Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
GNU is Not Unix

Stallman Goes to India 586

Posted by michael
from the exploring-outsourcing-next-version-of-gcc dept.
SureshD writes "The Hindu is reporting on a 40 minute long meeting between Richard Stallman and the Indian President - Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. After the interview, RMS said that the President was 'receptive' to his views that development of software should be seen as a political and social issue and not just from the technological point of view. Interestingly, the article mentions that the President had prepared for the meeting by downloading and reading Stallman's biography (Free as in Freedom) from the Internet."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stallman Goes to India

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:34AM (#8156744)
    ..is when Stallman promised the president a totaly no-cost, no-strings-attached copy of GCC for every Indian citizen. Even Bill Gates couldn't match that incredibly generous offer!!
    • by NonSequor (230139) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:57AM (#8156827) Journal
      Bill Gates offered them a set of steak knives but for some reason they turned down the offer.
      • by gid13 (620803) on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:41AM (#8157054)
        Actual conversation between the lead singer of my band and his overly Christian aunt:

        "Holy cow!"
        "Cows aren't holy, Mike."
        "In India they are."
        "Well, they're wrong."

        What does this have to do with software, you ask? Uh... Well... Christians try to bind everyone to Christianity and Microsoft tries to bind everyone to Windows. Yeah. Think about it. :)
      • RMS got a little mixed up about India. He thought the Gnu was holy instead of the cow.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:21AM (#8157155)
      Would that be Big Indian or Little Indian ?
  • Full text (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:35AM (#8156748)
    Kalam, Stallman discuss open source software

    By Sandeep Dikshit

    NEW DELHI, JAN. 31. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, last Thursday played host to two radically divergent poles of the global software industry.

    The first to meet the President was Richard Stallman, the leading light of the free and open source software (FOSS) movement.

    Ironically, the people waiting in the Presidential anteroom for the interaction to end were people from Microsoft.

    Dr. Stallman has devoted his life to countering Microsoft's policy of selling software that cannot be changed because its code is kept a secret. It also cannot be shared because of licensing restrictions.

    Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Stallman said the President was "receptive'' to his views that development of software should be seen as a political and social issue and not just from the technological point of view.

    At a meeting that lasted 40 minutes, they discussed the need to give people an alternative way to use computers by popularising open source software (OSS).

    "The President said this was a beautiful concept,'' said Dr. Stallman. Mr. Kalam had prepared for the meeting by downloading Dr. Stallman's biography from the Internet which in keeping with the FOSS movement guru's philosophy is available free of cost.

    The two also went over several common interests, including the use of software in space programming. For the first time, the Mars Rovers vehicle is using OSS and it is reported to be functioning well.

    They also reminisced on the development work on several software programmes in which both had taken interest.

    Besides explaining the political philosophy of FOSS movement, Dr. Stallman said he also spoke to the President about the real intention behind Microsoft's plan to spread the use of computers in schools which was "akin to the colonial system of recruiting the local elite to help keep others in line.''

    "I hope my discussion had some influence on the President and he will be able to resist being used that way.''

    Dr. Stallman gave up a cushy teaching job in a prestigious American university after he perceived that "computer colonisation'' was spreading rapidly.

    "There were only two options. Either I stopped using computers or I help everybody to escape. I chose the latter,'' he said.

    He explained the concept behind FOSS. The word "free'' did not mean giving the software gratis.

    Rather, it denoted the freedom to control the computer because the seller of FOSS also provided the source code or the manner in which a particular software was constructed.

    "This way you can see how it works, you can change it and also share the software.''

    By taking to FOSS, India would be able to cut down on the outflow of foreign exchange which was going to become very large in the near future.

    So far, Microsoft licences were not being forced on individuals, but in the coming days, proprietary software companies would make it impossible for individuals to make copies clandestinely.

    "The flood (outflow of foreign exchange) will then become a torrent,'' he said. Free software, in contrast, would encourage local information technology developers to innovate and adapt the software constantly. The result will be that money will circulate in the local economy, he said.

