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Indian State Encourages Microsoft Removal

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the another-12,500-bites-the-dust dept.

298

cultrhetor writes "The New York Times reports that the communist government in the Indian state of Kerala is trying to remove Microsoft from its public institutions, as part of a campaign against monopolistic corporations. From the article: 'schools and public offices across the state are being encouraged to install free software systems instead of purchasing Microsoft's Windows programs. "It is well-known that Microsoft wants to have a monopoly in the field of computer technology. Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software," M. A. Baby, the state's education minister, said by telephone.' The government is not banning Microsoft, but it is actively encouraging all 12,500 public schools in the state to install Linux."

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Boo (-1, Troll)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005508)

Kerala is a communist state - they like to tell their citizens what products they can and cannot use (like the recent ridiculous coke and pepsi ban.) This is nothing to be proud of.

Re:Boo (5, Insightful)

brpr (826904) | about 8 years ago | (#16005542)

Except that they're not actually banning the use of Microsoft software, just encouraging public institutions not to use it. That's not anything like forcing private citizens to use one or other bit of software.

Re:Boo (1)

taskforce (866056) | about 8 years ago | (#16005560)

And Capitalist states never tell their citizens what products they can and can't use? When was the last time you saw MJ being legitimately sold?

Re:Boo (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 8 years ago | (#16005599)

Jordan or Jackson?

Re:Boo (5, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | about 8 years ago | (#16005582)

Kerala is ruled by an ELECTED communist government within an overall governmental framework that is not communist. Private enterprise is alive and well in Kerala. Kerala also has the highest literacy rate in India (95%) and a lot of technically skilled people.

Re:Boo (0, Troll)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005638)

You and about 10 other people missed the point of my post. I don't care if they are elected, that has nothing to do with anything.

Explain why they *banned* coke and pepsi... Most of the other indian states simply stopped serving it in their schools. Kerala banned it. They are anti-western business. They are communists.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005682)

> Explain why they *banned* coke and pepsi...

Because it is bad for you ?

Re:Boo (3, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | about 8 years ago | (#16005686)

And you've missed the point. It isn't just that they are elected, it is also that the overall framework is not communist, so even a government dominated by communists cannot impose a truly communist state. Private property and private enterprise exist in Kerala, which they would not in a communist system, and the state government does not control the economy the way it would in a communist system.

Even if the reason for the ban on Coke and Pepsi is hostility to large, multinational corporations, that doesn't make Kerala communist. There are lots of Greens, for example, who are certainly not communist, who are hostile to such corporations. There are also other possible reasons for the ban. One is that if they think that the levels of toxic chemicals in Coke and Pepsi products are too high, it makes sense to ban sales entirely, not just in schools. Even if adults aren't at risk (and they may think they are), kids drink soft drinks outside of school.

Re:Boo (-1, Offtopic)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005704)

Kerala is run by communists. A communist state can have free elections (which is why I am convinced you missed my original point). They are hostile towards big business and have communist ideals. I am arguing that is the ONLY reason why they are doing what they are doing. Now can we please stop arguing this off topic shit? If you don't want to actually discuss something relevant don't bother replying.

Re:Boo (2, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | about 8 years ago | (#16005691)

Kerala banned it. They are anti-western business. They are communists.

So what? Who cares? If they're real communists then that's probably good (but hopelessly idealistic, like real capitalists). If they're just Stalinists then that's bad. But banning a couple of products because of a health scare doesn't seem particularly tyrannical to me.

Re:Boo (1)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005718)

It matters a lot. It matters because of the reasons why they banned it. It matters because the outside world sees the way they treat foreign investment, and treats them accordingly. It matters to me because as an Indian I don't see my country becoming more wealthy because of the anti-west ideals emanating it.

And banning microsoft was not a health scare. In fact, I don't think banning Coke was either (that is debatable).

Re:Boo (5, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | about 8 years ago | (#16005945)

And banning microsoft was not a health scare.

Well, they didn't ban Microsoft, and if they did they'd only be making a prudent decision anyway. Microsoft has held back computing in the West for 20 years; why let it hold India back too? Plus, of course, Microsoft embody the anti-capitalist bogyman far better than some communist local government. Capitalism only works when government intervenes to prevent monopolies growing to the point where they can control the market. Once that point is reached capitalism breaks down, which is what all western companies want. The perfect situation for a western company is to have no competition and customers who have to pay whatever you tell them to. Enron in California is the ultimate example of the perfect western company from the point of view of the owners.

