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Tamil Nadu (India) Shutting the Door On Microsoft

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-on-the-march dept.

Linux Business 269

aprasadh writes "The government of Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, has begun initiatives to convert all of their IT systems fully to OSS-based software. (The link is a copy of a news item that appeared recently in the Deccan Chronicle, an English-language daily.) The managing director of the IT procurement, consulting, and training agency for the Tamil Nadu government describes the reasons why he has chosen OSS, and also how he dealt with Microsoft executives." From the article: "Initially, 99 per cent of government systems have been running on Microsoft systems but then 2007 will be a watershed year for the state IT sector... We have already dispatched 6,500 Linux systems to village panchayats and another 6,100 Acer desktop systems with Suse Linux operating systems are on their way. We are procuring 20,000 desktop systems for schools, which will run only on Suse Linux... I require at least 500 trainers to train 30,000 state officials across Tamil Nadu in the next six months."

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269 comments

Microsoft-olatry (1)

P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) (1012109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441596)

From TFA:

Mr Umashankar . . . said all the ELCOT servers were on Redhat Linus.

Sounds painful.

In good sadness, though, India's push for OSS seems to be in direct proportion to its Microsoft-olatry: last I heard, most institutions there prostrate before Redmond.

Suse? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441616)

Am I the only one that was excited to read about this, until it said Suse Linux?

Re:Suse? (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441780)

Yes. "India can live without Microsoft packages and even progress but Microsoft will find it tough without a huge country like India buying their software packages," But can they live without Novell Enterprise? http://www.novell.com/linux/ [novell.com] There is no wolf in sheep's clothing. There is no wolf in sheep's clothing. There is no wolf in sheeps clothing...

Re:Suse? (5, Insightful)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442064)

but Microsoft will find it tough without a huge country like India buying their software packages
Yes, but for another reason. Ok, it might be tough for Microsoft losing a large customer base like India, but I think that the migration of a large number of Indian programmers to Linux poses a much larger thread to Microsoft.

One of the most often head FUD arguments against Linux is that there are not enough programs and this alone would be a reason why Linux isn't ready for the desktop. We all know the chicken/egg problem Linux had to deal with for a long time. With more and more countries considering Linux and a growing user/developer base this argument gets more and more ridiculous. And Indian isn't known for having the worst programmers.

Even worse for Microsoft: Linux still has a little (!) problem with hardware and drivers. There are still too many hardware producers, which do not provide drivers or even specifications of their products. The situation got much better in the last years, but if one is honest, one must admit, that going into a shop and buying an arbitrary piece of hardware can still be result in quite a disappointment for Linux users. Maybe the hardware producers can afford to ignore the Linux users in Europe and America (stupid and short sighted, if you ask me), but can the afford to lose a whole country like India? Yes, Tamil Nadu might not be the whole India, but if this switch works, and there is no technical reason that it doesn't, the rest of India might follow quickly. Over night the remaining hardware/driver problems might be gone. And with that another FUD 'argument'.

Losing India might be the worst that can happen to Microsoft. And not because of some unsold Office and Vista packages in India.

Re:Suse? (5, Insightful)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442140)

Plus, there's also big movement in Europe. And Europe is the part of the world that CAN pay. They are choosing to switch because of Microsoft's monopoly. They want free choice and INTEROPERABILITY.
That will boost India's software companies and both will benefit. Especially that companies are changing their business models. Now, with FOSS quite widespread, they change from selling product to supporting them. Look at RedHat.

So India will soon have what Europe needs (cheap support, free software) and Europe has what India needs - cash, foreign currencies especially.

Mutual benefit.

Re:Suse? (5, Interesting)

MrWGW (964175) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441846)

Contrary to popular belief, using Suse does not turn you into a vile subhuman ogre. Also, it didn't say what Suse they were migrating to, so if they're downloading free copies of OpenSuse, I really don't see why you'd even care. The various SUSE distros are wonderful operating systems, and they are (mostly) FOSS, so even if you don't agree with the Novell deal, I don't see why you feel the need to keep trolling about it.

Re:Suse? (5, Insightful)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441966)

You're absolutely right. Don't forget that over 40% of Linux code comes from company employed programmers. And it's still Open Source. Like for example RedHat. And Suse. So there shouldn't be any grievances about it - those companies push FOSS to market and give all FOSS community sense of direction.