    Copyright 2000 - 2003 The Hindu

    • Re:Full text (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Elektroschock (659467) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:24AM (#8156899)
      I prefer "FLOSS" as a term.

      However a support of India for Free Softwareon the international level may be very helpful in the defense against Software patents. There is still no *real US-movement* (join this list [ffii.org]:-)) but an Indian committment similar to Brazil could be beneficial on the internatioanl level.

      Also think of the fact that WSISII in Tunis will distribute UN money for IT- projects.
    • by gasgesgos (603192) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:43AM (#8156932)
      The site's not even slashdotted, (I hope) most of us can actually click a link (or type in the link, for IE users) and read the original article ourselves, without possibility of alteration from the karma whores.


      Next the karma whores are going to start repeating the Slashdot headline and text "in case it ever gets slashdotted."


      FULL TEXT OF SLASHDOT POSTING:

      Stallman Goes to India

      Posted by michael on Monday February 02, @02:33AM
      from the exploring-outsourcing-next-version-of-gcc dept.
      SureshD writes "The Hindu is reporting on a 40 minute long meeting between Richard Stallman and the Indian President - Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. After the interview, RMS said that the President was 'receptive' to his views that development of software should be seen as a political and social issue and not just from the technological point of view. Interestingly, the article mentions that the President had prepared for the meeting by downloading and reading Stallman's biography (Free as in Freedom) from the Internet."

      ( Read More... | 62 of 75 comments )


      can I have my +5 informative now?
      • Re:Full text (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gmania (687303)
        Here, here !!

        I couldn't agree more, I like free as in freedom as much as the next guy, and like to see this freedom extended all the way down do respecting other peoples copyright:
        Copyright (C) 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu
        I allways wondered why slashdot allowed other peoples copyright to be so blatantly abused.
    • by foidulus (743482)
      I know it shouldn't be funny, but who didn't give a little giggle when they read the name, "Sandeep Dikshit"?
  • Wow... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mgebbers (252737) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:35AM (#8156749)
    I didn't know the Indian government was hiring [slashdot.org]
    • by 3Suns (250606)
      So not only do we have to worry about getting our real jobs shipped overseas, but also our open source development as well! Won't there be anything left for an american techie?
  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:37AM (#8156755)
    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.

    • by metlin (258108) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:02AM (#8156835) Journal
      Not true.

      A lot of govt. organizations in India today use OSS. For every area of the govt that uses Microsoft software, there is atleast 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.
    • by Serious Simon (701084) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:13AM (#8156868)
      Maybe, but apparently even Microsoft recognizes that OSS is a feasible alternative for India. Otherwise they wouldn't have been forced to drastically lower the price of their offering.
      • by DF5JT (589002) <slashdot@bloatware.de> on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:16AM (#8156994) Homepage
        " Maybe, but apparently even Microsoft recognizes that OSS is a feasible alternative for India. Otherwise they wouldn't have been forced to drastically lower the price of their offering."

        The good thing about it is the fact that Microsoft will have to change its attitude in questions of interoperability and support of open standards. In that sense, the pressure of OSS software really will change the way proprietory software enterprises will address their customers' needs.
      • by 4of12 (97621) on Monday February 02, 2004 @09:30AM (#8158146) Homepage Journal

        Otherwise they wouldn't have been forced to drastically lower the price of their offering.

        That Microsoft is even able to change the price of their product so easily is a consequence of their monopoly control of the market.

        Recall Thailand's Linux laptop project motivated MS to cut prices there. Needless to say, those kinds of prices were not available to buyers of Windows and Office in North America, Europe and Japan.

        Probably one of the most overlooked aspects Microsoft's so-called Trusted Computing initiative (most people in this forum are afraid The Man will spy on them, erase their MP3's and make their old Word documents unreadable unless they keep current their Office subscription payments) is that by targeting contracts with defined individuals and machines, the commodity nature of its products is lessened (the software CD becomes non-transferrable)and it becomes even more feasible to discriminate in pricing than it is now.

