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Public Software Bulletin, April 2010

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Public Software for the Public Sector

Public Software News April 2010
NOTE: We have changed the name of the bulletin from FOSS to Public Software to reinforce the 'public good' nature of software developed for public service and the responsibility on governments to enable universal access and participation in its creation and use.
IN THIS ISSUE:

Advocacy:
Public Software workshop: new resources available
Free Software Movement in India
Kannada version of GNU/Linux Operating System

Education:
Students' competition on creative use of free software
"Free Digital Libraries" in Kerala's schools

Within the government:
Proprietary versus open source standards

Testimonials - I adopted Public Software:
Bindu Thirumalai
Rosy D'Souza

ADVOCACY

Public Software Workshops: new resources available - Two Public Software workshops organised in Bangalore and Jaipur have provided new resources on public software and its imperative for the public sector. The material is available at the Public Software Website.

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Free Software Movement in India - Delegates of the National Free Software Conference, hosted by the Free Software Movement of Karnataka(FSMK) on 20-21 March 2010, in Bangalore, announced the formation of the National Free Software Movement of India. Read More

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Kannada version of GNU/Linux Operating System - “Namma Debian” is the name of the Kannada version of GNU/Linux Operating System released during a cultural event on 14 March, 2010 in Bangalore at the Ambedkar Community Computing Centre or AC3, based in a community of slum dwellers. Read More

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EDUCATION

Students' competition on creative use of free software - An innovative way to learn and teach free software involved 169 students from public schools in Kerala, who participated in a festival organised by IT@School Project, government of Kerala and the Technopark, in January 2010. Read More

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"Free Digital Libraries" in Kerala's schools - Under the “ICT in School Scheme”, 4,071 schools in Kerala will be provided hardware equipment. Schools will get absolute freedom to copy, modify and re-distribute the content among teachers, students and general public. Schools can also  download content using the broadband facility available in libraries. Read More

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WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT:
Proprietary versus Open Source standards - Under the National e-Governance  Plan (NeGP) that supports the growth of e-governance within the country, the Government of India is promoting the usage of open standards to avoid any technology lock-ins. Click here to see the government's Notification on Open Font Standard for Indian Languages.
On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintains on its website a links to a proprietary format list with all NEFT-enabled bank branches in India. The same data, which is 16 MB, would be easily downloadable if it was available in an open source software format.


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TESTIMONIALS - I ADOPTED PUBLIC SOFTWARE:

BinduBindu Thirumalai - "From about a month I have been using Ubuntu and have had little problems with it. I also like the fact that if I do have problems I can share it and either find my own solution or get one from someone. I have been reading about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) since then. Using proprietary software in a public institution is like forcing people to buy bottled water. It's also like patenting Basmati Rice! FOSS is made by  people for people and there is no better place than public institutions to first use, then modify and eventually join in the creation of newer software." Read More

Bindu Thirumalai, Student - TISS (MA Elementary Education Programme), Worked last with a Bangalore-based NGO Makkala Jagriti.
 

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Rosy D'Souza - "The breakaway faction of the Cybergods have come to position themselves as the harbingers of Opensource, where milk and honey flows for free. What am I a poor mortal to do here? Hitherto I had no power to create and continued to play with the small tool they had left at my disposal. Now the gods of the open kingdom tell me, take this cornucopia and you have the power to use it the way you want it! How enticing! How unnerving too? I have come  to accept responsibility of a world that I have come to inhabit. My playmates around go on... some delighted, some in their gay abandon, some trudge along, the play goes on..."

Rosy D'Souza, Senior Project Associate, C-LAMPS
 

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