Friday, March 03, 2006

Levering FLOSS... a judge's view

Ramanraj K -- ramanraj.k at -- points to a recent talk by Honb'le Mr.Justice Yatindra Singh on Leveraging Open Source Software was delivered at 9th e-Governance held from February 2-4, 2006 at Kochi (Kerala) and which is available at

FSF-India's associate fellowships

Recently (some three weeks ago), the Free Software Foundation of India started offering Associate Fellowships to individuals and organisations. Details are here: In brief: you support FSF India, gain karma for promoting software freedom, and get some discount on FSF-I merchandise. But the main concern is promoting software freedom, of course! I should be putting my money where my blog is...(Thanks to Baishampayan Ghose for letting me know.)

FLOSS parallel database project...

Sharad Maloo, maloo at, is a Dual Degree (B.Tech. plus M.Tech.) student at IIT Bombay. Says he: "I will be working on the project titled Open Source Parallel Database. See details of this at this URL:

Maloo explains: "The project will try to build an open-source parallel database, by extending PostgreSQL using a Shared Nothing (SN) architecture. Parallel database is a paradigm where the database is distributed across multiple servers which have to communicate with each other in responding to user queries and in executing transactions. If multiple such servers are integrated into a single cluster of nodes such that the entire cluster offers a "single system" image to the number of clients connected to such a cluster, and if a single logical database is implemented on such a cluster with each node storing a predefined segment of database and a single query issued to this database is handled by breaking the same into multiple sub-queries issued to individual nodes, then we have a "parallel database system"."

RSS links... from India

What are techies and geeks in India saying about Free/Libre and Open Source Software? Take a look at...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This note to the GNU/Linux-driven Simputer mailing list comes from Bazil and from Victor Rocha who makes a series of key points. He says that currently it is not possible to download hardware specs from the Simputer site. The ".tar.gz" file is not available, he notes. Says Victor Rocha:
"I guess a wider spread of the specs, in a true "open-source" spirit, would encourage design-houses and contract-manufacturers around the world to join the Simputer effort, to some day achieve the intended 'critical mass'. I am particularly interested in studying the simputer as a basis for low-cost industrial PLCs, for use in developing countries like Brazil, where the cost of industrial automation is still prohibitive for small manufacturers.
Chris Glur earlier wrote reminded all about the issue of licences and the 'open hardware Simputer'. Glur said he had confirmed by newsgroups traffic [arm & embedded etc], that there are an increasing number of people who would like to do some arm hardware hacking/experimentation. Said Glur: "Apparently there are several boards available for this, but many would prefer to pay more and start from a running system. Like in the old-days when you wanted to develop/investigate some new pc-based hardware device, you would do so on your standard pc. With all the advantages of the running/proven system available for conventient I/O." "So also a version of the simputer: open box, with convenient external PSU connector[s] and 'extendable facilities' would be of great value to many and involve negligible additional development cost to the Simputer marketers," the earlier poster wrote. And:
Or do the existing I/O connectors suffice? Apparently not, if the developer wanted to eventually develop his own arm-based product, he wouldn't be comfortable with a 'black-box' simputer, because the conceptual distance to his intended product would be too great. For example, my prefered OS/lang is ETH-S3/Oberon and there's apparently an arm port, which I'd like to investigate. The handheld Sharp Zaurus started collecting a number of open-software contributions [these things take a few years to evolve] but now it's out of production. I still maintain that Simputer's failure to reach critical mass is caused by the Indian society/tradition failure to understand the dynamics of free/open contributor=based software or applications. is the new Drupal-based site of the Pondicherry Gnu/Linux Users Group, put up at the initiative of Ashish R (who incidentally has a Goa-link too). Ashish writes:
"Hey folks! This site is still under construction.... plz do bear with us. I have fixed a number of bugs and I am still working on it. Will keep all folks updated. Cheers!!!"
This story from INDIA TODAY, titled "Street Smart: Fine collection doubles to Rs 72 lakh as Simputers make traffic management hassle-free for cops" is about how policemen in Bangalore, South India, are using the GNU/Linux-based Simputer to tighten their fine-collection system. Sad but true: amidst all the Indian lack of official support, hardward challenges, and delay, the goal of the Simputer (of empowering the common citizen) is taking more time to become a reality (if it does). But meanwhile, the law of unintended consequences is getting into play. Google will tell you a lot about the Simputer's deployment in the military too.
Atul Chitnis : Wind of Change is a post from the Bangalore-based Open Source promoter. Atul drew my attention to the post on Feb 21, with a post saying:
"I recently updated my profile: View my profile. After more than 6 years at Exocore Consulting, the quest for new opportunities and challenges is upon me. You can read more about this here. Do let me know if you have something in mind that I would find interesting and challenging, and that would leverage my strengths and more than 20 years of industry experience...."
This wiki page currently has information about an event in South India. Quote: NIT Calicut, formerly known as REC Calicut is hosting a two day FOSS event on 18th [Saturday] and 19th [Sunday] of March 2006 (NITC FOSS Meet 2006). It is the second edition of the event [Last year it was called FLOSS Meet] ENDQUOTE.
Goa-Floss-Developer is an attempt to encourage and build coding skills and discussion in Goa. I'm grateful to young Fritz D'Souza of GoaCom for suggesting (a modified idea, which lead to this list).
This is a brief but useful blog entry about a recent Bangpipers meet in Bangalore. The group promotes programming in Python.