Mar 15, 2009


Micro System

Simplicity, Redefined.


Are you a user sick of viruses, spyware and the like? Would you
rather use something more secure? If your answer is "yes",
congratulations! You can have much better security and stability!

Are you a user who needs to use the computer for surfing the
Internet, emailing, playing multimedia etc? Would you rather give
something else a try if you could do your routine work on the
computer, in a more cost-effective way? If your answer is "yes",
rejoice! Your wish has been fulfilled!

Are you a user who likes to have choices? Would you rather choose
yourself amongst the various options available rather than someone
else choosing for you? If your answer is "yes", cheer up!
You can have your say!

Are you a student who wishes to learn computer sciences? Are you
frustrated that you can't look under the hood of the programs you use
to learn how exactly they work? If your answer is "yes",
fear no more! You have the freedom!

Choices, freedom? Where? You ask this question because you have
not heard of Free and Open Source Software. Maybe, you already use
some of it, but you don't know what it exactly is!

Would you care then, to join us millions of users in the wonderful
world of Free and Open Source Software? It offers you choices. It
offers you freedom. It gives you much better security and stability.
It gives you an alternative that could be better for your computing

I give you a Linux based Distribution, ladies and gentlemen! It is
an Operating System to run your computer. It includes all the
software you'll need. It doesn't even cost much In fact, it can give
you much better quality even at no cost whatsoever. If you need and
are capable, you could modify it the way you want. Not satisfied?

A Linux based Distribution offers you:

  • A choice of user interfaces. They offer different looks,
    different level of customisability, different options etc. Customise
    the way you want, for your needs and according to your choices.

  • A multiuser solution. Many users could share a single
    computer but still keep their own settings and data completely
    isolated from the other users of the computer.

  • Top notch security. No spyware or viruses. Built-in

  • Unprecedented stability. You can keep your computer running
    for a long time, without a problem.

  • Choices in software applications. You need not stick to just
    one email client for example. There are many, equally good, choices.
    Take a look. Pick the one you want.

  • Excellent community support. Millions use various Linux based
    Distributions. They communicate and help each other. Join them!

Interested? What are you waiting for? Give it a try! What's more -
you need not even install it on your computer to give it a try! Just
pop in a LiveCD, restart your computer and it'll run from the CD
itself - completely usable!

Now that's just irresistible, isn't it?

How many times in a month do you re-install your OS?

How many times in a week you use some cracks to use a software
which you need to buy?

How many times have you used a trial version and lived with less
features than buying a full version, because it costs you?

Do you feel annoyed when you log into your desktop and face a
dozen pop-ups asking you to register it?

Have you even wondered whats there in the 'License Page', which is
the first page you face when you try to install any software, and
have you ever read it fully?

How many times have you asked your friend for some software which
is pirated?

How many times have you feared that some one might get to know you
are illegally using pirated software?

We 'were' nothing different, but one day we found a reply to all
these questions. A reply which we felt more moral and ethical, rather
a reply which ensured us more 'Freedom'. It did need compromise, but
it was a clean and better way. We tried it, liked it and changed to
it. Its called as Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and you could have
probably heard this FOSS Operating System sometime, its called
GNU/Linux or simply Linux.

So, what do you get by embracing it?

  • No more frequent crashes and re-installation chores.

  • No more blue screen of death!

  • No more pop-ups for registration.

  • No more moral and ethical issues of using a software without
    paying a penny for it.

  • Freedom to install wherever you want, how many systems you

  • Freedom to make a copy and give it to your friend or
    neighbor, without a need to think twice whether you are doing the
    right thing because you have the right to do it.

  • Freedom to access the software code (called as source code),
    and if you can, either by yourselves or through a professional,
    edit/modify the code and make the software as you wish it to be.

  • More than that, freedom to sell the modified software or give
    it free to others (provided you are giving the same freedom for
    others to use, modify and distribute, which is an ethically sound

  • And here comes the bonanza, you will have more
    options/alternatives to select from and use. You lose nothing for
    changing from one alternative to another (other than some
    functionality that the new one may not offer compared to the old

These are just words I can offer you, but its you who can enjoy
all those 'freedoms' and luxuries we are enjoying by embracing Linux
and FOSS. So, what are you waiting for? give a try and you have the
freedom to decide!


Nov 18, 2008

Why are you using GNU/Linux?

Hello FOSSers,

I believe that there are many students on this list. I would like to ask them few questions about their FOSS usage and adoption. I would love to hear from you guys and gals using FOSS. I will compile the list of reasons and put it up for everyone.

This should help people who conduct workshops and seminars in the colleges to create more appealing presentations for students.

You are free to answer the questions on the list or on my personal email if you think your answers are too embarrassing. :)

1. Why do you use GNU/Linux?

The reasons could be as run-of-the-mill as “I believe in freedom in software” to as esoteric as “my boyfriend/girlfriend is crazy about FOSS”. Or it could be just the cool factor. Just keep them coming.