        Expect this development.

        Having essentially conquered the market for desktop software Microsoft has to look at other alternatives for growth, which is what their shareholders demand.

        But it is hard for Microsoft to grow now! Entering new markets is difficult for them because their actions will be scrutinized for unfair leveraging of their monopoly position. The remaining alternative is to adjust pricing to maximize revenue; get from each user what they can.

        Thus, they might well charge a few rupees for their OS in India and hundreds of dollars for the same product in a large corporate environment in the United States.

        With TCPA Windows, there will be no danger of the Indian licensee re-selling their copy of Windows to someone in the United States. Not only will such resale be "illegal", but it will become technically much less feasible than it is now.

    • by jkrise (535370) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:46AM (#8156940) Journal
      This is simply not true. 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.

      -
      • by Moridineas (213502) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:08AM (#8157112) Journal
        Not to contradict any of your points, but ultimately the Indian president isn't _that_ powerful. Kalam is very interesting as the first Muslim president of India, and a major player in the development of the bomb! Beyond that, he is interesting as a muslim, he is a golden boy of the BJP, and they are in fact responsible for his election. Kalam is in short the type of Muslim that the BJP likes--secular, known to have read the Ghitas, etc. An interesting character!
        • by jkrise (535370) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:20AM (#8157151) Journal
          One other person says that Dr.Kalam is a Jesuit Alumni and now you say he's a Muslim - I say, what does it matter? Software has no religion, neither does democracy - so when the head of a democratic setup makes a decision on the type of software that would be most suited for his country, his religion should have zero-relevance.

          Secondly, he was not the first choice of the BJP, in fact the then vice-president was a hard-core BJP man, but was rejected by Mr.Chandrababu Naidu, who propped up Dr.Kalam's candidature. Incidentally, Mr.Naidu is Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, where Microsoft has it's biggest Indian-operations center - they wrote the SFU and the command shell with .Net elements over there.

          To sum up, the religious background or acadmeic record of most people in India has little relevance in a multi-culturous environment.

          -
          • by Moridineas (213502) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:39AM (#8157199) Journal

            One other person says that Dr.Kalam is a Jesuit Alumni and now you say he's a Muslim - I say, what does it matter? Software has no religion, neither does democracy - so when the head of a democratic setup makes a decision on the type of software that would be most suited for his country, his religion should have zero-relevance.



            Being educated at a Jesuit school (which he may or may not have--I don't know) doesn't necessarily make one a Jesuit, a Catholic, or even a Christian. Especially in India and Africa, the educated elite even today often come from religious schools set up by colonial European powers. IIRC, Abdul Kalam is from Tamil Nadu, and the Jesuits did have signifigant influence in the South. Incidentally, he's not the "Head of a democratic" setup--the Indian president is simply not that powerful--and that was my prime point--he's much more of a figurehead than anything else.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        To say that the President did this as a bargaining strategy with Microsoft is an insult.

        You are attacking a straw-man argument. The person you are responding to didn't say that. He said that the president is probably a true believer, but the government as a whole are using that fact to drive down MS prices.

  • Braindrain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:37AM (#8156758)
    Possibly, with GPL, India may be turning the braindrain the other way round. You often need somewhat mature code to play with in the beginning of your career, and, after all, there are hundreds of sourceforge/freshmeat projects which need to be better maintained.
    • by cujo_1111 (627504)
      They say a million monkeys could produce Shakespeare, just imagine what a billion Indians could do for Open Source projects...
      • Well, they don't have to wait to presidential decret to start participating.

        BTW, a billion?!? I didn't know all Indians are hackers.

      • The theory that "a million monkeys with typewriters will eventually produce something intelligent" is age-old. And, as we now know, wrong.

        The Internet has conclusively disproven it.

