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Indian State Logs Microsoft Out 142

slack_prad writes "An Indian state, Kerala has chalked out a plan for migrating its high school students to free software platforms in three years. This was apparently in response to RMS's recent visit to the place. The education minister for the state said that the Free software guru Richard Stallman's visit last week had nudged the schools to discard the proprietary software altogether. 'Stallman has inspired Kerala's transition to free software on the lines of an exciting model of a Spanish province.' Initially, schools were given the option to choose whether teachers were to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft. The option has now narrowed down to migration."
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Indian State Logs Microsoft Out

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  • kerala (Score:3, Interesting)

    by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:46PM (#15985363) Homepage Journal
    A quick google shows that Kerala has a population of 33 million people, so (depending on how many are in school) this could be a fairly big test to see how useable linux is in this sort of environment, especially with other indian states as a control. I hope RMS is not just talking it up and has some real plans in place to measure the benefits that are thought to be possible.
  • Re:kerala (Score:5, Interesting)

    by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer&alum,mit,edu> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:55PM (#15985391) Homepage

    Indix, a localized GNU/Linux, is already available [] in Malayalam [], the principal language of Kerala, so they're in good shape on that score.

  • by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:57PM (#15985407)
    That's a familiar story - schools waste a lot of money on MS products around here because
    the one making the decisions either hasn't a clue there are alternatives, or because they don't WANT
    to look for them.

    I've worked briefly for one of many schools where the head of IT had seen the benefits, but simply
    didn't have enough experience to roll out Linux (or the other alternatives), and the school was wasting
    its budget (which they could have spent on keeping me employed there ;) on an expensive terminal
    server system that had all sorts of problems. For example, to install software for the students, the
    teachers had to go through a not-always-present admin at the company with the servers, THEN they
    had to set the permissions themselves. Security holes and instability was still a problem when I left.

    They would have loved to use something like Skolelinux, as it covered all their software needs, or
    could easily have some webservices written for what was missing. Unfortunately their contract was paid
    for, so they bloody well wanted to get the system working :P

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:17PM (#15985467)
    I am originally from Kerala..the mentality of the people there is quite unique from anywhere in India. Almost totally against all forms of monopolies. It may have done lot of harm to the economy, but Keral booted out CocaCola when it allegedly did not meet the stringent quality tests. BMW was also stopped from having a factory there over working conditions.
    The Govt was always receptive to Stallman - way back in 2001, I was the the capital and RMS had a seminar over there. He had put on a long robe and a CD around his head as halo and announced himself as prophet stallman - or to that effect, I dont remember.
    But the crux is people at Kerala are ready to put that extra effort needed for moving on to Linux
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:20PM (#15985474)
    Yes, I'm all for wiping out 3rd world debt, but I'm also for wiping out the economies that harm the U.S.

    You can't have both: wiping out 3rd world debt is inherently harmful to the US whose economic policy is based on the availability of poverty-wages around the world, which in turn are caused by the local economy being a mess. It's not alway's the US's fault that it is a mess - local corruption is a big player but on the other hand a lot of local corruption is supported by the US and US companies - but it is almost always in America's interest to keep poor countries poor.

    And, anyway, I would love to see all Indian call-centres closed down. Hell with it: I'd love to see call centres closed down everywhere. They exist mainly to further insulate the people in a company who make the real decisions from their customers and their reactions and difficulties with those decisions and make it hard to complain to anyone who can actually do anything about it.

  • Re:kerala (Score:5, Interesting)

    by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:24PM (#15985483) Homepage Journal
    You have a good point and I, too, hope that (a) this experiment works and (b) it's well documented, whether it succeeds or fails. If it succeeds, obviously, it's great ammunition for future debates. If it fails, then it'll be an excellent opportunity to evaluate the shortcomings and try to address them rationally.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:33PM (#15985521)
    I gather that they have looked at this carefuly but there are other reasons as well.

    From the article: "A sting operation by Microsoft in October 2005 had not endeared the proprietary software to PC and peripherals dealers."

    Remember a while back when Microsoft tried some strong arm tactics of threatening to audit schools who ran anything but Microsoft operating systems. Well.... Payback is a bitch ...

    Seriously though, they are switching because they see the value in FOSS and Microsoft gave then a good look at the dark side of corporate tactics.
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:27PM (#15985700) Homepage Journal

    You have to take all those factors into consideration. What's the best tool? Will that tool be viable 5 years down the road, after you have committed a lot of time and money into it, or will it turn out to be an expensive white elephant, and just keep costing and costing until such a time as supporting the tool with time and money costs more than getting your original job done? MS wants you to keep the tool as the most important part, forever and ever, and keep shoveling cash their way. FOSS encourages you to use the tools now, keep using them in the future, share what you learn about it, others share with you freely, and in the meantime maybe save a lot of your cash and time and use it for something else possibly more important than just keeping the tool supplier in yachts and benzs. FOSS lets you get on with life, staying stuck to the MS tool rental store means you are their property and cash cow in perpetuity. They like to bandy about TCO figures, but seems to me you can never determine what that realistically is if you get on an endless check writing treadmill to redmond.
  • Re:Responsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:08PM (#15986622) Journal
    Good point.
    After using Windows only since 3.1 days, last month I had to reinstall XP due to HDD failure.
    No problem, I have been good about back-ups, etc., so would just be an afternoon's task, right?
    Uhmm...I fell victim to that WGA crap this time around-kept telling me I had pirated software.
    My copies of XP Pro (all three of them) are legit retail versions- still have the sales slips.

    I have fought with MS many times in the past- I'm a gamer, and frequently format and reinstall the OS (on average about twice a year)to keep the PC running smooth - I've spent a lot of time learning how to set up a secure, but speedy XP setup so I can get good performance from my games.

    To make this short, I have had it with MS's draconian activation/verification schemes lately, and WGA was the last straw...went to the store, got a copy of "Linux For Dummies" with Fedora Core 5 (and other distros) on DVD, and installed FC5. (yes y'all can laough at me all you want, but it WORKED!)

    So now I have a tri-boot PC : Win 98se for my games and PlayStation emulator that won't run on XP, XP for my more modern games, and for when I'm not actively gaming, FC5.

    It did take a little more work to get full multimedia going on FC5, but by no means involved arcane/messy hacks (Google for "installing Linux on a dead badger"! LOL!), but now I can watch all of my DVD's, listen to my cd's and mp3's in 5.1 surround...all is good.

    My point is (agreeing with you) that I, a complete n00b had no trouble, even with multimedia setup in *nix. The only fly in the ointment is learning how to set/change permissions so I can mount all of my storage drives in FC5- they're all ntfs, and when I try to mount get "you don't have permission to do that" message, but I found the documentation to take care of that, so....

    I have found that Linux is a little different trying to do some things, but most are so similar that it's easy to figure out, actually easier to find out what is going in Linux than it is to find out what is going on in Windows!
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pirhana ( 577758 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:27AM (#15988140)
    As someone who pays tax in kerala , I have something to tell you. I want my tax money to be spent wisely. I dont want that to be spent on something which teach the students that is not free, open or even technically superior. I want that to be spent on something upon which students can learn further without any issues like license restriction, closed nature etc. I dont want him/her to be entrapped in any particular technology.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.