sending you .DOC files that will only work in MS Office 8?
            Ask them why they're using 10 year old office programs?
      • by Scarblac (122480)
        Why would we want to prevent it?
    • by IflyRC (956454)
      Revenge!? So you're happy that Linux and Communism could become synonomous? Just put up a graphic of Tux goose stepping across the red square and be done with it.
  • by asb (1909) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:35AM (#16005533) Homepage
    "Remember, when downloading free software, you're downloading communism."
    • This must just a giant communist trap made by the NSA to find and locate all those damn pinko's. Makes sense. I bet they got a back door coded in the software to phone home about what you do with it. Damn you opensource. Now if only we could get the code to make sure it does what it says. But that will never happen.
  • This was posted last week here: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/26/ 1732257 [slashdot.org]
    • The real piece of news is that it's a "communist state" that did it. Therefore it belongs in the "politics" section AND it's way better for good flamefests and revenue-generating ads ! Currently it's night in the U.S. (where people have been taught to loathe communism since the cold war), but wait for America waking up and you will see ;)
  • by solferino (100959) <hazchem&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:50AM (#16005587) Homepage
    1. This is a dupe. [slashdot.org]
    2. In the original slashdot story I posted a link to an article on newsforge [newsforge.com] which gives better background context to this decision by the Kerala government. The article has some flaws i.e. "open source guru Richard Stallman", but still makes interesting reading.
  • I just hope they suggest a particular Linux distro and version to their schools, or they will end up with a dozen variants of Linux all needing different versions of downloaded apps, different config tools, and what not.

    I will stop short at suggesting which distro they should choose (and might just avoid being modded troll).
    • Learning how to deal with computers is essential nowadays yet what most people learn is how to work with Windows. This is like learning how do drive a FIAT Pinto vs learning to drive a car. Granted in with cars the difference is minimal but still we get a driving license. Not a fiat pinto license.

      I just seen to many windows kids loose it completly when they are put to work with a non-windows computer. Or even DOS. Or an older windows version. Or indeed any computer that is not a 100% copy of their home sys

    • Re:But wich distro (Score:4, Insightful)

      by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel DOT hedblom AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:28AM (#16005926) Homepage Journal
      The differences between distros is mostly superficial. If you master one you master them all. The knowledge in Linux is highly reusable.

      I sure hope they try them all and uses what fits them the best.
  • by fantomas (94850) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:55AM (#16005610)
    Damn commies! damn slashdot for taking this long to give us some really commies to complain about!

    Actually I guess this is gonig to be fun watching people's head spin.. open source good, microsoft bad, but hang on, is communist open source good or bad? Actually Kerala is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy [wikipedia.org], they chose their current political leaders, no totalitarian dictators here. They just prefer communist representatives... Sounds like it's not all a bed of roses but it's in pretty good shape for an Indian state by the accounts I've come across (and a damn nice place to visit as a tourist according to several of my friends).
    • "open source good, microsoft bad, but hang on, is communist open source good or bad?"

      Slashdot logic FAQ #73:
      Two wrongs cancel each other to make a right.

      FAQ #73 History:
      First articulated in the new testemant as "an eye for an eye", disputed by Gandhi who was ironically assasinated.

      FAQ #73 Proof:
      Communist - MS => OSS : therefore : Wrong - Wrong => Right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:57AM (#16005619)
    In communist Kerala... Linux installs you

    sorry, had to be done
  • communist, baaaaad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XTbushwakko (535540)
    Why is it that if it's a communist state doing something it's bad and when it's not it's good. It's seems that the wording in the description highlights that it's a communist state that removes it, and not a democratic one. When the real point is that and Indian state is trying to remove it...
    • Why is it that if it's a communist state doing something it's bad and when it's not it's good.

      Kerala has also banned [typepad.com] Coke & Pepsi.

      And they didn't ban other Indian drinks which had the same problems.
    • by hey! (33014)
      Why is it that if it's a communist state doing something it's bad and when it's not it's good.

      Easy. At least easier than parsing your question.

      If the question is "Why is it when a communist state does something it's bad when the exact same things, done by a non-communist state, is good?", at least.

      The answer is it's not about communism, it's about power. When a state which is firmly in the control of its citizens does something which increases its freedom and independence, that freedom and independence acc
  • by Dr. Donuts (232269) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @04:40AM (#16005773)
    Yes, it's very important to make sure that we throw in the word "communist" because that puts the whole article in perspective. Just saying "the Indian state of Kerala" would have horribly skewered the story.

    Pretty blatant attempt at negative association. It's so fucking obvious, it's embarrasing.
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:18AM (#16005889)
    the communist government in the Indian state of Kerala

    In fact, this decision has nothing to do with the specific government being communist or not, and I welcome this decision, although I have nothing to do with India whatsoever. But, as wonderful western objective journalism rules expect, how nice it is to insert that word in there so as to inflate a latent (or not) hostility right in the beginning towards whatever might come in the following text. Instead of just saying Kerala's state government decided to encourage this and that. These days, I've just become really sensitive to slight (or not so slight) political overtones.
     
    • You're absolutely right. And not only that - the article uses very inflamatory language, calling it 'attack on multinational corporations'. The title also puts the word monopoly in quotes, as if to suggest that there are those of the opinion that Microsoft is a monopoly (ignoring, of course the fact that they were convicted of being a monopoly in the US, fined in the EU, Korea, etc.). In short, it's worded in such a way that it looks like a grave injustice is being done to poor Microsoft.

    • That's nothing, consider this headline from reuters yesterday, I'm left wondering what Hizbollah really wants:

      "Annan urges quick end to Israel, Hizbollah disputes"
  • by kjart (941720) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:44AM (#16005965)
    Anyone against Microsoft must be a communist.
  • ...MAKE them come to their own conclusion? I mean, if you assign no money to buy software but FORBID under DRACONIAN measures use of pirated software and MANDATE that they must equip a number of computers, what else really they CAN do but download and install free software? Then they could boast around about their lawfull antipiracy policy instead of beeing accused of beeing anti-business.
  • communism allies with OSS. Capitalism is pro-MS.

    ???

    LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:56AM (#16006159) Journal
    "the Communist government in India's southern state of Kerala "

    It is a democrtically elected coalition government in Kerala, led by a Communist party. And communism has no bearing on the discussion.

    "The Education Ministry has an annual budget of 40 million rupees, or $1.86 million, to promote computer technology among the one million students"

    One US dollar is about 45 Indian rupees or thereabouts. So, 40 million rupees would be less than a million dollars.

    "Financial, rather than ideological, reasons may be at the root of the state's decision to promote free software."

    Again, not true. People in Kerala have been using computers since the mid '80s actually. The VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre) in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala has lots of Sun graphic workstations supplied by Wipro in the late '80s. Many public sector undertakings, banks and the Railways have been users of Unix based systems for decades now. Many companies in India have realised that it's a total waste of time, money and effort to invest in Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco equipment and their closed-source zero-innovation ideologies for their computing needs.

    The Indian branch of the Free Software Foundation is located in Kerala, again because of the high literacy rates, and the forward-thinking, proud and practical people of Kerala. Even if Windows Vista is released free for all the students in Kerala, they would not be inclined to waste their time.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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