REVIEW: An Indian newspaper-style newsletter dedicated to 'software freedom'
By Frederick Noronha
DEHRA DUN? Where's that?
If you're reading this somewhere outside India, you could perhaps not help
wondering where this place is. But Dehra Dun -- a city in the new Indian
province of Uttaranchal, not far from the Indian border with Nepal and China
-- is where the country's first GNU/Linux newspaper-type newsletter comes.
'Software Freedom' (http://www.Software-Freedom.Org) is an eight-page
tabloid. Its first issue has just been released, and editor-publisher Sharad
Kukreti (indiahills at vsnl dot com) was prompt in sending across a copy
Dehra Dun, literally meaning the camp in the valley, lies in a wooded valley
in the Shiwalik Hills. Tourists see it as a pleasant and relaxing stop on
the way to the hills, known for its mild climate and being a popular
retirement town in North India.
Priced at one rupee (approx two cents US... it might seem like an
unbelievable price abroad), the publication focuses on an interesting range
of news from the Free/Libre and Open Source Software world. One of its few
adverts announces Kalculate, an Indian product that claims to be the first
financial accounting solution for GNU/Linux in the Asia-Pacific.
Reports comie in from regions as remote and distant as Venezuela to Finland.
In a post-Internet world, this is no big surprise, of course. The news does
In fact some of this news came up on the Net quite some time back. But this
does not mean that there's no scope for a print-based publication. In
black-and-white, one tends to take it more seriously. Many of the articles
published here brought home their point much more clearly than when read
online. Having a print-based product also helps to share information in an
effective way, in ways which the Net cannot always achieve... despite its
There are updates from overseas (Preu Congressman Dr Edgar David Villaneuva
has become the "darling of the Open Source software community"; want to know
how to break Windows?; some quite-funny GNU/Linux humour... depending which
side of the Free/Proprietory fence you're on; etc).
But there are also interesting reports from India.
o In the IBM Linux Scholar Challenge, two Indians names figure among the
three internships at IBM for Summer 2002. The three who made it to the top
25 were Shreeram Jaswanth of IIIT (India), Muthukumar of PSG College of
Technology and Sachin Shah of GLS ICTech.
There's still time to register (uptil Oct 31) for this year's Linux Scholar
Register at http://www6.software.ibm.com/reg/urlxscww/urlxscww-sel
Contest info: http://www-3.ibm.com/software/info/students/contests/linux/
Complete rules at: http://www-3.ibm.com/software/info/students/pdfs/
o Ganesh Prasad, a self-defined "true capitalist" argues in favour of Open
Source. See http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/9749.html
o Ajith Kumar BP of New Delhi's Nuclear Science Centre puts forth his idea
for setting up affordable Linux Terminal Server solutions in schools. ks
o The Sir George Everest Research Society has launched FLOSS-related
activities, and claims to be among the first -- if not *the* first -- Indian
society to do so. It promises the "biggest bank" on open source and Free
Software, a wide range of e-books, e-journals and e-research papers. "The
society aims to share its collection so that a big community benefit," they
say. Email: research at soccer dot com
One interesting feature is about how top global firms realise the importance
of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (in whatever shape). Some big names
who have embraced include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, SAP, Computer
Associates, Sun Microsystems.
It was really nice to see big names of the Free Software and Open Source
world "stand together" against Microsoft's attempts to discredit this way of
creating software. In fact this was about the best read in the publication.
Perhaps one wonders why it didn't strike one as hard when seen on the
All in all, a useful product. Interesting work. Deserves support... FN
Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa * India 832.409490 / 409783
BYTESFORALL www.bytesforall.org * GNU-LINUX http://linuxinindia.pitas.com
Email fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Mobile +9822 122436 (Goa) * Saligao Goa India
Writing with a difference... on what makes *the* difference