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CopyLeft2002 GNU/GPL v2 OR LATER * ISSUE006 * SEPT 13, 2002
Co-edited by Frederick Noronha and Parag Mehta <pm at linuxindia dot org> *
In this issue
o Indian language solutions for GNU/Linux
o Want money to help you make Free Software? Here's some...
o Made-in-Delhi accounting software
o Gearing up for LinuxBangalore2002 (Dec 3-5, 2002)
o Development by Design conference in India
o Kids play around with GNU/Linux... and the results are...
o CDAC lab goes in for GNU/Linux... and lot's more.
THE PENGUIN'S MANTRA: Efforts are on to find Indian language solutions to
GNU/Linux in the subcontinent that matters.
Some call Indic and other South Asian scripts the final challenge to
computer vendors for full i18n support. It has taken its time in coming, the
challenges are not that simple, and successes have been few and far between.
Yet optimism is high now. Can this frontier be conquered early?
Technical challenges are certainly not few: the X rendering model is too
simple for Indic scripts (but an upcoming tutorial on the Indic Computing
site will have the nitty-gritty). Input for Indian languages is an open
issue. Most `keyboard solutions' available today for X are fragile and are
really more work-arounds than solutions.
Some say the principal problem is rendering conjuncts without proper
rendering engines and properly encoded fonts. Users want to type a sequence
of characters, and not concern themselves with the details of rendering.
This requires fonts with appropriate tables giving the possible character
sequences and the glyphs for rendering each, and an engine that knows to
read the tables.
What are the varied initiatives are currently on in various parts of the
country. What could be the proper strategic approach? Which issues should be
tackled first? See an article http://www.freelists.org/archives/linuxinindia
SMALL MEET AT BANGALORE: A small meeting on Indianisation of computing
(including GNU/Linux) is being organised at Bangalore on Sept 15-16. Contact
tap2k@xxxxxxxxx (Tapan Parikh) if you'd like to get into the loop and join
the campaign. This is a by-invite meet, but everyone is welcome to share
ideas in the ongoing search to find long-awaited solutions.
PERL MODULE FOR INDIAN LANGUAGE I/O: Thanks to M K Saravanan
<mksarav@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Perl module to handle Indian Language I/O
INDIC COMPUTING: If interested in these subjects, do join the
indic-computing mailing lists, and also the indlinux mailing lists. Often a
lot of discussion regarding indic localisation happens on these lists.
GPL (GENERAL PUBLIC LICENCE) IN MALAYALAM: An attempt to translate the GPL
into Malayalam. At present, the preamble is completed. From Mahesh T Pai.
TAMIL DESKTOP IN KDE9, BETA4: Vasudevan <vasu_a@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> of
ILUG-Chennai notes he has "successfully configured the Tamil desktop in
kde9beta4, with advice from Parbhu_Anand from cooker development, which we
struggled (with) at last Linux Expo unsucessfully."
FLOSS-SARAI INITIATIVE: No money in Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS)?
A new initiative might help to change that for some youngsters in India.
The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
(www.sarai.net) invites applications for Support Grants to projects in the
area of Free Software, Open Source Software and Social Usage of Software
Sarai invites programmers (practitioners as well as students) to propose
projects in the area of free and open source software applications relevant
to educational, social and community needs. We are looking for original
ideas, as well as proposals to localize and adapt existing software and
applications to South Asian conditions. For example - Desk-tops in Hindi,
Open Office and Gimp in Hindi. Lighter versions of desktops like KDE,
Innovations that creatively optimises older lower configuration machines,
Linux documentation in Hindi, games using local context, etc.
Conditions: Applicants should be resident in India, and should have a bank
account in any bank operating in India. These are support grants and
grantees will be free to pursue their primary occupations, if any.
Mail your project proposal, work-plan and CV to both the following addresses:
<application@xxxxxxxxx> with a copy to <fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>. Please mark
your subject-line 'FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) Initiative'.