Microsoft would dearly like to be in the same situation as Enron was before it got busted; does your desire to sell your country to the West really go so far as to want that?

I think you have a very distorted view of exactly how business in the West works and, more importantly, how western businesses view your country. You are a market to be milked, nothing more. The companies involved will happily collude to screw you and your countrymen to the wall. If it means a few Bhopals or the total loss of control of the power generation system, or the sale of all your fresh water to factories resulting in famine in rual areas, then they care not a jot.

I know this because I live in the west and they have done these things here. Now most of them are illegal, so they are off to suck you dry before you get wise. A few million dollars in bribes to officials can save them billions off their bottom line, so they will do it. Once they own the government, you'll be praying for communists or anyone else to do something about it. Come to Britain and see what it's like to have a government totally controlled by big business. Fraud and corruption are rife while education, health, housing, and employment are collapsing around us and the electorate can do nothing about it because of the gerrymandering that keeps a party with a third of the vote in absolute power with a vast majority in parliament.

Or go to America, where the entire cabinet is made up of unelected oil company directors. Literally tens of thousands of people have died, and more die every day, because these represetatives of western business that you are so worried about upsetting are pursuing their business agendas using tanks and missiles. They are also supporting Pakistan's development of WMD which may one day be used on you. They are doing these things not because they hate you but because it makes them money. Lots of money. Nothing else matters.

As for you, to them you are just cheap labour. By undermining the employment market in their home countries, western businesses can use you to increase the gap in wages between the people who produce their products and the massive salaries they award themselves. As long as you depend on the West to build your economy instead of using your own resources you will never be anything more than a well-dressed slave.

India has natural resources, plenty of people, and a tradition of education and technical skill that a country like America can only dream of. What the hell do you need us for? Get yourself some self-respect and make your own software, your own computers, your own soft drinks; your own future.

Re:Boo (4, Insightful)

rsidd (6328) | about 8 years ago | (#16005693)

Explain why they *banned* coke and pepsi...

Uh, because they contain harmful and dangerous pesticides?

Now explain why the democratic, free-market US not only bans marijuana (which has never been shown to be harmful or addictive), but even bans forms of hemp that do not contain [nytimes.com] the hallucinogenic substance (THC) in marijuana.

Re:Boo (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#16005868)

which has never been shown to be harmful or addictive

On the contrary, there have been a good many studies that have shown just that; the problem is that there have also been a lot of studies that have shown the opposite. About the best you can say is that the jury is still out on the matter.

Re:Boo (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 8 years ago | (#16005934)

About the best you can say is that the jury is still out on the matter.

Perhaps, but in that case why the fuck is non-thc-rich HEMP illegal? It doesn't have any health issues.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005723)

Coke and Pepsi were banned because the an NGO showed that it had unacceptable level of pesticides in it.
This has been disputed by Coke and Pepsi.

There is also another ongoing fight in Kerala against a Coke bottling plant which was accused of contaminating the ground water.

The ruling party is leftist, and contains some anti-Globalisation and anti-MNC "intellectuals", but the ban was certainly due to pesticide levels.

Re:Boo (2, Funny)

Russellkhan (570824) | about 8 years ago | (#16005735)

Explain why they *banned* coke and pepsi...


Because they're filhy communists who hate business and don't think pesticides belong in drinks [ibnlive.com] .

Re:Boo (2, Interesting)

Ekimus (827689) | about 8 years ago | (#16005883)

And exactly why is being a communist bad?

It is just another idea that tries to create a perfect world.

Aside from that it is not a good idea to ban any product. This will just lead faster to more idiots.

About being anti-western, in my point of view being anti-western is actually a good thing although I do live in a western country, but when I look at what the western world does to the non-western countries it seems to me we are way off track by trying to

a) tell other people what's good and what's not good (tell as in force them to...)
b) not trying to understand that there are other cultures that simply don't work in the same way

Re:Boo (3, Insightful)

MainframeKiller (105858) | about 8 years ago | (#16005690)

Kerala is ruled by an ELECTED communist government within an overall governmental framework that is not communist.

Why call it communism when it is clearly social-democracy?


Re:Boo (1)

ArwynH (883499) | about 8 years ago | (#16005862)

Why call it communism when it is clearly social-democracy?