        And, this is not a troll but based on my experience, a billion Indians with telephones have yet to produce an intelligible tech support call.

        But then again, the same goes for Texans/Irish/Germans/...
  • by ryen (684684) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:38AM (#8156761)
    Hi, Thank you for calling Dell technical support. My name is Richard. How may I help you?


    • Mr. Richard! You're the man I'm really after. Reading your brilliant articles on free and open-source software, I plopped this RedHot CD into my Dell Dimension and guess what? it wrote into the CD drive's firmware and the damn thing won't work again...

      Richard: Pssst... don't quote me, but I'll tell you what to do - just turn over that system back to Dell, get your money back, and call me on my home line... I'll get you a brand=new hand-configured Linux system right away...

  • "Interestingly, the article mentions that the President had prepared for the meeting by downloading and reading Stallman's biography (Free as in Freedom) from the Internet."

    HOw is that interesting? In case you don't know, every politician does that or is prepared by advisors before plunging into any meeting. Or is that interesting because he usually does not do that? Maybe he needs someone like Condoleezza Rice to chew and spit the stuff to him, so he can better use his time....
    • by civad (569109) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:40AM (#8156927)

      How is that interesting? In case you don't know, every politician does that or is prepared by advisors before plunging into any meeting. Or is that interesting because he usually does not do that? Maybe he needs someone like Condoleezza Rice to chew and spit the stuff to him, so he can better use his time....


      How many times has Mr. Stallman met Mr. Bush? How much time did the latter spend to prepare for the meeting? What is the outlook of the US Govt. towards Open Source movement?

      I am assuming you are in teh US, since you seem to be so ignorant about the importance of what the President of India did.
  • Before everyone gets confused, India has a parliamentary system of government so the President is not the head of the government. There are more details from the WikiPedia entry on India [wikipedia.org].

    That is not to say Kalam isn't important, just that he mostly just gives speeches, not makes decisions.

    • by jkrise (535370) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:59AM (#8156831) Journal
      Although this is true, it is also to be remembered that the Preisdent of India is highly respected in technical and defence circles. As such, his views and leanings have a lot of bearing on the political decision-making process.

      While launching the IIIT in Pune, the President made a pointed reference to his meeting with Mr. Gates, and made some brilliant points in exhorting the local IT community to further the cause of Free and Open Source software.

      India is indeed fortunate to have such an eminently qualified person at the apex seat, since IT is synonymous with national security these days....

      -
    • President is the official, though ceremonial, head of the executive branch of the Government in India. It is more like the Queen in U.K., who is a formal head, but the real executive is the prime minister and his cabinet. I have a gold medal in Indian constitutional law.
  • Maybe.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by xzap (453197) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:44AM (#8156782)
    the President gave him some tips on what shampoo to use..after all both the President [cnn.com] and Stallman [netmonger.net] a long long mane ;)
  • Power Shift (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cybermint (255744) * on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:46AM (#8156787)
    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.
    • Times are changing. Maybe considering India as a future isn't such a bad idea.

      I read an article the other day (can't find it with Google at the moment) about how high-tech immigration TO India has really been picking up lately.

      With all of the outsourcing, Indian IT companies are experiencing skills shortages in some specialised areas. Even though the salaries are not that high after the exchange rate, compared to the cost of living, foreign IT workers live high on the hog.

      Now let me see if I can find th
    • Re:Power Shift (Score:5, Informative)

      by justin_speers (631757) <jaspeers@comCHICAGOcast.net minus city> on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:59AM (#8157092)
      India's tech is booming

      The U.S. still imports way more jobs than it imports, and India's tech is booming based solely on the fact that it is low cost. Try reading some alternative viewpoints [townhall.com] on the outsourcing subject.

      Japan has all the cutting edge electronics and techonologies
      And those Japanese companies also create a lot of jobs in the U.S., and the Japanese economy isn't doing so hot. Your point?