Also point out what you see as the relevance of your work, and how you
plan to share the resultant software once finalised.
Enquires: dak@xxxxxxxxx Last date for submission: October 15th, 2002.
Note: Proposals from teams, partnerships, collectives, faculty are welcome,
so long as the grant amount is administered by a single individual, and the
funds are deposited in a single bank account in the name of an individual.
FREESPEECH.ORG, COMMUNITY SITE FOR LINUXERS: Himanshu
<himanshu_s@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> has something to announce: "I launched my new
site, http://www.thefreespeech.org which is basically a community web site
for Linuxers. Its main aim is "to initiate, collaborate and contribute" to
the linux cause. The site itself, is home to the ILUG-BOM's novel "Project
Resource Centre" idea, which will help ease the collaboration between
students undertaking linux projects and self appointed "mentors". I guess,
in the future it will also be home to dead projects, or very small
projects/scripts, which have not been (or are to small to be) hosted at
DEVELOPED-IN-DELHI ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE: Sudhir Gandotra
<sudhir@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> announces that they've recently launched 'Kalculate'
<www.kalculate.com>, a developed-in-Delhi software. It was worked on using
C, GTK and PostgreSQL on the GNU/Linux platform. It promises to be the
"first financial accounting package on GNU/Linux in India and the
Incidentally, the Indian 'IT' magazine in their September 2002 issue have
carried the standard version of 'Kalculate'. This can be used for
single-company accounting. The multi-company version, priced at Rs 10,000
(approx US$200), will be available to users of this version at Rs.3500 if
they register and place their order by 31 Oct 2002, under a special
promotion campaign, according to Gandotra.
Rajesh Kankaria <rk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> points out that he had also worked on an
accounting software developed on GNU/Linux around two years ago. But "due to
poor response I didn't pursue it further", says he.
GETTING FREE SOFTWARE BOOKS TO INDIA: Systems Research Institute executive
director Prof J G Krishnayya <jkrishnayya@xxxxxxxxx> of Pune, who
appreciates the worth of Free Software/Open Source, is keen to find ways of
re-printing and distributing Free Software books in India. Contact him if
you see any possibilities.
GEARING UP FOR LINUX-BANGALORE 2002: Bangalore GNU/Linux enthusiasts are to
hold LB2002, a major meet on December 3/4/5 2002, J.N.Tata Auditorium,
Bangalore, India. Last year's meet attracted a few thousand participants!
DEVELOPMENT BY DESIGN CONF IN BANGALORE: The Second International
"development by design" Conference will be held in Bangalore, India on
December 1-2, 2002. The paper submission deadline has been extended to
October 7, according to Leo Burd <leoburd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> of MIT Media Lab.
About dyd02: This conference seeks to establish critical dialogue towards
open collaboration in sustainable technology, design and development. We
invite diverse perspectives from academia, industry, nonprofit
organizations, and independent innovators. You can submit a full paper,
poster, video abstract or position paper online. Student projects will be
shown in a design exhibition at the conference.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN UNDER-PRIVILEGED kids lay their hands on GNU/Linux? See the
results at http://www.digitalequalizer.org/kids.htm
Daryl Martyris <dmartyris@xxxxxxxxxxx> argues that this experiment clearly
hints that that school-age children are able to effectively and quickly
learn to the basic uses of computers without any formal training. Not just
that, they also used GNU/Linux-based PCs.
INDIA'S SUPER-COMPUTING AGENCY GOES FOR GNU/LINUX (Reuters) : Aug 12 reports
say India's Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, which makes
supercomputers used for heavy-duty data processing, said it had decided to
use open source Linux software in a high-performance computing lab. The
Pune-based state agency, whose machines are used for advanced computing
functions in activities such as oil exploration and weather forecasting,
will use a Linux platform customised by International Business Machines.