Because calling themselves 'communist' generates more publicity? Just look at the number of extra posts under this topic that are due to the word 'communist' being in the description. :)

Re:Boo (5, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | about 8 years ago | (#16005811)

From TFA, "The news will further unsettle foreign investors in this state."

Interpretation, spin!

Here is a more balanced and fact-based treatment : http://www.financialexpress.com/latest_full_story. php?content_id=138497 [financialexpress.com]

The New York times seems to be trying to stir up "Fear, Anxiety and doubt". The government is not "Communist" but democratic socialist, like the UK's ruling party and much of the EU, Latin America and many other places.

In Kerala, they are replacing one western Operating System (illegal copies of Windows), with another western operating system (legal licences of Linux). After Microsoft went there and demanded lots of money for no source code and no local language support from their dialect, and Richard Stallman went there and offered full source code and a free system that had already been translated into their local dialect.

Why this should panic investors? Cola is after all very bad for you, why should Indians have to become clones of us fat, sugar-high westerners?

Kerala has done very well without help from the western elites and will carry on doing so. FUD or no FUD.

Re:Boo (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16005859)

Private enterprise is alive and well in Kerala. Kerala also has the highest literacy rate in India (95%) and a lot of technically skilled people.

Oh, that's it buddy!
We'll be jumping in our Stealths and "freeing" every single citizen of Kerala starting tommorow!

And remembers kids: literacy is good, but in moderation.

Re:Boo (1)

Javaman59 (524434) | about 8 years ago | (#16005916)

I'd rather be killed by a nice boy like you, than an islamo-fascist any day.

And remember, freedom is good, unless you exercise it.

Re:Boo (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16005935)

I'd rather be killed by a nice boy like you, than an islamo-fascist any day.

That's how we differ. I'd rather not be killed at all.

Re:Boo (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | about 8 years ago | (#16005591)

Even non-communist states set policies for the software they buy. They're not stopping businesses from doing so.

Re:Boo (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 8 years ago | (#16005595)

like the recent ridiculous coke and pepsi ban.

You're kidding - coke & pepsi were found (by a private lab) to have contained a pesticide called malathion [iol.co.za] .

Is it really communism to want pesticides out of foods?

Re:Boo (1, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005650)

Actually, Coke and Pepsi showed that research to be flawed, and as I understand it linked it to the water. Kerala banned it because they are anti-corporation - especially from the West. Behavior like that is only keeping foreign investment out of India.

It is communist to be anti-corporation, especially the way Kerala has done it.

Re:Boo (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#16005660)

Actually, Coke and Pepsi showed that research to be flawed
First place you go when you hear something bad about a company - the company. Hmmm....

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005947)

According to a man I saw kill a store clerk in a robbery yesterday, he didn't in fact kill a store clerk or rob said store yesterday.

Hey, good enough for me!

Re:Boo (5, Interesting)

boater rich (934971) | about 8 years ago | (#16005705)

Coke and Pepsi in the US and WEST won't contain the pesticides. The issue was the use of pesticide contaminated water in the LOCAL manufacturing plants... hence the ban. Rich

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005651)

You're kidding - coke & pepsi were found (by a private lab) to have contained a pesticide called malathion.

For them both to have this pesticide seems a strange coincidence.

I'd assume that the tests are correct, and that Coke and Pepsi don't share the same bottling plants. This means that the pesticide is probably present in the drinking water of the area due to contamination.

Re:Boo (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#16005596)

Oppression is bad only if you dislike what it stands for, I guess. I fail to see how asking people to use free software does anything negative. Except cost M$ some money. Look on the bright side, most of them were probably pirated copies.... less piracy by few users!

Re:Boo (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 8 years ago | (#16005716)

What gives MS the right to maintain market share and consequently leech money out of india.
It makes absoloutely no sense for the indian government to use software sold by a foreign corporation when a local company can provide and support an open source based solution. Any profit that local company makes, will ultimately be taxed by the government, as will their staff, so a chunk of the money the government spends comes right back to them. Plus it helps keep jobs locally, and any improvements they make can also be used by other government departments without additional cost to them.
It makes absoloutely no sense for the indian government to keep giving huge amounts of money to a foreign corporation, when there's a local alternative. Infact, not using the local alternative is pretty irresponsible and harmfull to the local economy.

