[Fsf-friends] GNU/LinuxIndia * Feb 2004

Frederick Noronha (FN) fred@bytesforall.org
Tue Feb 3 16:16:31 IST 2004

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   Formerly LinuxInIndia * Compiled by: Frederick Noronha  *  Feb ,2004


BUY GNU/LINUX CDs at Rs 30 per CD (plus postage). This network, run by
Aniket Navelkar <aniket at gmx.net> is supported by the GNU/Linux Users
Group of Margao, Goa. To place an order for your personal copy and for
further info, pls contact aniket at gmx.net. Payment via cash, DD, money
order or SBI electronic transfer.

Distros currently available include Debian 3.0, Redhat 9.0, Mandrake 9.1,
Knoppix 3.3 and 3.2, GNUWin 2.1 (GNU utilities for Windows!), FreeBSD 5.0,
Server Optimised Linux (SOL), Dynebolic 1.03a3, The Open CD (for Windows
platform), FreEDUC (educational software that boots from a CDrom), SUSE
LiveEval, Gnoppix (no, this is not a spelling mistake!), Slackware 9.0,
RockLinux 2.0 (lots of Windows Managers Qvwm, Fwvm2, icewm), Conectiva 9.0
(four-CD set), ArchLinux 0.5, ArkLinux, and GSCP Distro (the easy-to-set up
version of the Goa Schools Computers Project).

>From aniket at gmx.net in Jan 2004

New CDs available, thanks to Kaushal Bhandarkar for sending across the same:
Mandrake 9.2 (3 CDs), Knoppix v3.3-2003-11-10-EN, Slackware 9.1, Debian
Update 3.0r1-i386, Gentoo i686-1.5-20030911 (MD5 file not included) 2 CDs,
Yarrow SRPMS (3 CDs), Sid i386 (12 CDs), FreEduc 1.4.1, Sarge i386 (12 CDs)


IN ANOTHER WORLD, ALREADY: Arun M <arun at gnu.org.in> reports from the
World Social Forum, a prestigious event held in Mumbai: Free Software keeps
communications alive at the WSF The Media Center at WSF 2004, equipped with
a complete network lab of 120 computers and 40 lap-top connections was
maintained open and functional 24 hrs for the entire forum with Free
This is the first time in WSF history, that media members were allowed
access to the facilities at the center 24 hours a day. The challenges were
present every day of this world forum, although no official complaints: the
dedicated effort of fifty Free Software Foundation (FSF) volunteers and
members, with great enthusiasm and considerable knowledge helped in all
technical aspects to make this first-time event a reality. 
Keep in mind this is a youth revolution, since most of the FSF volunteers
are younger than 21. They all showed the world that we do not need
restrictions and privatization of systems of information, that knowledge and
human communications are truly free and democratic.
The software's name? It's GNU/LINUX
On the initiave of Dr Nagarjun G., board of directors of the FSF, the entire
media center at the WSF, from which about 2,000 journalists generated
reports and news, Free Software is not possible, but REAL.
For more information, visit GNU Web Site
P.S. FSF members already consider themselves living in Another World.

	FLOPPY-BASED VISITING CARD: Doc Partha from Secunderabad
	<hyd1_algolog at sancharnet.in> has created a "simple, floppy-based
	visiting card" which is aimed "just to give away free to doubting
	Toms". When anyone asks "What's (GNU) Linux?" all he does is to hand
	out this demo floppy. Doc Partha had also created the Linux In a
	Teaspoon product (very useful e-books on it). To find out more
	information contact hyd1_algolog @ sancharnet.in (h-y-d-one
	underscore algolog AT sancharnet dot in) Dr S Parthasarathy can also
	be contacted at Algologic Research & Solutions, 78 Sancharpuri
	Colony, Bowenpally, Secunderabad 500011

UPDATE FROM BANGALORE: Atul Chitnis <achitnis at exocore.com> informs that
the slides used by speakers during their talks at early-Dec 2003 Linux
Bangalore/2003 are now available for download. To get at them, head for
http://linux-bangalore.org/2003/schedules/ And click on the talk whose
slides you wish to download - this will take you to the talk summary page,
where you can select the format in which you wish to receive the slides (in
most cases, this would be OpenOffice SXI or PowerPoint PPT - both are

Adds Chitnis: "Some slides are in PDF or MGP (MagicPoint) format.As always,
the decision to make slides available in PowerPoint format as well is based
on the fact that there are still a few people out there who use closed
source software -- we want them to be able to download and view the slides
as well, to set them on the road to redemption. :) Of course, there is a
link to OpenOffice.org as well, to allow people to download this Open Source
office suite (which is the recommended way of doing things)...."