"The selection of Linux public software and its deployment by C-DAC (the
centre) will provide a boost to the research activities of the scientific
community in India," C-DAC and IBM said in a joint statement. Founded in
1988, C-DAC is a state-run research and development firm which has built
four versions of its Param series of supercomputer machines. It also earns
revenue from selling Indian regional language software and by training
high-tech engineers. C-DAC's new laboratory will start operations in
Bangalore later this year, the statement said. "We are using Linux only for
a specific lab and have not yet decided whether to adopt it across all our
applications," R.K. Arora, C-DAC executive director, told Reuters.
GNOWLEDGE NETWORKING AND ORGANIZING SYSTEM, GNOWSYS: Dr. Nagarjuna G. works
in Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental
Research as a Reader. He works in the area of Science Education,
Metacognitive studies, History and Philosophy of Science, and is an advocate
of Free Software for Education and Research. Currently developing an expert
system for knowledge management called "GNOWSYS: Gnowledge Networking and
Organizing System" developed in Python and Zope. He is the coordinator of
the centre's portal site development project for science and mathematics
education. Contact Nagarjuna G. <nagarjun@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
FLOSS STUDY: From the ILUG-Chennai mailing list. Ravi Rao reports:
Free/Libre and Open Source Software ;; Survey and Study -- FLOSS ;; Final
Makes a very interesting read ... ;/
SIMPUTER, LOOKING FORWARD TO IT: More on the Simputer (the commonman's
computing device, driven by GNU/Linux) from huiswerk345@xxxxxxxxx, from Paul
Soetmulder, Encore Technologies (S) Pte Ltd :
Bad news: We only hand out limited number of SDK's (software developer kits)
at this point in time, to both customers and partners. We want to stay
focused on 100% success rate for all our customer projects, and we hope you
appreciate this approach. Our customers and partners do.
Some good news: Yes the project is moving "full steam" ahead and soon we
will surprise you with reference clients, available applications and other
news on a new dedicated website.
Some more good news: Yes many partners have already signed up to work with
us in developing solutions. Countries represented in our partner network
cover Japan, Asia, Australia, Africa, India, Europe and USA. We still have
some countries missing in each continent. Want to join this group of mobile
computing pioneers, its only one email away.
And more good news: Please note that all Encore Simputers production planned
for the months August/ September time-frame have been taken up. At this
moment we share to our best capability the units available among partners
and customers. Our partners and customers support this as we deliver the
solutions and benefits they need.
The best news for Partners: Also October orders exceed production levels,
although I have made reservations for "2 Encore Simputers" for next 100
pioneer partners" (in addition to 2 units for existing partners who have
placed their orders) for October 15th time-frame. First come first served.
Want to become pioneer partner, please email our CEO, Mr. Ravi Desiraju at
INSTALLING L.T.S: Baiju M <malayalamlinux@xxxxxxxxx> informs that more
details about installing LTS systems are available in GNU/Linux Utilities
for Education CDROM (GLUE CD). All necessary packages are available in that
CDROM. You can read the proposal by Ajith Kumar here:
It gives all details about hardware costs, advantages of LTS systems etc.
Says Baiju: "Now I am fully involved in Malayalam GNU/Linux Project. So
that you contact Free Software User Group Kozhikode members for more
details. (I CC'ed his mail to the group mailing list). You can get the
latest CDROM from Rajeesh (ph:0495 355415) If you asking the the CDROM for
installing in any school, FSUG will give it you without any cost. If you are
from TVM you can contact me (just drom me a mail). There is another FSUG
group at Kochi (I think Raghavendra Bhat, a member of that group has got
GNU/LINUX COUNTER: Eighteen million guestimated GNU/Linux users; how many
from India? Please fill in your details at http://counter.li.org/
If you know someone who could volunteer to push forward this counter in
regional Indian states, please contact harald@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with a cc marked
to rproton@xxxxxxxxxxx, pm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx and ghane@xxxxxxxxxxx
INTRODUCTORY COURSE: From Patrice Reimens <patrice@xxxxxxxxx>, a Dutch
friend and fan of India. Check the Open Source/Free Software introductory
course by Lisa Haskell for students. Very nice intro, full of useful
Says he: "Lisa is now doing http://tech2.southspace.org (programme, thin)
and http://tech2.southspace.net (diary, fat) in Lancaster."
