On Dec 12, 6:01 pm, Roy Schestowitz
> Watching Linux grow in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | But the growing popularity of Linux within India is amazing. Many of the top
> | multi-national corporations (MNCs) with projects in Andaman are using Linux
> | as their major platform.
> `----
> http://www.redhatmagazine.com/2007/1...-grow-in-the-i...

Red Hat deserves some bragging rights here. Remember, all the way
back in 1997, it was Red Hat who volunteered to train Linux installers
in India, Mexico, and other "3rd world countries", supporting an NGO
that obtained old used machines incapable of running Windows 95 and
Windows NT 4.0 and sent them to India, Asia, South America, and

Eventually, the NGO was shipping over 10 million computers per year.
Dell, HP, and IBM even contributed lease return machines to these
organizations. They could supply up to 80 million machines per year,
but there are logistical problems with larger "Tower" desktop
computers that consume large amounts of AC power.

On the other hand, used laptops, and the One Laptop Per Child program
are making it possible to expand Linux into even the more remote
areas. In addition, many villages are now interconnected by high
power WiFi village servers that have a range of several miles.

> Related:
> PC resellers strike against Microsoft in India
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Stop harassment over piracy or we move to Linux...

It's important to realize that many of the affordable PCs don't come
with Windows or Vista. In many cases, there is a difference in price
of about 600 Rupees, which is almost a week's pay at median wage for
many workers. A retail copy of Windows can cast almost twice as much.

In bigger cities like Bangalore, there are bigger stores that can get
deeper discounts. In addition, Microsoft employs several thousand
people and several other IT companies pay better wages, often as much
as 500 rupees per hour, so the gap isn't as significant to the elites
who can afford to purchase machines provided by vendors who do
purchase and preinstall Windows.

> | [...]
> |
> | "We have been approached by dealers in other states who are also
> | being harassed by Microsoft," Randeri said. "If Microsoft does
> | not cooperate, we will tell our dealers to migrate to Linux."

There are many retailers throughout India who will install Linux or
Windows for you. If Microsoft insists on being paid "full price" the
retailers won't be able to offer Windows. Many dealers do not offer
the customer the option of a free copy of Windows, and as a result,
Linux has become very popular.

It may be that Microsoft is targeting the retailers who have been
installing Linux, claiming that the machines sold with Linux were
actually sold with Windows and the retailers should have paid for

> http://www.computerworlduk.com/manag...upplier-relati...

> Indian dealers are squealers over Microsoft piracy raids
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | The resellers have also planned boycotts against Microsoft.
> | Those participating in the strike agreed to stop all purchases
> | of Microsoft products for this quarter.

Remember that in a few provinces, similar tactics ultimately led to
widespread adoption of Linux, government agencies even mandated Linux
as their operating system of choice.

> http://www.channelregister.co.uk/200..._vendors_prote...

> Intensified Battle Lines
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Some years back Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) spokesperson
> | Steven D'Aprano had posed a most intriguing question, "If Microsoft
> | has a problem with piracy, it shouldn't be blamed on OEMs who sell
> | PCs with Linux pre-installed or no operating system at all. Should
> | we discourage supermarkets from selling plain bread, because
> | shoppers might steal butter from elsewhere?"

This is a good analogy. Microsoft has tried to force OEMs to prove
that every machine not sold with Windows was actually not used for
piracy versions of Windows. Even though they have registration
records, Microsoft insists that the OEMs prove that Windows was not
installed by customers. This was the tactic used by Microsoft to
force IBM to stop selling OS/2.

Remember, for an OEM to prove that Windows wasn't installed illegally,
they have to identify all of the machines, call the customers, arrange
to inspect the computer, and verify that the computers were not in
fact running Windows.

In the United States, Microsoft used similar gestapo tactics on
retailers in Boston, as well as other Linux "hot spot" against small
retailers who offered customers the choice of Linux and Windows.
Often, the retailer did pay for the Windows OEM license, and just ate
the cost, but when Microsoft showed up, they were demanding payments
on machines sold with Linux, claiming that the retailer had
"undercounted" their licenses. The retailers, many of whom were
relatively poor, spoke English as a second language, and couldn't
afford to do anything other than settle, usually for a discounted
price, but were also forced to install Windows on EVERY machine, or at
least pay for a Windows license on every machine they sold, even if
the customer wanted Linux.

Usually, these "raids" are conducted shortly after holidays, for
example, in the United States, in February or March, when it's much
harder to verify that machines given as gifts were still running Linux
and not Windows.

I can't be certain that these are the circumstances of Microsoft's
raids in India or not. It sounds like at least some of these dealers
are even admitting that they are installing illegal copies of Windows
or Vista. If that's the case, then they should stop doing that and
offer Linux instead.