And coming back to India - that's brilliant news. Think that India has over 1 billion people. All of them will be Linux users. And finally they will come as cheap labour (IT support) to UK/US to promote FOSS. And don't forget about opportunities of opening cheap Linux support call centres there.

We should be celebrating!

Re:Suse? (1)

146lily (989163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442154)

H'm Suse 9.3 is the my first Linux love, then came 10.0, brilliant, I thought I had found a home. I was wrong, 10.1 arrived with a broken package manager and was rescued by the Smart package manager. On top of this 10.0 supported 3d graphics for ATI cards out of the box, 10.1 did not. Further more lots of developing software was thrown into Opensuse making it cutting edge and harder to use. Opensuse is of little use to a Linux newbie. ! moved house to Ubuntu, given the deal between Microsoft and Novell I never bothered looking at 10.2. The wolf came and blew my Suse house down.....

Re:Suse? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442252)

I've just installed 10.2. It's pretty, stable and works. ATi graphics are still a pain (have to follow a 14-step instruction list and compile yourself in a terminal, which is daunting) but it can be done. Zenworks is broken (or at least, mine is and tells me this everytime my computer boots) but I don't use Zenworks, so I don't care (I should uninstall it to get rid of the errors, but it's low on the priority list).
These things are a pain for a newbie (I'm not a complete newbie, but I've had to call in some help to get a few things working).
The real thing that annoys me about opensuse is that certain parts come deliberately crippled (like getting a xine engine that won't play mp3's) and no visible instructions on how to un-cripple. It takes some cajoling to get yast to install xine from packman instead and it would be a whole lot easier if, since they can't provide a non-crippled version, they didn't provide one at all. (so you know any version that you do get will work). Ditto for having to go get libdecss source and compiling it yourself.
I did have some difficult persuading it to partition my HD the way I wanted (in the end, the install got it's way) and that could be VERY hard for a newbie to get their head around if they want anything other than the default settings (like making sure to leave /dev/hda1 for windows because it won't work anywhere else).
Suse's installer needs work, like;
  • being able to change your installation source without starting again
  • going back and fixing errors without starting again
  • defaulting to looking up an installation source rather than having people type in ip addresses and folder trees (which should be a last resort)
Still, it works now, so I'm happy.

Re:Suse? (1)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442260)

Welcome to the wonderworld of SuSE. They always did this over the years: You got a version that was more or less the perfect Linux to the current state of the art, then they started a new cycle of introducing or "optimizing" new features that produced an unbelievably buggy, slow and broken POS for the next release, until it got gradually better over two or three releases until the next "perfect" one (e.g. 8.2 was perfect, the ones before so-la-la, 9.0 really sucked, then it got gradually better until 9.3 was really great again; lather, rinse, repeat). SuSE Linux - the masochist's choice. ;->

Re:Suse? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441946)

same here, picking suse over microsoft now (after the deal with the devil) is like saying we are switching from Ford automobiles to Mercury...

Re:Suse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442062)

Yes but when you learn how to drive it's quite easy to switch to different car.
And Linux car is better that Microsoft's overloaded truck. And there are different variations of Linux car ;)

Enough complaints.

Re:Suse? (0, Flamebait)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442004)

Yah, I have to admit. Had it been anything other than Suse, I would have considered this to be a good thing. Now its just...meh.

Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternative? (4, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441624)

I think it's pretty clear that the Tamils should run Tiger.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441668)

Nice attempt at humor. But you should know your history better. These are not the same Tamils.

Tamil Tigers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_tigers [wikipedia.org]
Tamil Nadu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_nadu [wikipedia.org]

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441758)

Well I thought it was funny despite being the wrong Tamils.

dumb slashdotters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441972)

I just thought "dumb redneck slashdotter needs an education".

Re:dumb slashdotters (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442200)

Heck, I was just impressed anyone here managed to put Tamil and Tiger in the same sentence.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (2, Informative)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441738)

This is Tamil Nadu in INDIA. The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) are a Terrorist Faction, which consists of a minority of Sri Lankans who speak tamil. Same Language, different people, Just like Americans and British, both speak english.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (1, Insightful)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441808)

The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) are a Terrorist Faction, which consists of a minority of Sri Lankans who speak tamil.