DATABASE OF HACKERS: Tripta <tripta@xxxxxxxxx> from New Delhi points to
http://orbiten.org and says: "I am not sure whether you are aware of this
survey but does provide interesting perspectives. I am planning to conduct a
survey/research amongst the `hackers' involved in the movement to trace and
identify the pattern of the development of free software movement.... I was
wondering if you could send me the list of the `open source projects' being
conducted by individuals/groups/organizations...I am attempting to create a
database as mentioned earlier, identify the pattern and seek for avenues of
PROCURING CDs: Abhijeet More <abhijeetmore@xxxxxxxxx> suggests the
following sources for GNU/Linux CDs:
http://www.linuxplaza.org * http://www.indiainfotech.org
Navin Dhanuka <navin_dhanuka@xxxxxxxxx> says of IndiaInfoTech.org: "Dhiraj
Thakur & Sheetal Chopra are doing a great job by serving the free software
community with latest linux distros at affordable costs. I got Debian 3.0 at
just Rs 50 a CD. That's real cheap and affordable as student
Says Amol Hatwar <amolhatwar@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>: "I got the same at 30/- at
linuxplaza.org. And yes Prahant Shah does a good job too."
GETTING STARTED WITH GNU/LINUX: Some tips from: Trevor Warren
<trevorwarren@xxxxxxxxx> who says these are good places were to start
--> RH linux 7.2 Unleashed(Sams.net)
--> Linux in 24 Hrs (Sams.net)
--> www.tldp.org (Dos-Windoze-howto...to start with, the rest u can figure
out what u can read up and what interests you. I havent seen any classes in
Bombay that are worth it. Just stick to the books/sites and ask us when you
screw up with anything.)
Trevor Warren is an active member of the Mumbai (Bombay) LUG.
MAIL FROM AUROVILLE: From just next to India's own Little France, on the
east coast, the place known as Auroville someone <netadmin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
writes in to say: "Can some one suggest an easy to use web interface that
can be installed on a Linux mail server for web based mail access?? I live
in Auroville, near Pondicherry and we have been running Redhat 6.2 set up by
a Nexus guy with more than 800 mail boxes. There is IMP (for web based mail
access) and sendmail doing the job. We wish to be independent and need some
help in this regards. Any tips on SMTP authentication is welcome. Auroville
is an interesting place to visit and maybe help us with our Linux setup.
Adequate compensation is part of the deal :-) please respond, thanks."
MEA CULPA: Mita <mita@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> from Auroville has drawn our notice
to some errors in three paragraphs of the last issue of this ezine
(LinuxInIndia#5). Unlike mentioned earlier, Mukund does not live at
Auroville, but in London, and only visited Av during his studies at
Pondicherry University. He did not work for Ximian, Inc, and hasn't worked
on gtkhtml or gimp. There were other inaccuracies in the description of
Mukund and Karthik Ram (an ecologist, but not connected with GNU/Linux). We
apologise sincerely for any misunderstandings created. -FN
COMPUTER EDUCATION IN KERALA, GOING WHICH WAY?: Ajith Kumar
<ajith@xxxxxxxxxxxx> is disappointed with what's happening on the education
front in Kerala. He comments: "Visit the site
http://www.keralaeducation.org/itschool/project.htm and find out how the IT
(schools project) has been sold of to contractors." Check out his
"In order to implement the project government certainly need to set some
guidelines regarding the objectives and quality of the program. This could
have been done simply by drafting a proper syllabus and insist on covering
that syllabus and also specifying the number of hours each student get for
theory and practicals. But what has been done is allowing few private
agencies to exploit the poor students and paving way to waste precious
foreign exchange by promoting the products of a Multinational Corporation."