Re:Boo (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005856)

Yes. Kerala particularly (and sadly) has a problem with over-education of the population compared to the number of skilled jobs. Their education system is exceptional, but often people can't find relevant employment afterwards.

I met a fisherman on the Keralan coastline, fishing with the villagers using a technique 1000s of years old. He had a degree and masters in informatics, could develop in Java and others, and spoke four languages. OSS is an amazing solution here. The government can soak up some of the highly skilled people and kick start an industry, rather than just hand all their cash overseas. In the western world, time is expensive, so it is often preferable to buy in software rather than put in development effort. In india, the dividing line is moved much further across. Skilled labour is comparatively much cheaper, so a wider range of tasks are suitable to be done in house.

Re:Boo (1)

Javaman59 (524434) | about 8 years ago | (#16005941)

Thanks. Excellent info and insight. As someone who, in general, favours MS in these arguments, I can see the MS vs FOSS economic balance changing in a place like Keralan, as you've explained so succintly.

Re:Boo (3, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#16005597)

The US is a fascist state - they like to tell people what they can and cannot do [copyright.gov] . That's nothing to be proud of.

Re:Boo (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | about 8 years ago | (#16005657)

I know that DMCA-bashing and, lately, US-bashing are popular ways to get modded up, but this post is rather pathetic.

If "they like to tell people what they can and cannot do" is your definition of a fascist state, I can not think of any state that is not fascist. Developing rules by which the residents of a country all agree to live is one of the fundamental purposes of government.

Re:Boo (1)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#16005712)

I was trying to word the post along the lines of the top-level post to point out how ridiculous it is to say "Kerala is a communist state - they like to tell their citizens what products they can and cannot use".

Re:Boo (4, Insightful)

shreevatsa (845645) | about 8 years ago | (#16005605)

No, it's not a "communist state". It's a state in India (with the same constitution and political system as the rest) whose democratically elected coalition government is led by a party called the "Communist Party of India (Marxist)". Look it up (say here [wikipedia.org] ) if you like.
The ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi came after an NGO reported dangerously high levels of pesticide [bbc.co.uk] in them, although it is possible that there were other [rediff.com] reasons [countercurrents.org] .

Re:Boo (0, Troll)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005687)

A. That makes it a communist state. It is a state, run by communists. Are we really going to argue over the wording of all this? Even the article summary calls them communist.
B. Coke and Pepsi have shown the original pesticide study to be flawed (this is not surprising, because it was run by an interest group that has repeatedly shown itself to have an anti-west slant). Indians have a tendency to be VERY anti-west (I know this I am Indian), and my main point was this anti-microsoft action is an example of that. Kerala is especially bad at this, and this can directly be linked to the communist thing. It is sad, it is keeping foreign investment out of India. China, a communist country, has been more west-friendly than the world largest "democracy."

I am tired of the moderation system on slashdot. My original post had some valid points, but I am a "troll" because I dared disagree with an anti-microsoft action. I was then inundated with 10 less-than-insightful comments that all said the same basic thing, either missed my point or the point in general, and then half those posts were modded up... Whatever.

Re:Boo (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 8 years ago | (#16005713)

No, the reason you are being modded down is probably that you don't know what a communist state is. What the rest of us mean is a state that operates under a communist political and economic system. That means state ownership of all property, state control of the economy, and dictatorship of the proletariat. That is very different from the situation in Kerala where at both the state and national level the overal economic and political system is non-communist. The fact that Kerala is controlled by a coalition whose leading party is the Communist Party does not give Kerala a communist economy or political system.

If you want to complain about the policies of the Communist-led government Kerala, feel free, but don't confuse the system in Kerala with communism, and don't complain when the rest of us are not impressed with your confusion.

Re:Boo (0, Flamebait)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005743)

So many things wrong wiht your post (and I'm pretty sure your reasons have nothing to do with why I was modded down).

People call China communist, but under your definition it is not. People call the US a democracy but it is not. Communism does not have to be under a dictatorship. Please don't tell me you were a polisci major.

"The fact that Kerala is controlled by a coalition whose leading party is the Communist Party does not give Kerala a communist economy or political system."

I called them communist because they are run by the communist party. That is all. Even the article summary called them communist. It is pretty accepted to call Kerala communist.

Re:Boo (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16005617)

like the recent ridiculous coke and pepsi ban

It's so much better when a nation has the right to be sick and obese.