      China is destined to be the next super power
      With no economic freedom and the vast majority of it's citizens living in horrid poverty, I doubt it.

      Korea is trying to get nukes
      NORTH Korea already has them.

      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.

      Slow economy? I'm seeing growth right now, what are you talking about? It was slow a year ago, times are changing... mad cow disease gets a big "so what" from me, it's more paranoia than reality, it does more damage to the beef industry than the general population. And a puppet for a President? Watch this "puppet" obliterate John Kerry in the next election.

      It's really lame his editorializing was so lacking in any substance, and yet modded up as insightful.
    • It has been a very long while since the last time I visited Slashdot. Now I remember why.

      I'm not going to refute this post point by point, if only because anyone able to read a newspaper should be able to do so easily.

      I shall, however, make the following suggestions to anyone who actually believes a word of the parent post:

      1. Get the hell away from Slashdot and go get some news.

      2. After that, go study some economics. In particular, you may wish to bone up on the fall of the Japanese economy.

      3. Get

  • by romit_icarus (613431) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:47AM (#8156788) Journal
    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.

    Interestingly, unlike in the rest of asia, software piracy is never an issue with MS although software piracy is rampant...

    • Back in the early-mid 90s (when I was last paying attention to the issue), Indian universities used to use Unix a lot. Perhaps the PC has crowded out that tradition, but we were well-positioned there for a while. Perhaps we can get that back.
    • "Get the 15% of developers to use MS, and that'll provide the basis for MS."

      Instead of giving India a basis for Indian software without strings attatched...

  • Freedom? Beer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miknight (642270) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:49AM (#8156794) Journal
    "which in keeping with the FOSS movement guru's philosophy is available free of cost."

    I wasn't aware that this was part of the philosophy.
    • Re:Freedom? Beer? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      If the source code is freely distributable than the software will become available for free sooner or. . . well, just sooner actually.

      The free trade in software is an innate consequence of the GPL and Stallman knows this damned well and the basic functionality that the GPL strives for is that people should be allowed to simply hand a copy of software to a friend freely and without fear of legal consequence.

      So yes, the free availability is perfectly in keeping with Stallman's philosophy.

      KFG
  • Any music? (Score:3, Funny)

    by fastdecade (179638) on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:52AM (#8156803)
    For the sake of open source diplomacy, I hope he didn't sing for the PM.

    In any event, great to see open source has reached this level. Won't be long before managers have to justify their platform decisions again.
  • by leoaugust (665240) <leoaugust AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:55AM (#8156818) Journal

    The Indian President is tech-savvy and has on earlier occasions tried to promote Linux. He was really a rocket scientist before he was appointed the President.

    In May 2003, he gave a speech in which he said "said it is 'unfortunate' that proprietary software - such as Windows - is so popular and has called for broader adoption of open source products." More details here - ZDNet UK - News - Indian President adds salt to MS wounds [zdnet.co.uk]

    From the article, notes on a conversation with Bill Gates:

    President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam recounted a conversation earlier this year with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. "We were discussing the future challenges in information technology, including the issues related to software security," Kalam said, according to a transcript of the speech. "I made a point that we look for open-source codes so that we can easily introduce the users built security algorithms. Our discussions became difficult, since our views were different."

  • POI's website (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @03:59AM (#8156833)
    Dr.Kalam's website at http://presidentofindia.nic.in/ [presidentofindia.nic.in] , runs on Linux and Apache [netcraft.com] . 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 1974).
    Also a bachelor like India's executive head,the Prime Minister.
    • Re:POI's website (Score:4, Informative)

      by zungu (588387) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:07AM (#8157110) Journal
      Also, he is a qualified Aeronautical engineer. He is the key architect of India's rocket launching capabilities. Also, an erudite poet and musician. Keeps his hair long and wears informal blue shirts most of the time. Spends time talking to school kids on all his visits. Cool guy, in short.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:03AM (#8156837)
    I found this section interesting:

    Besides explaining the political philosophy of FOSS movement, Dr. Stallman said he also spoke to the President about the real intention behind Microsoft's plan to spread the use of computers in schools which was "akin to the colonial system of recruiting the local elite to help keep others in line.''