Write to Ajith for a full-text of his proposal...
COST-EFFECTIVE SYSTEM USING GNU/LINUX: Ajith goes on to note that GNU/Linux
also has software to reduce the hardware cost by using diskless PCs.
Hardware cost of setting up a 10 terminal system is less than Rs 200,000
(US$4000) and each additional PC costs around Rs.14,000. The government, he
argues, should help the schools to mobilize the initial investment to
acquire this setup and in th long run every school will have a good computer
lab. If it cannot do that, it should not become a burden to schools by
forcing them to depend on a few selected agencies. By seeing the guidelines
it is clear that the motive behind selecting few agencies is not ensuring
quality but to open up another area for corruption.
ON AN Ipaq: Trevor Warren <trevorwarren@xxxxxxxxx> has loaded GNU/Linux on
an Ipaq h3850. Says he: "As of now, my research areas are localisation of
GNU/Linux on these personal access devices." See http://mlasia.mine.nu/ipaq/
SEE PICTURES IN CONSOLE MODE (FRAME MODE): Blinston (aka Asterix Baron)
who's email address echoes that Shakespearean dilemma <b2ornot2b@xxxxxxxxx>
has written a small program called cjpg which allows you to view JPEG files
whilst in the console mode (frame buffer). Says he: "If anyone can help me
out by testing this program on various graphics cards and different modes to
iron out all bugs ... well it worked on my SiS530 with all the modes i could
PYTHON FOR SCHOOLKIDS: Says Raju Mathur <raju@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>: Been
thinking about learning/teaching programming for school-goers and Python
seems to be more of the right choice than ever. It's clean, well-supported
under both Linux and Windows, object-oriented and has a fairly large set of
libraries for basic functionality available. Now if only they'd fix the
syntax of the damn language I may even start using it myself ;-)
Anyhow, I don't know if you're aware of the wxWindows project? It's a
C++ graphical library which runs under multiple platforms (Windows,
Linux, Unix, etc) and, here's the beauty, provides a consistent
interface to the native windowing systems of the platform that it runs
on. So a wxWindows program running on Windows would use the native
Windows toolkit while one running on Linux would use, e.g. GTK+ (the
Gnome toolkit). Apps written in wxWindows thus have the look and feel
of the platform they're running on...."
NOTES FROM THE REST OF ASIA: Thanks to Bala Pillai <bala@xxxxxxxxx> for this
input: "The most interactive open source/Linux community in our time
zone/Asia springs out of the Philippines. Primarily because the Filipino
psyche is a more secure psyche, a more self-confident pyche. Folks who are
self-confident worry about the future less, and allocate more time
diagnosing and solving problems rather than echoing and reechoing it.
Filipinos are also more into sharing and online sharing - we should look to
more symbiosis with them. Manila-based Miguel Paraz whom I have interacted
with since 1996, is a key catalyst in the Filipino Linux community.
http://www.q-linux.com is a good starting point to get a feel for the key
Open Source catalysts in the Philippines.
KL,Malaysia-based Dinesh who runs http://www.alphaque.com is another lead
Open Source catalyst in our timezone. Do look for symbiosis opportunities
FROM THE DEVELOPERiq: Some updates from the August 2002 issue of
DeveloperIQ, an Indian software magazine published from Bangalore.
LINUXmag section has a special article on how to compile your own Linux
kernel, by Philip de Groot. On the CD: Corel Photo-Paint 9 for Linux.