	SARASWATI: ONE-MIND. An information sharing system for schools in
	Goa, through connecting them via the Internet. A low-cost solution
	that enables member schools to share knowledges and resources with
	others. http://www.knowledgeinitiatives.org/saraswati Contact Mario
	Alvares <mario at alienwiz.com>

RMS MAKES NEWS: As usual, during his recent India-visit Richard "RMS"
Stallman <rms at gnu.org> continued to make news. Here are some updates from
Sajith VK <sajithvk at hotpop.com>

Meeting with opposition leader, Kerala:

Stallman to launch courseware lessons of Free Software:

Stallman on Saturday came down heavily on the State IT leadership..:

We are ready to give freeSoftwares for all initiatives of govt...:
http://www.kaumudi.com/   (Not sure what the URL is)

MAPPING AND GIS TOOLS: Dr C M Harish <cmharic at postmark.net> of the
Geomatics Lab, CESS at Thiruvananthapuram 695 031 write in: "Would you
(ILUG-Goa) be interested in a Morphix-GIS Live CD (compiled on the lines of
Knoppix-GIS). It has a collection of current mapping and GIS tools like
SPRING, GRASS, GMT etc. Included also are standard applications like GIMP
Openoffice 1.1 ..." We are grateful to Dr Harish for sending in the copy,
which is now available with Aniket's low-cost CD store... <aniket at

	Purhoti <gres_manoj at rediffmail.com> I am Manoj Govind Purohit,
	from Nanded (Maharashtra), India, would like to start an ILUG centre
	in my city, Kindly guide me in this regards, cause I got lot more
	info from internet about it but certainly failed to get the thing,
	about what will be the fund raising procedures for such a group,
	since lot of activities are expected to be carried out and each of
	them involves expenses. Will you be please guide me in this regard.

points to a set of Scott McNeil's slides available on the issue of
standardisation of GNU/Linuc. Says he: "A set of slides which we felt were
particularly useful to educate on Linux standards can be found at Linux
Users Group's website at
http://www.lugs.org.sg/lugsfiles/presentations/2003-11-FSG_Intro.pdf Scott
is the Executive Director of Freestandards.org, a group that is working on
sub projects such as the Linux Standards Base.

	ALL THE PRESIDENT'S SOFTWARE: Ramanraj K <ramanraj at
	md4.vsnl.net.in> says, The redesigned President of India's site at
	http://www.presidentofindia.nic.in is aesthetically pleasing and now
	hosted on Apache Tomcat/4.1.10
	Our President, in his Republic Day Eve Speech has desired India to
	be: "A Nation where the governance uses the best of the technologies
	to be responsive, transparent, easily accessible and simple in
	rules, thereby corruption free" The entire text of the speech is
	available at:

RACHANA, LOOKS GOOD, SOUNDS GOOD: Rachana, a Malayalam font has been
released in free license. Says Manilal <manilal at sepsit.org>: "I have this
font with me. If you want this I'll send it. But I don't know whether it's
official release or not. However since there are no full-fledged editors,
using this charset it's little use now. We are working to develop such an
editor. The fonts are fantastic and most of them look like the letters in
the older 'thaliyola'. I am not a member of the development team. One of my
friends gave me this fonts." http://www.linuxense.com/oss/rachana/

	Fsf-friends mailing list

APACHE... THIS IS INDIAN: Bharati S <sbharathi at MidasComm.Com> informs
that on Feb 19, 2004 ILUGC and CollabNat organized for a talk by Mr. Brian
Behlendorf (Founder, Apache Software Foundation) in ISCR Seminar Hall.
Details from Bharathi S | MeTel Team, TeNeT Group | DONLab, IIT-M, OMC Group
| MidasComm.com.

	LINUX ASIA: Rahul Chopra of Linux For You
	<rahul_chopra at efyindia.com> had offered Free Software
	Foundation-India a free booth at the LinuxAsia event to be held in
	Feb 2004 in Delhi. Looking forward to something coming out of this.

Wired News * Jan. 20, 2004 * 13 Languages Speak With One Voice * By Swaroopa

MUMBAI, India -- The World Social Forum is speaking in 13 languages this
year. And amazingly, most of the time, everyone understands what the others
are saying.