    Nothing like digging up the ghosts of the past to help sell an idea! It seemed a smart analogy to me.

    Perhaps someone should speak to the congress about Free Software in these terms - "Free software is like allowing your colony/company the independence to rule as it likes, instead of all your money being shipped to an uncaring vendor/government far away from the day-to-day concerns of your operation yet supposedly providing you relevant services to the work at hand."
  • Excellent timing. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pjbass (144318) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:04AM (#8156842) Homepage
    I have to say that this is kinda interesting and rather comforting to hear the Indian government's interest in the idealogies of open source, ala RMS. I work for a rather large corporation in the US that makes lots of processors, and the going jokes always involve something with our jobs migrating to India. In any case, it'd be nice to see that open source is embraced there. They have some excellent programmers (who work something like 16-20 hours a day) who, if applied to open source, could really contribute to the movement. Aligned with the fact that Bangalore recently surpassed Silicon Valley with the greatest number of technology jobs, let's just hope those jobs are working on the things that will benefit the OSDN.
  • by kurosawdust (654754) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:05AM (#8156845)
    If this means the addition of a sitar track in "The Free Software Song", I'm all for it.
  • by mc6809e (214243) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:06AM (#8156850)

    There is free as in free to do things without interference, and free as in getting something for nothing.

    They're not the same thing.

  • Synopsis (Score:4, Informative)

    by illuminata (668963) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:09AM (#8156859) Journal
    Stallman basically told the the president of India that they could have and distribute programmers for free, rather than have to pay for some evil, greedy programmers who won't even show you their goods. Stallman's programmers come from all around the world and are completely open. His only requirement is that the terms of their release and distribution be kept in their chest pocket, and that the president give them credit if he modifies them in any way.
    • Re:Synopsis (Score:2, Insightful)

      by provocative (725595)
      Stallman's programmers come from all around the world and are completely open Which could be a serious problem. Realize that the India tech sector is just about beginning to grow. At this point, although 'free as in beer' matters a lot, 'free as in freedom' is really not an issue. For a new and upcoming company, it's a decision between using stable and good (enough) software coming from a stable company who would be able to provide good and timely support, as opposed to some software created by a group of
  • Pay the man (Score:4, Insightful)

    by olman (127310) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:18AM (#8156884)
    I'm sure Indian programmers are just falling all over themselves to produce software for no pay. Ditto for Indian software companies. Now if you mean Free as in "Open", you might be talking business..
  • by LibrePensador (668335) on Monday February 02, 2004 @04:18AM (#8156885) Journal
    A very old proverb says that "it's hard to be a prophet in one's own land."

    For some reason, Richard Stallman is demonized in the US as some eccentric loony. Yet the rest of the world actually holds him in very high regard. I have had the fortune of listening to him speak on the issue of software patents and not only was he articulate but he was able to appeal to a large audience made up of people from all walks of life.

    Even if you disagree with specific positions that RMS might take, you have to give the guy credit for standing his ground. To me the GPL is one of the cornerstones of the free software movement and its cultural and social implications will reverberate for generations.

    • by nathanh (1214) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:19AM (#8157147) Homepage
      For some reason, Richard Stallman is demonized in the US as some eccentric loony. Yet the rest of the world actually holds him in very high regard. I have had the fortune of listening to him speak on the issue of software patents and not only was he articulate but he was able to appeal to a large audience made up of people from all walks of life.

      He is fairly eccentric. I've met him twice and he's... uhh... he could do with a visit from the Queer Eye TV show.

