[Fsf-friends] Paths of Freedom

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Wed Nov 5 10:14:17 IST 2003

Mr. V D G Krishnan

President & CEO
LL2B.COM Pvt Ltd

Dear Mr. V.D.G. Krishnan,

> The message copy received by me is not clear to me.

First a pointer to where we are: Please visit 
Ofcourse, we are now in November, but I have given you last month's 
archive address so that you will find your mail listed there at the 
bottom, and you can relate to what is happening around.

>On our part, we have developed a e-governance and e-transparency solution
>which is now under trials at Electronics Corporation of Tamilnadu (ELCOT),
>Govt. of Tamilnadu Undertaking. This tool is expected to bring in total
>transparency and speed to the working of the Govt. We hope it will be
>adopted as a tool by the Govt. of Tamilnadu.
>You can visit WWW.LL2B.COM for the preliminary details.

e-governance and e-transparency solutions are most welcome.  But then, 
the solution itself should also be free, open and transparent.  The 
philosophy section at http://www.gnu.org explains free software.  Law 
itself is public, free and open in nature.  Our Supreme Court had the 
occasion in Naresh v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 1967 SC 1] to consider 
the merits of open and public trials for "healthy objective and fair 
administration of justice," and quoted Bentham with approval as follows:

    "In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest, and evil in every
    shape, have full swing. ... Publicity is the very soul of justice.
     It is the keenest spur to exertion, and the surest of all guards
    against improbity.  It keeps the Judge himself while trying under
    trial in the sense that the security of securities is publicity."

The principles laid are equally true for governance.  Without free 
software, it is hard to even imagine a e-governance software.

But, I am personally wary of using the expression "e-governance software".

The law is the common background for all human activity.  Besides 
governance, law operates upon a large area.  Governance is specially 
grouped under the heading Constitutional Law and Administrative Law.  We 
have Law of Contracts, Torts, Law of Property, Family Law, Labour Law 
etc. wherein "governance" is minimal or even totally absent.  If an 
application can handle Constitutional Law and Administrative Law, then 
there are no reasons why it should not handle the Law of Contracts or 
the other laws.  We have people designing "banking software", "insurance 
software", "billing software", as though the law has these water tight 
compartments.  We have ERP, CRM, B2B, B2C, G2G, G2B, etc. etc, with 
others promising to integrate ERP with CRM, CRM with the rest in all 
possible permutations and combinations.  It makes business sense but no 
legal sense.

Can any e-governance software check constitutionality of code?  If they 
can't, then they better not call themselves by such a name.
Besides, consider the following:

Suppose an e-governance application wants to assist litigants in filing 
plaints.  While automating preparation of plaints, some issues arise. 
 If more than one plaintiff sues, the script should use "plaintiffs" 
otherwise, "plaintiff".  In appeals, for the same reason it chooses 
between "appellants" and "appellant".  Soon, a function that would give 
the plural for singular nouns like applicant, petitioner, claimant, 
defendant, and respondent becomes necessary.  This exercise soon takes 
one to examining the rules of English grammar.  If an application can 
handle legal rules well, then it might handle rules of English grammar 
as well. But the most singular difficulty would be in listing the rules 
of English grammar.  Tamil has Agathiam (the  primary grammar text, but 
no longer in vogue) > Tholkappiam (Secondary text, based on Agathiam), 
and > finally the recent Nanool, where everything from how letters are 
formed, classified, pronounced, to usage, root words, verbs, 
concatanation, and every thing necessary to use the language are dealt 
with thoroughly. Assuming that after consensus, acceptable rules of 
English grammar for the present are available, we could write functions 
such as:

    function get_plural($singlular){
        // returns plural for a given singular

To write a perfect get_plural function, we need to know if the word 
passed to the function is a noun or not. Now, we have to write

    function is_noun($word){
        // returns if word is a noun

As you see, one thing leads to another, and soon we will have a large 
library of functions that deal with many aspects of English grammar. 
 Then our scripts will write well, and may be read well too.

Once we write such a library, there is no reason why this should be 
confined to just an "e-governance" application.  We could use it even 
better in the field of education or wherever English is used.

Consider another scenario.

Recently, an ONGC helicopter crashed into the sea near Mumbai, and an 
Enquiry has been ordered into it.  The survivor & eye witnesses reported 
that the helicopter went into a spin before crashing into the sea.  It 
is well known that the tail propellor prevents a helicopter from 
spinning.  Did the tail propellor fail?  We see that the enquiry soon 
has to deal with the basic workings of an helicopter to arrive at the 
truth for the cause of the accident.  Though at the top level, things 
look like "e-governance", as we go deep, we find ourselves into the 
thick of rules of English grammar, the laws of aerodynamics, history, or 
other fields of human knowledge.

Ancient sages dealt exhaustively on grammar, philosophy, ethics, 
medicine, law, science and literature single handedly.  Agathiar wrote 
Agathiam creating a script for Tamil, codifing the rules of grammar, and 
then dealt with medicine [Paripooranam 400], and initiated Girivalam, as 
the simplest form of yoga, that could be practiced by one and all. 
 Agathiar is believed to have brought his first love, River Cauvery, to 
Tamil Nadu.  Well, then he might have organised the flow of the River 
with the aid of the local kings. Patanjali wrote upon Sanskrit Grammar, 
Ayurveda and Yoga, and though the works stand distinctively,  a common 
thread unites them.  A unity at some point is required for scientific 
progress and human prosperity.

Free software offers all the tools we can ask for.  The next big step 
would be when human knowlege is ported across so that software 
applications abound with life, intelligence and wisdom.

K. Ramanraj.

Apologies for replying so late.

>On our part, we have developed a e-governance and e-transparency solution
>which is now under trials at Electronics Corporation of Tamilnadu (ELCOT),
>Govt. of Tamilnadu Undertaking. This tool is expected to bring in total
>transparency and speed to the working of the Govt. We hope it will be
>adopted as a tool by the Govt. of Tamilnadu.
>You can visit WWW.LL2B.COM for the preliminary details.
>(044) 5211 5995
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Ramanraj K" <ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in>
>To: <fsf-friends@mm.gnu.org.in>
>Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 6:57 PM
>Subject: [Fsf-friends] Celebrate with free software
>>Dear Countrymen,
>>There is perhaps no other nation that remembers and celebrates freedom
>>as much as  we do.  Diwali reminds  us about the the end  of the cruel
>>demon, who  finally wished that we  rejoice his gory  conquest and the
>>triumph of freedom, with sweets and festivities.  Free software is yet
>>another reason we have to celebrate,  not once a year but every moment
>>of consciousness.  It heralds in an  era when we can find freedom from
>>the   modern  day  demons   of  corruption,   concoction,  commission,
>>collection,    concession,    capitation,   congestion,    cunningmen,
>>chickenmen, and cynicalmen.  We could call all these together as c10n.
>>This is c10n - version 1.0, updates are welcome!
>>K. Ramanraj.
>>Fsf-friends mailing list

More information about the Fsf-friends mailing list