Rights are important. But when you get a heart attack at 35, priorities quickly change.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005801)

Yes, people should have the right to make wrong choices.

Re:Boo (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16005839)

Yes, people should have the right to make wrong choices.

What if they are lured and enticed to make those wrong choices?

It's one thing for coke to be sold and it has in big letters "don't drink a bottle of this every day or kiss your health goodbye" like is done (more or less) with cigarrettes.

It's another if you're constantly flooded with ads that represent pepsi as the equivalent "of being cool".

Plus I somehow doubt your own country allows you to make the wrong choice of snorting heroin.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005902)

I don't like colas, but I respect the right of others to drink. It's Your health and You can do whatever you want with it. Actually I detect racist overtones here "dirty savages can't make the choice themeselves", while if say Utah was to institute such a ban, everyone would be expressing outrage over that someone is going around deciding what's good for us.

BTW ironically the Soviets always rabidly hated coca cola

Re:Boo (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | about 8 years ago | (#16005907)

The irony, in that particular case, was that the market was already sorting it out: per capita consumption of soft-drinks in India have been among the lowest in the world.

Now, it's a fair question to ask how all that near-ubiquitous cricket advertising (which, as many will tell you, is the real growth industry in India) will change, now that Pepsi and Coke are being hounded out, but something tells me that BCCI officials aren't about to lose their sleep over this.

So this is how communism ends... (1)

jesterpilot (906386) | about 8 years ago | (#16005625)

...in being the only force defending the free market against monopolisation. Just like in Europe, with the software patents.

Re:Boo (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 years ago | (#16005698)

"Kerala is a communist state - they like to tell their citizens what products they can and cannot use"

Are you suggesting the drug war is over and the bong heads won, or did you forget about prohibition?

In true /. form I have not read TFA, but from the summary it sounds like they are doing what many of us would like to see ANY government do. Also from the summary they have not banned anything, so what is the problem besides the words "communist state"?

I hope the rest of /. does not judge this idea soley on the politics of it's implementer. I don't see why any taxpayer should automatically hand over millions for MS licenses when the alternative is both transparent and "free".

Disclaimer: I'm not a "Linux fan boy", nor am I a communist, I have been paid to develop "stuff" in windows for 15+yrs and think MSVC is the best C/C++ development platform bar none.

Re:Boo (1)

rm999 (775449) | about 8 years ago | (#16005759)

"Are you suggesting the drug war is over and the bong heads won, or did you forget about prohibition? "
I am not a defender of the USA, so this argument is irrelvant.

"but from the summary it sounds like they are doing what many of us would like to see ANY government do. Also from the summary they have not banned anything, so what is the problem besides the words "communist state"?

Perhaps, but my main argument was against their reasons not their actions (which I also think are somewhat questionable). Recently, they did ban coke and pepsi. As in entirely banned, not just from the government. They did this largely becuase of their communist, anti-corporation ideals. These are the wrong reasons to do anything.

"I don't see why any taxpayer should automatically hand over millions for MS licenses when the alternative is both transparent and "free". "

Agreed. I don't think anything is automatic, and as a skilled developer, I am sure you know decisions like this are not trivial. I think this one was made somewhat trivially.

Dupe sorta. (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | about 8 years ago | (#16005513)

Linky. [slashdot.org]

$25 Windows (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | about 8 years ago | (#16005760)

Yes, this is a dupe. Still, there was a bit of new and interesting information:

In a written statement, Microsoft's public sector head in India, Rohit Kumar, said the company had tried to keep its prices low to make them accessible to schools, selling one version of Windows for between $25 and $30 per computer.

This would be the 'crippled' version, I presume. Still, it does show how afraid Microsoft are of Linux adoption. Of course, they could do a great job of defending their monopoly by just giving away a 'crippled' version of windows for free (as in beer). I predict that they will eventually do this; in fact, they already are, in a sense: allowing people to run known pirated copies of Windows - which is exactly what WGA does - is to, in effect, give Windows away for free.

Cautiously optimistic (4, Insightful)

NaCh0 (6124) | about 8 years ago | (#16005530)

Revenge is sweet but we should be careful as to not let any one linux company become the next microsoft.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (4, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | about 8 years ago | (#16005594)

Because of the GPL, it isn't possible for a Linux company to develop the kind of control that Microsoft has.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (3, Informative)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#16005727)

Because of the GPL, it isn't possible for a Linux company to develop the kind of control that Microsoft has.