Moving the WSF to India meant that more Asian groups would participate in
the forum, giving it a different flavor from previous years. But India is
also a land of 14 official languages, which meant WSF organizers had to
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive translation equipment so
the participants, Indian and otherwise, could follow each other.

In previous years, translations were offered to delegates in three
languages: English, French and Spanish. This year, in addition to these
languages, translations are being provided in Korean, Japanese, Hindi,
Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Bahasa Indonesian and Thai. And
yet, the service costs are minimal.

The translations are being done by an international network of volunteer
interpreters called Babels, using a newly created open- source Linux
software. The software can be run on a midrange computer, therefore cutting
out the high costs of translation associated with special high-speed
computers, consoles and mixing equipment.

The translator uses an interface on the computer screen to select the
language being spoken. The speaker's voice is digitized and sent to the
translator, who then sends the translated text out through the interface to
audiences, who listen on headsets.

"This is the first time we have used such an innovative free-share on such a
large scale," said Sophie Gosselin, a member of Nomad, the organization that
created the translation software. "And because all the speeches and their
translations are going through our computers, we are going to be able to
archive all of them. This means we will be able to put it up on the WSF's
site to be shared with everyone who was not able to attend now, taking the
forum to hundreds of thousands of people."

The WSF is also using an FM radio frequency to provide translations in
various Indian languages to help cut the cost of attaching headsets to every
seat. FM radios are being sold at the venue for 100 rupees ($2).

"Our main aim is to keep the costs as low as possible and yet not impose
English upon everyone," said Gosselin. "We want everyone to feel like they
have ownership of this event. For example, when we contacted the Koreans to
ask them if they wanted translations, they were really surprised, as they
were so used to being marginalized.  But the Korean delegation turnout here
is now higher because they feel included."

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing. The interpreters have been beset by
technical difficulties and infrastructure problems at the forum, causing
many delegates to attend only panels spoken in their language.

"It's great when it works," said Andre Grosso, an interpreter from France.
"The technology is democratic, it's independent of the politics of different
agendas, it's open-source -- keeping in line with the philosophy of the
forum -- and it's highly economical."


	REPORT FROM KERALA: doxa at sancharnet.in writes in a report titled
	'Stallman cautions Government of Kerala':

	Richard M Stallman was speaking at Thrissur in Kerala on Jan 22. 
	RMS, as he is popularly known in the Internet world (rms at gnu.org),
	was here after attending World Social Forum at Mumbai.

	Free Software, he said had four levels of freedom. At Freedom Level
	'0', it allowed anyone to use the software for any purpose. RMS
	added that this freedom was offered by most of the proprietary
	software also.

	At Freedom Level '1', he said Free software allowed anyone to study
	the source code. This freedom is not there in the non-free
	proprietary world. Source code never accompanies non-free
	proprietary softwares. Its is even never released. RMS informed that
	there were numerous instances in the past when companies would use
	their popular software to spy on users. He informed that earlier
	whenever a Windows XP user went on-line, the Operating System would
	inform Microsoft, details of whatever software was on the hard-disk
	of the user. "When this issue became a debating issue, Microsoft
	quietly removed this feature. But only to return after a gap. This
	time the details are encrypted and sent, so that no one get to know
	of this". RMS added that even some freeware (proprietary software
	that doesn't come with source code) available on the Internet like
	RealPlayer also does this.

	At Freedom Level '2', RMS said that it allowed anyone freedom to
	modify the code. "You are not at the mercy of the company who sold
	you the product. You are not helpless here. When you observe some
	malfunctioning or you need a feature added to it, you are forced to
	contact the software provider. In free software, you yourself can
	make the modification if you have those skills, or can approach a
	technical programmer nearby to have it fixed for you. Remember, you
	may have to pay him for this service." Free software is not
	non-commercial, RMS added, and said that he himself had been selling
	CDs in the initial stages when he set out to create a world class
	Operating System. He had worked alone, after he quit his job at
	MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1978, disgusted over AT&T's
	move to make UNIX operating system, proprietary. By 1984, he
	established the Free Software Foundation, who would fund the
	development activities for reaching the goal of presenting the
	global citizen a Free Operating System.

