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Linux Across the Seven Seas: Report on "IT's Esperanto"

Linux Across the Seven Seas: Report on "IT's Esperanto"

"Love, peace and Linux," an IBM banner proclaims at New York’s Times Square.

These are the opening words of a short article, filed from Kolkata (Calcutta) by Indranil Chakraborty in the current edition of The Indian Express.

Chakraborty's flowery start continues:

Across the seven seas and 13 rivers, in the land of the Mahatma, Linux is engulfing India’s computing environment thus creating lot of discomfort to companies like Microsoft.

But then Chakraborty gets down to the nitty-gritty: why Linux?

He talks to Mr Arjun Mukherjee, chief technical architect of Virtusa (India) Pvt Ltd, a unit of a US-based global IT consultancy firm working in finance, telecom, and retail.

"The company has set up its first Linux consultancy centre at Hyderabad," Chakraborty reports, "where around 80-100 people will work on Linux-based software applications, services and support for big as well as large companies. It has 1,100 people working at its Hyderabad unit, with another 600 in Colombo [Sri Lanka]."

Chakraborty gives the next word to Mukherjee:

"The strength of Linux is its collaborative development environment where everyone contributes and create solution. So the applications go beyond the restrictive license schemes and practices. This not only lowers the computation cost, but it also creates very solid technology."

"According to Mr Mukherjee," concludes Chakraborty, "the Linux-based environment is going beyond the traditional computing architecture of more boxes, more operating system and more license fees to run applications. Rather, it is scalability, security, openness, and low cost of ownership which are driving the needs of the domestic and global demand of the corporations."

In other words, there is no difference between the impact of Linux in Kansas from the impact of Linux in Kolkata. Linux is truly the new IT Esperanto.

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Most Recent Comments
David Wolff 03/26/04 09:27:22 PM EST

For info about the *real* Esperanto, visit http://www.esperanto-usa.org...

arvindn 03/26/04 08:01:00 AM EST

India is more left leaning on the "Free software" vs. "open source" question than the US. One reason is definitely the colonial past.
Communism is not a bad word here. In fact there are a couple of states which have had communist governments for much of their existence. Naturally this contributes to linux's popularity. Now don't get me wrong, all I'm saying is that the idea of sharing appeals to communists.

Linux usage in India is definitely rather high. The obvious reason is that there are more programmers ==> more nerds etc. But its far from the only reason. Even though unauthorized copying (I won't use the p-word) is very prevalent, those buying a branded PC will still have to pay for Windows. This is a big factor in the cost conscious Indian market. So in the last 8 months, the number of OEMs pre-loading linux has exploded. Today half the PC ads I see in the paper are MS-free! I can also feel the change at the grassroots level -- neighbors, tech support etc.

The future looks bright.

OwnKitchenEater 03/26/04 07:56:49 AM EST

Dr.Kalam's Web site runs
on Linux and Apache. He is undoubtedly one of the most qualified
persons for the job, he headed India's defence research body, the DRDO and was
one of the key members of the team planning and implementing India's second
round of nuclear tests in 1998 (India tested its first nuclear device in

romit_icarus 03/26/04 07:54:37 AM EST

Gates has been marketing to India for years. His visits to India are very high profile.

Gates' view towards India is simple: Get the 15% of developers to use MS, and that'll provide the basis for MS.

PowerShift? 03/26/04 07:53:30 AM EST

India's tech is booming. Japan has all the cutting edge electronics and technologies. China is destined to be the next super power. Korea is trying to get nukes. The USA has mad cow disease, a puppet for a president, a huge debt, a slow economy and we're spending billions more on rebuilding a country that we destroyed while looking for weapons that didn't exist. Times are changing. Maybe considering India as a future isn't such a bad idea.

jkrise 03/26/04 07:51:41 AM EST

Not so. The President has in fact specifically mentioned the problems of choosing proprietary code, and unreliable vendors of said code. His vision is backed by political funding for universities, centers-of-excellence, and other initiatives for furthering open-source in India.

To say that the President did this as a bargaining strategy with Microsoft is an insult. In fact, during a prior meeting with Mr.Gates, the press were full of pictures of Gates and Dr. Kalam strolling in the gardens. Dr. Kalam took special pains to mention that the discussions duringg that meeting 'turned difficult' since Mr.Gates wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with India's vision for computing

metlin 03/26/04 07:50:21 AM EST

Not true.

A lot of govt. organizations in India today use OSS. For every area of the govt that uses Microsoft software, there is at least one other counterpart which uses OSS.

In fact, the last time I checked, a lot of states were having budget deficits. Guess what is it that they cut down on?

I know for a fact that several nationalized banks as well as other govt agencies have switched to OSS.

You think MS would get scared merely by the "threat" of OpenSource? The reason they are really scared is because there are parts of the nation that use OSS, and it works.

Now THAT would explain why Microsoft is opening so many branches in India -- primarily because they would have the excuse of providing jobs, and to feed those jobs they would need the govts money for software.

Do not think MS would be doing this unless there is a benefit for them

skeptik87 03/26/04 07:48:35 AM EST

Sure, and in a May 2003 speech, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam noted that OSS offered India "a superior opportunity to modernize." This was followed just a short while later by India negotiaing a superiorly low-cost deal with microsoft for its services.

I think one must look in terms of governmental actions on OSS in such a strategic light. Kalam, a figurehead king, may be a true believer, but insofar as his actions on software goes, he's being used as a pawn to gain better licensing terms from Microsoft.

GNULinuxAdvocate 03/26/04 07:44:10 AM EST

Last month The Hindu reported a 40 minute long meeting between Richard Stallman and the Indian President Dr
APJ Abdul Kalam