Actually, it is. Due to the LGPL being used in most libraries, it is possible for a company to develop proprietary software on top of Linux. For example, if Microsoft had a Linux distribution, they could create MS Office for Linux, which only runs on Microsoft Linux.

I think the LGPL will eventually turn out to be a huge tactical mistake.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

ajs318 (655362) | about 8 years ago | (#16005897)

I think the LGPL will eventually turn out to be a huge tactical mistake
Agreed. I think the GNU project have gone soft lately. I hope the next GNU C library is straight GPL, with no permission even for linking from unfree software. Can you fork an LGPL project and release it straight GPL, or does the LGPL insist for all derivative works also to lie back and think of England?

Re:Cautiously optimistic (5, Insightful)

mrvan (973822) | about 8 years ago | (#16005936)

I think you're being silly. The whole point is that the OS should be free, which includes my freedom to develop proprietary software if I see fit. It's your choice to buy or donwload my software or not. Making the C library GPL will simply restrict the freedom of people to develop for linux, which will no be beneficial to the platform at all.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#16005606)

So long as they remain GNU (and don't pull any red-hats), the risk is minor. One linux company/group would fix a lot, and it doesn't really close it, just makes it more standardized. Think a linux with all the same support for apps, drivers and such.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (3, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#16005700)

If Linux starts to take off, you'll see Microsoft themselves start a distribution. I actually find it amazing that they have stuck with Windows. If they used Linux, they would be able to forget about needing to maintain all of the low-level operating system stuff and could put more effort into locking people into their brand of Linux.

This is something that the Free Software community will need to start thinking about, soon. How do we prevent that from happening?

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 8 years ago | (#16005748)

It's easy: you don't. If you respect other people's freedom, that is. Including the one to shoot themselves in the feet.

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#16005808)

... and then what do you do when they start sending you .DOC files that will only work in MS Office 8?

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 8 years ago | (#16005921)

The same thing you do today: you suck it up. If you want you can start using another format which they cannot read. Or you can put your money where your mouth is and use the market to push your product against theirs. Funny how freedom takes on a whole new meaning when it's applied to people who disagree with you!

Re:Cautiously optimistic (1)

Scarblac (122480) | about 8 years ago | (#16005888)

Why would we want to prevent it?

Obligatory quote (5, Funny)

asb (1909) | about 8 years ago | (#16005533)

"Remember, when downloading free software, you're downloading communism."

Well that explains it (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#16005788)

This must just a giant communist trap made by the NSA to find and locate all those damn pinko's. Makes sense. I bet they got a back door coded in the software to phone home about what you do with it. Damn you opensource. Now if only we could get the code to make sure it does what it says. But that will never happen.

Is that Mumbia or Bombay Police, Exactly? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005535)



I always get those places mixed up!

FreeDOS for everyone! (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 8 years ago | (#16005559)

I installed Debian Etch a couple weeks back and was impressed with the progress it has made in installability. Good luck to Keralans with their Linux adventure!

Funny ass name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005571)

I want M.A. Baby back, Baby back, Baby back, I want M.A. Baby back, Baby back, Baby back...

It's the "Heartbreak Hotel" for MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005629)

If he's successful, Microsoft will be singin' the blues: "Since M.A. Baby left me..."

Re:Funny ass name (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16005943)

"Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software"

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, Baby!

KFG

Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005572)

Doesn't every company want a monopoly?

REPOST (1)

thedletterman (926787) | about 8 years ago | (#16005580)

This was posted last week here: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/26/ 1732257 [slashdot.org]

Not exactly a dupe... (1)

alexhs (877055) | about 8 years ago | (#16005813)

The real piece of news is that it's a "communist state" that did it. Therefore it belongs in the "politics" section AND it's way better for good flamefests and revenue-generating ads ! Currently it's night in the U.S. (where people have been taught to loathe communism since the cold war), but wait for America waking up and you will see ;)

Dupe! ; link to newsforge article (4, Informative)

solferino (100959) | about 8 years ago | (#16005587)

  1. This is a dupe. [slashdot.org]
  2. In the original slashdot story I posted a link to an article on newsforge [newsforge.com] which gives better background context to this decision by the Kerala government. The article has some flaws i.e. "open source guru Richard Stallman", but still makes interesting reading.