2. What distribution are you using? Why?

3. Are you dual booting? Why?

4. What are primary apps you use?

5. What do you miss the most from the “other” OS? :)

Blog writing

I am now writing all these blogs using a cool WordPress app on iPhone.

Now I am getting hang of the writing blogs and using lots of travel time in writing this blogs.

Over the period I hope to improve my typing speed on iPhone’s virtual keyboard. At times the auto correct sucks. Have to turn off auto correct and see if improve the over all quality of the writing.

I think, there is heavy need of editing the posts posted from iPhone.

Are you using any mobile tools to write your blogs? Would like to hear the mobile tools you are using.

Also, need to find out how to link these blogs in various soc-net sites. I would love to hear how you make your blog popular?

Electoral reforms

In India we say and believe that we are governed by a democratically elected representatives. However, if you look at the numbers of voter turn-out and total vote share of wining candidates and political parties they represent, you will be shocked to know that neither individual candidates nor the parties they represent have vote share of more then 40%! If you look at that figure up-side-down the party/government in power has no support of more then 60% of the people if India!

What are the reasons for such a poor record of the people in power to garner wider support of the people they want to govern. What and how can we make systemic changes to elect a government which has wider support base and true mandate of the people of the country?

If we cannot a create a system to create a better representative government in place, we will alway have more and more alienation and discontent within country which can jeopardize the unity and integrity of India as a democratic nation state.

We must look at various challenges India faces today like Kashmir, Naxalites Movements, Maoist uprisings or recent terrorist activities within country in the context of the electoral processes and widely representative democracy.

1. Poor participation of people in electoral process.

We keep hearing that 40, 55 or 60 % voters came to vote. What keeps those 60 to 40 % people participate in the electoral process? Is this apathy of the people? Is that a from of dissent? Is that lack of confidence in the political process and electoral system? Is this due to process being too cumbersome and inconvenient?

If we speak to people about our existing electoral system, we will find that it is a bit of all of the above, which causes poor participation from people.

If in an election there is 50% turnout and wining candidate gates 40% of votes cast to win an election, then at best he or she is representing just 20% of the people in that constituency! He or she will still has to work for those 80% of the people who has rejected him or her! What are the chances of that person working for 100% of the people of that constituency? No wonder we have vote bank politics as it is easier to server just 20% of the people and get and retain power than serve and represent majority of the people of a constituency!

What can be done to improve wider participation in electoral process?

What can be done to elect peoples representatives who are truly representative of majority of the people in a constituency?

Will these systemic changes lead to better representative governments and can address the issues country faces today?

On Software patents in India

The other day I was discussing with Venky from Red Hat about the software patent scene in India. He is very active and vocal in opposing the software patents in India.

Few important points that we discussed were -

1. Why patents should not be granted for any software, either independently or along with hardware?

The software is already protected by Copyright Laws. Why software should be given double protection and create more legal complications. The real problem in India is not lake of regulations and laws. The real problem is India has poor record in effectively enforcing and implementing these laws. Instead of more regulations and laws, we as a country should do more in effective implementation of existing regulations and laws. India will be better off with effective implementation of existing Copyright Laws rather then create more laws and regulations and further dilute effective enforcement and the better implementation of the existing laws.

2. Patents and standards.

India’s policy on granting and deny patents on methods, processes, algorithms etc. should be very strict. Our patent laws and manual strictly mandate that anything which is part of either Indian or international standards will not be granted any kind of patent(s) in India. The idea of standards is to foster competition and create free market. The intention of patents is to remove competition and create monopoly for the “/inventor/inventor”. Considering the mutually exclusive intentions of standards and patents, Indian patent office should reject all patent applications containing standards.

3. Patents for government funded research institutes.

Though this is not related to the software patents, it is important that draft manual clearly specifies that all patents created by government funded research is available under suitable open source license to all Indian citizens and Indian Organizations (minimum 51% Indian holding) at no license fees. All the government funded research is already paid for by Indian citizens by way of paying either direct or indirect taxes. Why the Indian citizens should pay twice to get the benefits from the inventions and innovation for which they have already paid in advance?

4. Making patent process more transparent

During my recent visit to Indian Patent Office web site, I found it very difficult to use. For an example - I was trying to read the Indian Patent Law and Amendments to law at various times. The text and changes are distributed in PDF files. Though the file format is good enough, there are back references and changes and deletion from previous text. Such a text can be best presented in HTML format which is more user friendly, instead of fixed unlinked PDF documents. Also, I am not sure if all the patent applications filed are accessible easily on-line.

5. Using open source processes in challenging the patent applications which are based on prior-art or violets the India Patent Laws.

There is a need to create a community which can keep a watch on the patent applications filed and ensure that wrong application are challenged in time to ensure that patent law is not violated in letter and spirit.

No single individual or organization will have resources to take such a huge challenge. However, a community approach will be more effective in taking on such a challenge.