[Fsf-friends] Goa to spend ten million on Microsoft software...

FN fred@bytesforall.org
Tue, 11 Feb 2003 15:24:35 +0530 (IST)

Need one say any more?  They authorities were unwilling to provide a Rs
100 book with each computer, but they could give Microsoft Rs 3000 for
each computer! -- FN

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This is from DIGITAL GOA, an IT newspaper published from here... FN

I am posting the following update on cyberage scheme which appeared in
the latest (February) issue of Digital Goa (published today).
Cyberage students will get Internet, educational CDs
Rs one crore spent on the software alone
Hardly 100 computers are distributed so far under the Cyberage student
scheme, launched on December 19. However, as per a senior official in
the Education Department, the department will try and finish atleast 80
per cent of the computers by February 20.

The delay was due to the late finalization of a deal with the Microsoft
for installing  Windows operating system on the computers, the official

"The work of installing operating system is going on in full swing at
the factory itself."

It may be noted that the government had floated cyberage student scheme
under which every XIth Science student in Goa will get a free computer.
This year 3,000 students will be benefited from the scheme. (For more
details of the scheme read the last issue of Digital Goa)
Formal functions will be organized in each taluka to hand over computers
to the students in the coming weeks.=20

The government negotiated with Microsoft for the licenced copy of
WindowsXP, MS Office and McAfee virus scan for Rs 3,090/- through an
agent -- Apex Computer and Engineering Services. The Microsoft had
earlier quoted Rs. 6,970 per system for the package having combined
retail market value of Rs 26,000. Pertinently, the government will shell
out whopping (appx) Rs one crore on the software itself. The total
budget allocated for this scheme for this year is Rs 10 crores.
While justifying the decision of loading windows O/S as against Linux
O/S, which is absolutely free, the officer said that there were
complaints from the parents and students whose systems were loaded with
Linux operating system. "They are more familiar with Windows. I am
getting so many calls everyday complaining that Linux was difficult to
use", he said.

When asked whether XI Science students would be in a position to make
best use of these computers, he disclosed the government's plans to
provide educational CDs and internet connection to the beneficiaries of
this scheme at the subsidized rates.

"We will tie-up with BSNL to give internet connection to these students
at nominal rates. We are also in the process of establishing CD
libraries in every higher secondary schools on all subjects."
We posed the following question to the host of IT professionals and
businessmen and others to know their view on the Cyberage scheme. They
were given 14 options to choose from.

Sadly, we received only four responses. However, these four opinions can
be considered as the representative voices of the IT community, given
the responders=92 stature and involvement in the Goa=92s IT sector.=20
Obviously, it is a mixed response. However, it is fairly clear from all
the four responses that there is no objection to the cyberage scheme per
se. but the questions are raised as regard to the methodology, timing
and the level at which it is implemented.

Only two options got more than one vote -- If the 3000 computers were
shared among 300 schools, we would have got better results and XI
Science is the wrong time at which to give a student a PC.
Interestingly, options No. 1,2,9,11 and 13 did not have any takers.
What do you think of the Cyberage scheme for students in Goa (under
which Std XI Science students get an almost-free computer) and its
  1. Great idea, great implementation : poor idea, yet to know about
  2. Great idea, implementation could be better: =20
  3. Great idea, poor implementation=20
  4. Engineering students given these computers could be better off=20
  5. Why not give computers to teachers too/instead of students?=20
  6.If the 3000 computers were shared among 300 schools, we would have
got better results=20
  7. Tender terms kept out smaller players=20
  8. XI Science is the wrong time at which to give a student a PC=20
  9. Transparency in computer deals a still an elusive goal for Goa=20
  10. Software, OS, optimal issues still remain pending=20
  11. Why criticize a good initiative?=20
  12. This is a good start=20
  13. More views from professionals could have been incorporated=20
  14. We still quite don't know what's happening...
15. It will adversely affect the IT business community with a drop in
computer sales.
Dr V. V. Kamat
Department of Computer Science & Tech.,=20
Goa University
ANSWER: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14
Albert D. Gouveia
Dona Paula
Comtech Systems=20
Option 6
Ashley Delaney
Software/Hardware Consultant
Answers 7,8 and 10

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