      However I suspect the real reason that he's considered a "loony" in the USA is because he doesn't bow to the almighty dollar. I'm not trolling. Americans seem overly concerned about money. Notice that one of the first things an American asks after learning about free software is "how will programmers get paid?" No thoughts about how it can help less fortunate countries, or less fortunate districts within America. No thoughts about how sharing software would lead to advancements in software because programmers will be freed up to work on new and exciting things. No thoughts about advancing science or technology for the benefit of mankind. Not even thinking that maybe these hobbyists write free software because they want to! An American's primary cause for concern is "where's the personal financial gain?"

      I think this is because USA punishes people without money. If you don't make lots of money you live on the streets. There is no socialism. No "safety net" if you lose your job. It's shameful for an American to be without money. Success is tied with being rich. Poor people are "losers". That makes it hard for an American to get past the "no cost" aspect of Free Software and start to understand the freedom aspects.

      I'm not saying money is unimportant. But RMS sees a balance between money and sharing. Between proprietary interests and the public interest. He tries to communicate that software is not just about technology and "innovation". It's also about political and social improvement. America rewards financial success, not social improvement, and I think that's really sad.

      NB: And I'm not saying that Americans only think about money, or that no other culture has similar disdain for slackabouts, or that no other culture pursues financial success as a means of evaluating worth. I'm just saying that it's more exaggerated in Americans. That's just my ignorant opinion (I've never lived in America) but I suspect my ignorant opinion is not unique and not far off the mark.

      • by caudron (466327) on Monday February 02, 2004 @09:01AM (#8157876) Homepage
        It's shameful for an American to be without money. Success is tied with being rich. Poor people are "losers".

        I get what you are saying, but as an American, I feel the need to clarify your point.

        Americans have a strong drive to succeed. We have a drive to compete with ourselves. It's the basis of what we call the "American Dream" (to become strong and independent). As a society, we embrace the ideal of constant self-improvement. We strive for one goal: Self-Sustenance.

        It's not that we look down on people who are poor. Almost every American you ask will agree that a person isn't less of a person for being poorer than another. No, our real issue is with people who cannot live in a reasonably (note I did not say fully) self-sustaining manner. We do look down on people who /need/ handouts and who otherwise appear capable. We, as a society, don't begrudge people who cannot be self-sustaining, like children, some elderly, or the sick, as evidenced by our social programs to help those people. But our other social programs, like unemployment checks, welfare, and the such are time-limited.

        We firmly stand by our conviction that if you can become more self-sustaining, then you should.

        So you see, it isn't money which drives us. Money is just one way of many to gain a measure of self-sustenance. It's the desire to minimize our external dependencies. You can be dirt-poor in America, but grow your own food and manage your own needs and we will only admire you. Likewise, you can be filthy-rich in America but constantly seek government grants and the such ans we will despise you. This has it's own ancillary set of problems, but they are different from those that we would have if money were our obsession.

        I'm not making a judgement here as to whether that's better or worse than what you claimed, but rather just clarifying for you the real pathos of the American Dream.
  • by arvindn (542080) on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:03AM (#8156972) Homepage Journal
    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.

    Our president is a cool guy. As someone already pointed out, the president is not a political figure in India. But Kalam is a respected person and gives a lot of speeches and many people listen to him etc.

    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.

  • Surname (Score:3, Funny)

    by vpscolo (737900) on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:16AM (#8156995) Homepage
    has no one else noticed the surname of the author?

    By Sandeep Dikshit

    I would almost say a this is a troll article if it wasn't so positive

    Rus
    • Re:Surname (Score:2, Funny)

      by provocative (725595)
      so by your logic, anything said by 'Dick Stallman' would be troll.. eh?

      Dikshit is a pretty common Indian surname.. Just for fun, try to find out what 'Rus' means in hindi.