But wich distro (2, Funny)

smithberry (714364) | about 8 years ago | (#16005602)

I just hope they suggest a particular Linux distro and version to their schools, or they will end up with a dozen variants of Linux all needing different versions of downloaded apps, different config tools, and what not.

I will stop short at suggesting which distro they should choose (and might just avoid being modded troll).

I hope they do not (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#16005845)

Learning how to deal with computers is essential nowadays yet what most people learn is how to work with Windows. This is like learning how do drive a FIAT Pinto vs learning to drive a car. Granted in with cars the difference is minimal but still we get a driving license. Not a fiat pinto license.

I just seen to many windows kids loose it completly when they are put to work with a non-windows computer. Or even DOS. Or an older windows version. Or indeed any computer that is not a 100% copy of their home system.

Wich would you consider the best tech class. One that has a dozen different model and brands of say welders or a class that has just a dozen of 1 model by 1 supplier. I know wich class will produce the better welder.

I actually had a guy complain that our forklift's work differently then the one he was trained on and he couldn't work with it. The problem was that the button to choose direction was on the joystick NOT a handle underneath the steering wheel. Our small one has two seperate pedals for doing back and forth. Wich you need to know because if you don;t and you think you are slamming on the brake you can be in for a suprise. Not as much as the person walking behind the forklift but still.

I seen to many kids come into the workforce trained on standarized equipment and me having to spent then a lot of time retraining them to get used to workplaces were not only is the equipment different but often where every single piece of equipment is off a different model. I for one have rarely seen a company with more then 1 forklift of the same model.

Teach kids how to deal with computers, not how to work with OS X (no not the apple one) version Y, configuration Z. The latter group will have great scores but fail in the workplace.

Re:But wich distro (3, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 8 years ago | (#16005926)

The differences between distros is mostly superficial. If you master one you master them all. The knowledge in Linux is highly reusable.

I sure hope they try them all and uses what fits them the best.

Finally! we can really complain about the commies! (5, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | about 8 years ago | (#16005610)

Damn commies! damn slashdot for taking this long to give us some really commies to complain about!

Actually I guess this is gonig to be fun watching people's head spin.. open source good, microsoft bad, but hang on, is communist open source good or bad? Actually Kerala is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy [wikipedia.org] , they chose their current political leaders, no totalitarian dictators here. They just prefer communist representatives... Sounds like it's not all a bed of roses but it's in pretty good shape for an Indian state by the accounts I've come across (and a damn nice place to visit as a tourist according to several of my friends).

Re:Finally! we can really complain about the commi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005711)

Of course, everybody ignores the fact that these communist were busy running MS. IOW, they are no different than anybody else, except now, they appear to want to run a balanced budget and look to the future. I wish that some of the west's politicians would start considering budgets and futures.

Wait... (1)

BungeBash (971979) | about 8 years ago | (#16005618)

Isn't a communist country/nation calling someone out for trying to be a monopoly kinda...hypocritical?

Re:Wait... (5, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | about 8 years ago | (#16005648)

And isn't an allegedly democractic nation complaining about what another nation's population has democratically elected, kinda .... hypocritical? Or is it only 'real democracy' when people choose American style, braindead capitalism, even if the population has to be bound, gagged and drugged before they make the 'right' choice?

Re:Wait... (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16005918)

And isn't an allegedly democractic nation complaining about what another nation's population has democratically elected, kinda .... hypocritical?

What you're missing is, they're stupid and we're much smarter. In fact, everyone abroad is, I noticed, pathetically stupid. After scientific and military analysis, we found out this is due to lack of "smartness" in other countries, which results in truly utter stupidity.

However we're not egotistical and we've devised a plan to bring our smartness in other countries against their will (since they are too stupid to request it themselves, it's a side effect). As you can assess, it's not about hypocricy at all. It's all about generosity and caring.

No - it is not single-party communism (1)

Noiser (18478) | about 8 years ago | (#16005659)

It's true that usually so-called "Communist" governments are actually single-party dictatorships, but as strange as it sounds, the communist government of Kerala was actually democratically elected* and it can be removed at the next elections. Kerala is not USSR or North Korea.

India is not a perfect democracy, but it wouldn't tolerate any of its states becoming an outright single-party dictatorship.