Special DeveloperIQ Linux applications collection CDs:
RedHat 7.2, 2 CDs Rs 299
RedHat 7.3, 5 CDs Rs 699
Caldera OpenLinux - Workstation 3.1.1, 2 CDs Rs 199
Caldera OpenLinux - Server 3.1.1., 2 CDs Rs 199
Mandrake 8.2, 3 CDs Rs 499 with support Rs 999
Debian 2.2, 3 CDs Rs 499 or with support Rs 999
(support for 30 days or 30 e-mails, whichever earlier)
LINUX MAG INDIA-on-CD: 18 Cs in a year. Rs 1499. Get a whole lot of Linux
apps and the latest updates. Log on to www.linuxmagindia.com for full
details. Five CD starter kit contains RedHat 7.2, Openoffice 1.0, Galeon
1.2.1, KDE 3.0, Mozilla Internet suite 1.0rc2, Netscape 6.2.1, Acrobat
reader 4.05, Gimp 1.2.3, Ximian Gnome 1.4, Kmail 18.104.22.168, gqmpeg 0.12.0,
Etherape 0.8.2, Kyahoo 0.7, Image 0.1.9, Qcad 1.4.7, Blender 2.12, Cross
Artist 1.1, sfront 0.7 and more Development tools: j2re1.4.0, j2sdk1.4.0,
j2sdk1.4.0Forte, Redhat 7.2 manuals: installation guide, getting started
guide, customization guide, reference guide, release notes, MySQL 3.23 a
Redhat RPM, server (i386), Behcnmark/test suites, client program, libraries
and header file for development, client shared libraries, binary package,
Glade, Anjuta 0.1.7, clip 0.93, DDD 3.3.1, DejaGNU 1.4.2, gIDE 0.3.5, GNU
Debugger 5.0, gnome debut 0.1.5, jDBA 0.7, KDE SDK 2.2.1, Open DAP 2.0.19,
pyut 1.0, Libtool 1.4.2 and more ENTERTAINMENT: Half-life Opposing Force
Server, Trophy 1.0.1, Tux Racer 0.61, Mojoworld Transporter 1.02, Search and
Resume Game, Q3Text (Linux)1.07, Armagetron, abuse-SDL0.6.0, Vega Strike
0.2.0-14, 4st Attack Version, SDL_Paradroid, EasySok Version: 0.3.0.,
FreeDroid 0.7.0, Decopter Version 0.2.3, Penguin Command Version, gf
passthru Version; 0.0.1-alpha, Iter Vehemens Ad Necem Version 0.311,
Operation Blacksun 2 Version.
Send your comments and feedback to ramdas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Editor Ramdas)
UPDATES FROM i.t. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: It calls itself "the magazine for
techies and those who want to be"):
* Simputer team gets first Dewang Mehta award. ("The [GNU/Linux-based]
Simputer places computing power in the hands of the masses. It has a wide
range of applications such as microbanking, data collection, Internet
access, agricultural information, the school laboratory, the kiosk Simputer,
smart card, general purpose citizen's ID card, driving licence, land
records, income tax records, passport, bank pass-book and digital cash.")
* Included on this CD: ComunigatePRO (scalable, standards-compliant and
feature-rich Internet mailing server), Kalculate (complete Indian accounting
package for GNU/Linux users), MySQL-Front 1.16, etc.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO VOLUNTEER TO PROMOTE THIS LETTER? WRITE IN AND TELL US
WHAT IDEAS YOU HAVE IN MIND. CONTACT fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
It is not possible to verify all claims made by our informants above. We
have attributed statements, as far as possible, to ensure that readers can
cross-check details. Please verify software and other claims independently.
* FOOTNOTE: Frederick Noronha <fred at bytesforall dot org> is a Goa-based
freelance journalist, who writes on IT-for-development and GNU/Linux themes
regularly, and is cofounder of BytesForAll <www.bytesforall.org>. In
the past year, he worked on a print media fellowship to study India's
contribution to GNU/Linux, from www.sarai.net (Sarai-New Delhi) Parag
Mehta <pm at linuxindia dot org> is webmaster for Linux India, listadmin for
Ilug-bom, Country Manager of India for Linux Counters (do get counted as a
GNU/Linux user!). Visit his personal site at: http://pmehta.org