    • Re:Surname (Score:2, Informative)

      by WhoDaresWins (601501)

      has no one else noticed the surname of the author?
      By Sandeep Dikshit
      I would almost say a this is a troll article if it wasn't so positive

      Well I can understand how a surname like Dikshit would sound strange to an American, but its a common surname in India and pronounced quite differently from what it might appear. Its not pronounced as Dick Shit but rather as Deekshit where the 'd' and 't' are soft (The 'd' is pronounced like the word "thee" as in the old English thou) so it would be like "thee ks

  • India on the ball (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:22AM (#8157003) Journal
    You know, India's president is an engineering PhD. We have George Bush, a C student who had his wealthy family get him his position.

    India puts a good deal of emphasis on producing engineers. Surprise -- India is improving its lot at a stunning rate.

    Plenty of things are wrong with India, but we could take a lesson from it as well.
    • by pommiekiwifruit (570416) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:04AM (#8157099)
      USA isn't the only country with a tradition of a heriditery head of state who retains power. India had Nehru/Indira/Ranjiv/Sonja. Pakistan had the Bhuttos.

      Perhaps they should both go down the european route of letting the "first family" have a ceremonial role (the Bushes and the Kennedys could share the duties in the USA) and letting commoners be elected to the executive jobs.

  • Well of course he had Stallman's Bio -- Bill's Bio is '(C)2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved'.

    ls
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:11AM (#8157116)
    They are Native Americans!
  • by justin_speers (631757) <jaspeers@comCHICAGOcast.net minus city> on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:18AM (#8157141)
    I find it so interesting that so many /.'ers complain about outsourcing and the loss of American tech jobs (whether a legitimate complaint or not), yet...

    Everyone seems so willing to make the argument other countries should not rely so much on foreign (American) software.

    Wouldn't that mean the loss of more American tech jobs? Aren't those lines of thinking in conflict?

    Or is it okay to lose tech jobs, as long as those jobs are Microsoft's, and somehow that won't affect other tech jobs.???
    • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:35AM (#8157184)
      Everyone seems so willing to make the argument other countries should not rely so much on foreign (American) software.

      If you believe this then you're missing the point entirely. The backlash is not against "American software", it's against being locked into proprietary code and proprietary protocols.
      The fact that MS believe only in the proprietary model means that they are the focus of the backlash a lot of the time - however, traditional Unix vendors like SCO and Sun are also targets of much criticism by the Open Source community.

      Wouldn't that mean the loss of more American tech jobs? Aren't those lines of thinking in conflict?

      Tech jobs will go to India purely because it's cheaper to hire a techie in India rather than the US or Europe. A company's decision to do that is based purely on profit and it's irrelevant whether the techies support Windows, Linux, etc.

      Or is it okay to lose tech jobs, as long as those jobs are Microsoft's, and somehow that won't affect other tech jobs.???

      No, it's not alright for just MS to lose jobs but please remember that it's the company's own decision to lay off its workforce, not some external factor.
      I'm a firm believer in goverment taxation of profits for companies that outsource jobs outside of countries where they do the most business.
      As far as I am concerned, if a company makes money in a particular country, then it has an obligation to not just take money out of that country but put something back into it like jobs and livelihoods - i.e. it should be made more expensive to outsource jobs to another country due to taxation of profits.

  • GNU/India (Score:4, Funny)

    by freedom_leffo (605662) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:57AM (#8157273)
    In other news, the Indian president announced that they'll from now on will go by the name GNU/India.
  • by jayan (170728) on Monday February 02, 2004 @08:10AM (#8157599)
    (Offtopic)
    According to netcraft (http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=www.pre sidentofindia.nic.in) President's website was running MS windows sometime back. Now that runs on Linux.
    Good work.
  • geez (Score:4, Funny)

    by msouth (10321) on Monday February 02, 2004 @09:44AM (#8158290) Homepage Journal
    first our jobs, now our free software guru...
  • by bfg9000 (726447) on Monday February 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#8158726) Homepage Journal
    "Kalam, Stallman discuss open source software"....

    I'm pretty sure Stallman was talking about Free Software rather than Open Source Software....

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

Working...