Monday, January 15, 2007

Flock, a great browser...

Flock is a great browser!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Free/Libre and Open Source Software contributors from India is a page to focus on who's contributing code in/from India to the world of FLOSS. Let's see how far it can go....

Warren Brian Noronha, GNUgeek

Warren wrote to me about the plans to have a Drupal coding fellowship programme in India. And BTW, we have launched a new blog called SouthAsiaICT4D. It came real following the idea and promptings of Reba Shahid, an ICT journalist in Karachi's SPIDER magazine about the internet.
Am just trying to build up this page on the helpful, to catalogue code contributions to the FLOSS world from India, and by Indians. We had a big discussion on the Project Resource Centre (PRC) list on about whether this is happening at all, in propotion to the sector here, and if not -- why! My hunch is that this field is simply invisible... but growing. We need to make it grow faster!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Warren, Drupal... and training

Warren Noronha, a geek (no relation), whom I met in Belgaum years ago and subsequently learnt was in Silicon Valley, recently wrote in about a Drupal Internship for India.

His note says:


With 75,000+ Drupal power websites and an emerging industry supporting over 150 professionals, the open-source [read: free software] Drupal project and community is exploding. At the heart of this community is an incredibly active and productive group of contributors. Creating contributed modules, themes, bug fixes, and core enhancement, these individuals define the course of the Drupal project and the ecosystem of users, tinkerers, and professionals around it. The type of candidate we are looking for: * Doesn't have to have a formal higher education in computer engineering * Doesn't have to be pursuing personal projects relevant to Drupal * Doesn't have to have job experience * Has to be a self starter * Has to be genuinely curious and interested in developing software * Has to have web application development experience * Has to be social and willing to provide support to others. Through this internship program we will attempt to train students from India the ins and outs of Drupal and help them established themselves as long term contributors to the Drupal project. Over two months the selected students will work closely with project mentors on real world Drupal projects; contributed modules, and core patches. They will learn the Drupal development process and gain extremely valuable experience interacting with a live open-source project. Students will be paid a stipend of 4,600 INR to 8,000 INR a month depending on the level of their contributions to the Drupal project. More Information: CLOSEQUOTE

Very interesting! Learn skills and get paid for it, eh! And above all, contribute to a socially-useful project. FN

Monday, April 10, 2006

Digit April 2006... and FLOSS

For a long time, I had this impression that DIGIT was too Windows-focussed. The April 2006 issue ( price Rs 125) was a welcome change.

Below are some details of what the issue contains. Go for it:

* Fast track to [GNU]Linux, a 178-page handy guide small-sized. Includes What is [GNU]Linux, getting GNU/Linux running, inside Linux, the X Windows system, tools and applications, multimedia and gaming, networking, distributions, system administration, resources. (My only regret is that page 178 lists just five user-groups in big cities -- Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Trivandrum... while completely overlooking smaller but active user-groups, Goa for instance.]

* On the CD: Gentoo 2006.0, AmaroK, Drupal 4.6.x, Damn Small Linux, Fluxbox, GNOME Sensors Applet. Also Byzantine OS, Puppy Linux 1.0.8r1, Epiphany, Evolution, Galeon 2.0.1, XFCE4, Ubuntu 5.10. Portable Firefox 1.5,

* Damn Small Linux has a nearly complete desktop, and many command line tools. All applications are chosen with the best balance of functionality, size and speed. Damn Small also has the ability to act as an SSH/FTP/HTTPD server right off of a live CD.

* Kplayer is the KDE media player based on MPlayer. With Kplayer you can easily play a wide variety of video and audio files and streams using a rich and friendly interface that follows KDE standards.

--------------------------------------------------------- Articles in the magazine... ---------------------------------------------------------

* Fandom of the Opera. (Not really Free Software, but comes with a version for GNU/Linux.) * Enjay Network Solutions offers solutions for ThinClients, supporting Win2K,2K3, Linux, fullscreen DOS and Citrix MetaFrame (ICA). * Digital Tools | Tips & Tricks covers (i) Damn Small Linux (ii) View HTML mail in Dillo * Set up an Internet Connection on DSL (iv) Keeping track of network traffic on GNU/Linux (v) MP3 in text mode, MP3Blaster. * Mix tracks using Audacity. One-page article. * Life in a USB nutshell."Portable applications are built for the sole purpose of being run off a USB stick -- no installation, no writing settings to anything other than its own folder, and best of all, nearly all of them are free." Talks a lot about, AbiWord, i.Scribe, Firefox, MPlayer, etc. * An article: "Is Piracy Good?" "Let's say Microsoft makes a Windows version that is un-crackable. Let's say it's Vista for this example. What happens then?... a lot of people start using Linux! Lindows, SuSE, Ubunut, you chooose..."

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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

FLOSS... and in-sourcing

An interesting perspective:

A case for Indian insourcing: Open Source interest in IT job expansion

by Casey O'Donell

Abstract The controversy surrounding the "off–shoring" of IT jobs from the United States to other countries, in particular to India, has become a focal point in American political discourse and has been widely represented in the media. Disturbingly, little attention has been paid to this occurrence beyond its implications for American employment opportunities. Representing Indian and American IT workers as unified groups whose interests are mutually exclusive and opposed to one another is problematic given the material realities that propel "outsourcing." Among the potential benefits of growing demand for, and supply of, skilled IT workers is increased participation in the Open Source Software (OSS) movement. Expanding global involvement offers a significant opportunity for developing countries to influence the direction, importance, and future of OSS.