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‘Software patenting will harm industry, consumer’

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| Living up to its status as the country’s Information Technology (IT) capital,
| Bangalore played host to a different kind of “software lobby” here on
| Saturday.
| Unlike most lobbies, this one had no vested interests and no hard-line
| agenda. In a bid to raise awareness about software patenting and generate a
| debate among stakeholders, the Free Software community from across the
| country participated in a national-level meeting against software patents.


Freedom Walk: Day 2 - Kanhangad to Cheruvathur

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| We left the PWD Guest House at around 8:45AM. We had break fast at Vasantha
| Bhavan near Taluk Office Kanhangad. The food was pretty good. There we tried
| a local food - Aval + Curry - which was pretty good. The menu looked damn
| cheap and we took a photo as evidence.


Freedom, software and society

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| Despite these criticisms, I personally find very important - and this is the
| main reason why I chose “Free Software. Free Society” for a book review- the
| fact that free software movement is beyond an IT issue. It is a
| technical-political revolution with very valuable ethical principles: it
| proves that it is possible to activate social mechanisms of production
| innovation based on the massive and open cooperation; that alternative tools
| can possibily be developed; and that there are different kinds of ways of
| thinking about copyright. In fact, this book talks about freedom in the IT
| field (access to the source code is something that, after all, only affects
| software developers and not ordinary citizens), just as an excuse to defend
| freedom in other areas of life.



Opportunities for Open Source in India

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| With increased budgets for e-governance, the scope for open source IT
| implementations in India should be higher, according to some industry
| analysts. Access to the latest technology should be not privilege of few.
| They cannot afford dollar-denominated software.


Open source software 'the way to go'

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| Open source software is the future for South African business and government
| as it lowers barriers to entry for small businesses, allowing them to turn
| their backs on 'big American software companies'.


ODF likely standard for e-governance

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| Open Document Format (ODF) could find its way as becoming an open standard
| for e-governance projects by the Indian government and help its supporters
| grab key government IT business, according to government officials and
| industry sources.


India's Draft Policy on Open Standards for e-Governance released

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| Once this policy is finalized, it will become a part of all future Requests
| for Proposals (RFPs). A committee has been constituted to review standards on
| the basis of the mandatory charecteristics required by this policy. The
| committee's report shows that according to this policy, ODF, OGG, W3C
| standards etc are some of the standards that meet all the mandatory criteria
| for open standards. OOXML, MPEG etc *do not* meet these mandatory criteria.


Microsoft bails out its Indian managing director

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| Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director of Microsoft India, will leave the company
| as of 30 June. Some media sources cite the Indian ooxml debacle as a reason.
| [...]
| In relation to the failure of Microsoft India to get a positive vote outcome
| Neelam Dhawan's bail out casts a negative light on the company. If standard
| setting gets performance based and a standard is not let through due to its
| technical merits but the fear of managing staff to lose its position it comes
| at no surprise that the management will fight with all means for the adoption
| of suboptimal solutions. Microsoft India even filed a complaint against the
| standard body No vote that caused the outrage.


India and Brazil File Appeals Against OOXML Standardization

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| India and Brazil have filed appeals against the adoption of the
| Microsoft-sponsored Office Open XML (OOXML) document format as an
| international standard.


Microsoft India MD joins HP

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| In a major setback to IT giant Microsoft, its India Managing Director(MD)
| Neelam Dhawan has decided to call it quits and will join Hewlett-Packard
| (HP).


What's up with Microsoft India?

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| The CVP, MD and all her direct reports made this company a miserable place to
| work for! They created a feudal fiefdom for themselves.


Wipro Microsoft alliance is a shame for all Indians – alliance or slavery?

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| The alliance uses Microsoft technologies instead of challenging Gates in his
| own game. Wipro is just a servant of Microsoft facilitating Indian cyber
| slavery under the American corporate banners. *


Microsoft influencing partner NGOs to support OOXML in India

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| Microsoft is encouraging its business partners to promote its Office Open XML
| specification (OOXML) to the Indian Bureau of Standards (BIS) and Ministry of
| IT. This move has incensed supporters of the rival OpenDocument Format (ODF)
| who fear that the "soft" Indian state may not be able to stand up to
| Microsoft pressure tactics.


Finally, My open letter on OOXML happenings in India

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| 3. My personal anguish.
| My first anguish is the way the name of my colleagues and my Institution,
| along with names of several others on the committee LITD 15, have been
| maligned and tarnished by Microsoft. My second anguish is that Microsoft
| persisted in its attempt to pressurize Indian leadership to change the Indian
| stand, in spite of the fact that a due process established by the Government
| had completed its job, recommending no change in the Indian vote. These two
| things, amongst others, have caused me to lose my peace of mind and my sleep
| over last two months. I share my thoughts (which sometimes have been rather
| wild), and my anguish in this section.
| [...]
| To illustrate how someone could react to this mudslinging by Microsoft, I
| have written a hypothetical complaint titled ‘Microsoft is looting the nation
| in alliance with Indian IT giants'. While constructing this hypothetical
| complaint, I have used what I call the ‘Microsoft patented mud-slinging
| algorithm’. I have included it as a stand alone appendix (Annexure A) to this
| letter. The purpose is to demonstrate that such complaints and counter
| complaints would lead all of us to disaster. This hypothetical counter
| complaint shows Microsoft as working at national and International forums to
| maintain and enhance its monopoly in global markets, and as attempting to
| ensure its monopoly strangle-hold on Indian desktop Market. It also paints
| INFOSYS, TCS, WIPRO and NASSCOM as willfully helping Microsoft in this evil
| design, and thus acting grossly against Indian National interests. The last
| one has hit me very hard emotionally, even though the construction was done
| by myself and it is purely hypothetical. The significant contributions made
| by these organizations to the Indian IT story are well known. The past and
| present leaders of these organizations are icons of modern India. I have the
| privilege of knowing them closely and being counted amongst their friends. I
| am sure that a large number of my countrymen will react very strongly if
| anyone was to really engage in such slander against them. I will be one
| personally eager to counter any such foolish attempts to malign these great
| names. These people and their Institutions are and must be treated with
| genuine respect.
| [...]
| If no citation from the new standard (as on 20th March 2008) is available
| from these members, should the nation now conclude that these 4 organizations
| deliberately acted against Indian national interests? If there is any
| evidence of support now found to have been given by any one of these 4
| organizations to the efforts of Microsoft to pressurize the Indian Government
| to change our vote, should the nation now conclude that there indeed is
| a ‘secret alliance with Microsoft to loot the country’?
| Hard questions friends, with no easy answers.
| In conclusion, I will reiterate that my anguish, caused by Microsoft by
| slandering Individuals and organizations represented on committee LITD 15 of
| BIS, runs very very deep.

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