	At Freedom Level '3', the user of a free software could share his
	software with his friend or neighbour. "In proprietary software
	world, this is a crime. Isn't this practice that tells you not to
	share anything with anyone, an evil ? Way back, when I started out
	on my mission, everyone had this kind of culture, where sharing and
	co-operation was the mark of the day. I had convinced myself on the
	need to carry this culture ahead, in my programme." This is where
	Free Software pushes every other software behind, he said. "This
	movement, this Free Software Foundation's movement is based on
	certain core values centred around social, political and ethical
	issues, and is not merely making available software free of cost. It
	is a political movement and looks at the ethical issues." RMS
	heavily cautioned against using proprietary software in schools,
	even if it were available at a cheaper price or free of cost. "Its
	like tobacco companies giving away free cigarettes to children. 
	Their motive is totally different. You have to take this aspect into
	notice." The packed hall at John Mathai Centre at Thrissur listened
	to the great crusader of justice in the software world in rapt
	attention. "Even if the company offers such solutions free of cost,
	they may charge later for its upgrades. You need to watch out, be
	very careful here. Would you want such a generation of citizens
	here, in this part of the world?"

	Governments the world over are beginning to appreciate the dangers
	that accompany proprietary software and are bringing in legislation
	to curb the tendencies in Public Institutions. "This is however not
	the case with your Goverment of Kerala. Let me tell you, they have
	already computerised most of their programmes in the Departments of
	Finance and Local Self Governments on proprietary non-free software. 
	You have to resist this move. This is not in the interest of the
	Citizens here. You got to tell this to your Government. Most of the
	other departments would need to interact with these departments, at
	a later stage. Moreover, when the Government makes the decision, it
	is slipping into a state of helplessness, as later on, it will be
	dependant on the company to make any alterations or modifications,
	even if you have the technical skills to do it yourself. You are
	losing your independence. Your freedom is highly compromised when
	you use software whose source code is held secret. Anything can
	happen. Things can be controlled from remote, without your knowledge
	,using spy code. For public enterprises, this is not in good taste.
	,This has to be converted into a political issue."

	"Moreover, when you are using non-standard and non-free formats of
	storing data, you are becoming totally dependant on the supplier. 
	The Government has to make considerable investment in this area,
	immediately, without losing any more time. The more the time lapse,
	the greater would be the level of dependance and the cost of
	migrating back to free software.  In case you need my help, let me
	tell you, the FSF people in India are there to offer any kind of
	technical help." RMS cautioned the designs that are taking shape
	across the globe to bring in a kind of "electronic colonisation". 
	"There are people planning to do wrong things. You are a world
	citizen now. You got to resist this tendency at every level

	RMS also answered to a volley of questions on issues that confronted
	free software elsewhere. SCO had sued IBM against using GNU Linux
	that it said was using pieces of its own code. "I don't think SCO is
	going to win. The judge has given SCO just one month time to point
	out exactly those parts of the code in the Linux kernel, that it
	finds objectionable. I don't think SCO would be able to do this. 
	Even if they succeed, there is no reason for any panic, the
	maintainers of the kernel would come out with appropriate fixes. It
	would be another opportunity for the maintainers to show their
	programming skills."

	"Let me tell you that Linux is not the only kernel which is there on
	GNU platform. There is also the Hurd kernel, used by GNU Hurd
	operating system." "When I started, my mission had been to build a
	complete operating system, which I would be calling GNU, acronym for
	GNU's Not Unix. Most of the components for the GNU were completed,
	except for a small portion, the kernel, without which we couldn't
	launch the product. In 1991 Linus Torvalds had built a kernel, that
	was the only part which was missing. Linus didn't inform us, he just
	searched the net to find all our products that we were giving as
	free software under the copyleft and took it and completed. This was
	an unethical move by Torvalds. He should have informed us."

	On a question on which distributor of GNU Linux is preferred, RMS
	said that "most distributors include non-free software along with
	free software. This is not good. To me, I think Debian version is
	totally free. It doesn't have any non-free software. The Debian
	license explicity maintains this stand. However among other
	variants, I think Red Hat and Mandrake are committing fewer
	mistakes, fewer errors. Red Hat and Mandrake doesn't produce
	non-free software. They are not involved. Red Hat in fact produces
	free software. Companies like Suse produces non-free software. This
	is wrong."

	RMS, left the hall apparently not being able to cope up with the
	high level of humidity. "I am not used to working in this kind of
	environment. Its too hot. Your country is too hot for me." RMS shook
	hands with everyone who came forward and posed for photographs. In
	his iterinary, RMS would be also meeting the leader of Opposition of
	the Kerala Legislative Assembly, apart from giving a few more
	lectures during course of his tour.
	CK Raju

YOUR INPUTS and criticism to this newsletter are welcome.  Contact us at
fred at bytesforall dot org COPYLEFT 2003. May be freely circulated provided
entire text and credits are left intact. 

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