(* It must be noted that this piece of knowledge comes from Wikipedia, so you don't have to trust it.)

Re:No - it is not single-party communism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005714)

>the communist government of Kerala was actually democratically elected

so was the national-socialist government of Germany.

Re:No - it is not single-party communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005730)

20 posts and almost Godwin'd

Re:Wait... (0)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 8 years ago | (#16005667)

The use of the term "communist state" is somehow misleading. India is a democracy and the communist party is a political party like any other. This is not a single-party system. And "communist" is a label covering a wide range of opinions, espiecially when used by americans. It can mean totalitarian, dictatorial, left-wing, socialist or open-source...

Re:Wait... (0)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#16005679)

It can mean totalitarian, dictatorial, left-wing, socialist or open-source...
Sadly all evil to most Americans, except for the first 2, that are ok as long as the Americans are in control....

In communist Kerala... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005619)

In communist Kerala... Linux installs you

sorry, had to be done

communist, baaaaad (2, Insightful)

XTbushwakko (535540) | about 8 years ago | (#16005649)

Why is it that if it's a communist state doing something it's bad and when it's not it's good. It's seems that the wording in the description highlights that it's a communist state that removes it, and not a democratic one. When the real point is that and Indian state is trying to remove it...

Re:communist, baaaaad (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#16005671)

Too bad we can't rate descriptions as flamebate... :(

Kerala has also banned Coke & Pepsi (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 8 years ago | (#16005905)

Why is it that if it's a communist state doing something it's bad and when it's not it's good.

Kerala has also banned [typepad.com] Coke & Pepsi.

And they didn't ban other Indian drinks which had the same problems.

CAD Tools (0, Offtopic)

xander_zone_xxx (979068) | about 8 years ago | (#16005701)

But what about the CAD tools for electronics(etc) if the dump M$ out? Are there any comprehensive and easy to use tools in Linux ?

Linux initiative was taken by earlier governement (1)

xander_zone_xxx (979068) | about 8 years ago | (#16005757)

and the earlier party to rule was Congress, a non commie one. They just did not implement it... "The Left Democratic Front government targets implementing an earlier government order that was issued during the previous United Democratic Front regime. The decision was taken in 2004 to push open source systems, but this was not actively followed. Initially, schools were given the option to choose whether teachers were to be trained in Linux systems or Microsoft. The option has now narrowed down to migration." Quoted from the article.. http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php? content_id=138464 [financialexpress.com]

Important to note.. (3, Insightful)

Dr. Donuts (232269) | about 8 years ago | (#16005773)

Yes, it's very important to make sure that we throw in the word "communist" because that puts the whole article in perspective. Just saying "the Indian state of Kerala" would have horribly skewered the story.

Pretty blatant attempt at negative association. It's so fucking obvious, it's embarrasing.

M. A. Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16005789)

Go baby go.

all for the sake of education (1)

revolu7ion (994315) | about 8 years ago | (#16005821)

Lets encourage all schools to not teach with Microsoft products... THat way, when you graduate - you won't be prepared for the workforce, where most companies do use microsoft. They are selling their kids futures for a politically motivated stunt! (all they really want is 5 minutes of slashdot fame)

Hyperbole (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#16005874)

If you understand the general principles, how difficult is it to pick up MS, or Apple products? I haven't used MS Office for decades but I could sit down and be productive with it in about 30 seconds flat. The same is true of an MS Office user sitting down in front of OpenOffice or AbiWord. Most software which performs a similar task actually tends to use similar concepts, look and work in a similar manner.

 

the communist government in the Indian state of... (5, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | about 8 years ago | (#16005889)

the communist government in the Indian state of Kerala

In fact, this decision has nothing to do with the specific government being communist or not, and I welcome this decision, although I have nothing to do with India whatsoever. But, as wonderful western objective journalism rules expect, how nice it is to insert that word in there so as to inflate a latent (or not) hostility right in the beginning towards whatever might come in the following text. Instead of just saying Kerala's state government decided to encourage this and that. These days, I've just become really sensitive to slight (or not so slight) political overtones.
 

God's own Country wants Linux! (0, Offtopic)

cowbud (200323) | about 8 years ago | (#16005931)

Well I guess there is nothing more to say there, Microsoft is officially seen by India as Satan's hell spawn. When God's Own Country chooses the people follow!

http://www.gods-own-country.info/ [gods-own-country.info]
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