Even Microsoft's demands of 200,000 Rupee plus fine of 1.6 million
Rupee may not seem like much to us, but for many of these small shops,
that would be the entire profit for the entire year. Most of these
are family owned shops, small places. A 1 hour cab (auto-rickshaw)
ride through Bangalore costs 75 rupee. A meal costs 100 rupee. A
cell phone costs 1200 rupee.

Sure, if you're an American, staying at Le Meridian, you pay a lot
more, but the average Indian citizen pays much less, and makes much
less. When Microsoft demands even $30 per copy for Windows, it would
be like demanding $600 for the American version. Imagine if you
walked into a store and the store told you that the computer costs
$400 but you would have to pay $600 for Windows, or you could get
Linux for $5. But then imagine the store owner's shock when
Microsoft's goons come in and demand $600 per copy for each of the 200
or so machines sold with Linux (about $120,000), and another 1/2
million in fines.

Now imagine that you only sold 300 machines that year, for an average
price of $500, and an average profit of $50 per PC, even on the PCs
that were sold with legal copies of Windows.

> | [...]
> |
> | For long now a tag has been associated with Linux. Industry players
> | and resellers say Linux has become a smart, official, cheap and
> | convenient form of piracy. The charge, is however, outrightly
> | rejected by the Linux vendors.

Microsoft would like for that to be true, but very rarely do they
actually substantiate their claims. On the contrary, it seems that so
much of Microsoft's "Piracy" claims involve allegations that licenses
were violated, or that the customer didn't have the right KIND of
license. For example, if a consultant uses XP home edition or Vista
Home edition for consulting, that's piracy. If a business uses the
OEM version of Windows, that's piracy. If a business uses Volume
Managed licenses, they are not allowed to give the machine away with
Windows, even though the machine was originally sold with an OEM copy
of Windows.

Remember that at the beginning of this post, I pointed out that Red
Hat has helped put Linux on millions of recycled OEM PCs, and many of
these PCs are sold in those small shops in India. The irony is that
the PC was originally sold with an OEM copy of Windows.

> | At their end, open source vendors will not miss an opportunity to
> | assert that anyone who has benefited out of piracy is the
> | proprietary vendors, like Microsoft.

Microsoft seems to ignore the fact that they have the Activation codes
to control piracy. If the OEM has not installed a legal copy, all
Microsoft has to do is charge the user's credit card, and give them a
valid license key.

In many cases, the vendors will install Windows, but they will let the
user know that they will have to order the license key. They try to
get around this by attempting to use the unregistered copy, and when
it "locks up" claim that they thought they had purchased a legitimate
copy of Windows with their PC.

> | [...]

> | Partners are already moving close to Linux vendors for various
> | reasons. The days to come will, therefore, offer interesting
> | battle lines unfolding between MS and open source players.

Microsoft is doing everything they can to attempt to bully OEMs,
retailers, and even businesses, into spending far more for Windows and
Microsoft software than is justified in a competitive market.

Microsoft has been able to pull this off with the "Big 8" OEMs because
the OEMs don't feel that they can survive without the ability to offer
Windows on most of their machines, and Microsoft has made it
punitively expensive not to pay for Windows licenses on ALL of their


May be a pretty good indicator of the kinds of letters that Microsoft
sends to OEMs. This is an older letter, and relates to MS-DOS, but
there seem to be indicators that Microsoft's pricing policies with
Windows are even more draconian.


> Linux becoming visible on desktops
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | The Penguin (named Tux) is finally making inroads as an
> | operating system (OS) on desktops too.

> | While it has an over 20 per cent market share when we speak
> | of servers in India, the free OS called Linux has just around 5 per cent
> | market share in the country when it comes to desktops - the lion's share
> | going to Microsoft Windows.
> `----


Unfortunately, the link above requires that you subscribe to a
magazine, for 125 rupees before you can read the full article. Even
though that's only about 50 cents, I'm just not willing to pay it.

Can you tell me how this market share was measured?

Microsoft likes to base it's claims on PCs as shipped by major OEMs.
The problem with this statistic is that MOST PC buyers who use Linux,
install Linux themselves, and usually on a PC that was sold with
Windows pre-installed.

Another popular measuring method is IP address counts, but again, this
is a relatively inaccurate measure, since Linux users often keep the
same connection for weeks, while Windows users can establish new
connections several times per day. It just says who has the most
Class B addresses. Meanwhile, most Linux users prefer lower cost NAT
services, or static IP addresses for servers.

The other misleading statistic here is that the survey may have
required to state either Linux OR Windows, and gave the respondents no
way of saying Linux AND Windows. Only about 5% of the Linux community
uses Linux exclusively (according to the CEO of Linspire), meaning
that if 5% of India uses Linux exclusively, the hybrid market could
have Linux on as much as 80% of the PCs.