And so you believe. Who told you ? The chaps who had phantasised WMDs all over the by now destructed place ?


The terrorists in this case are - I don't expect you to believe me, but I used to live there - the Buddhist clergy and their puppets, the Sri Lankan government.
And no, I don't condone the atrocities committed by the Tigers of Eelam at all. But what they do is more on the side of self-defense than terrorism.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (0, Flamebait)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441890)

> The terrorists in this case are - I don't expect you to believe me, but I used to live there - the Buddhist clergy and their puppets, the Sri Lankan government.

Yeah, but because you took the peaceful step of assassinating an Indian prime minister, you're a bunch of terrorist scumbags for 1.1 billion people. Actions, Consequences.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (2, Informative)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442068)

It was a former Indian PM who got assassinated by LTTE.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442150)

You must be confusing me. I thought myself as a European, born in Europe, to German parents. Okay, the Third Reich wasn't exactly a nicety from our side, agreed. Quite a lot of Jews lost their lives, before I was born. But I can't find any Indian prime minister in the list of what 'we' did wrong.

I did, however, follow a time in the earlier eighties, that is long before said prime minister was assassinated, when the then Sri Lankan president saw it fit, to stand by when probably a thousand Tamils were slaughtered for being just that, Tamils.

Read my earlier comment. I don't condone or deny any later atrocity. Including assassinating an Indian prime minister (though India had tried to interfere, anxious an independent Tamil in Sri Lanka would stir unrest in Tamil Nadu).
It is mainly the Buddhist clergy that tries its best to prevent any reasonable peace process, for fear the country as hosting Buddha's Tooth, might lose importance by being split into two parts.

Over from my side.

Re:Pity it's only Linux - what about the alternati (4, Informative)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442316)

"And so you believe. Who told you ? The chaps who had phantasised WMDs all over the by now destructed place ?"

I am a Tamil, From Sri Lanka.. lets just say I know a bit more than the average person.

Tamils in Sri Lanka have been severely disenfranchised over the years by a few Nationalists.

I was going to write a bit about it, but read up on Black July.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_July [wikipedia.org] is a good starting point.

Tamils have suffered terribly in the years since independence, and organised killing, and rape by groups suspected to be associated or controlled by the Government of Sri Lanka is common.

Although I was born in Sri Lanka, I have lived in the UK since the age of three, having emigrated here since 1979. However, sometimes when I go to Sri Lanka, The fact my passport has my Place of Birth as "Jaffna" I am noticeably treated with suspicion by some people.

The LTTE are seen by many Tamils in Sri Lanka as the only hope for them. In many cases, the LTTE has provided a lot of change in Sri Lanka. However, their overall egalitarian view could cause more issues than solve at this stage. Also the use of killing to achieve the goals is another thing I am a bit objectionable about. This is why they are view by many as terrorists, even though their mandate, and their intentions are Freedom Fighters. Although most of what they do are for self defence, some actions do indeed go far beyond self defence. Certainly the LTTE are NOT on the same scale as Al-Queda, etc.

Yes you are totally correct about the Buddhist Clergy, and certain ultra nationalist factions. A lot of lies and propaganda exist there, were the general populace is hood winkled to believing that Tamils are the cause of every problem.

However, I have many Sinhalese Friends, who are frankly amazing, so maybe now is the time to capitalise on friendships, rather than war. I just feel there is too much bloodshed already, and people have to put behind old prejudices, and actually look forward. I know its not easy, I have been through the heartache of hopes being dashed. Therefore I criticize both the government and the LTTE for not really working hard to capitalising the short lived ceasefire, and showing true leadership rather than rhetoric.

The Problems in Sri Lanka are immense, and rather than tell you everything, I simply invite those who wish to know, to find information, readily available on the Internet from both sides.

One thing for sure, the war back home brings tears to my eyes. Sri Lanka was and in some ways still is a beautiful country, with some very smart educated and intellectual people. Had there not been a war, Sri Lanka would be on a par with Korea and other far east "tigers".

What a laugh! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441652)

Ha Ha, this is chronic!

What are 20 lakhs? Are they paying in bananas?

What a joke! If these are the sort of people who use Linux no wonder a proper American company uses Microsoft.

Re:What a laugh! (1, Informative)

datamaxx (656158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441824)

1 lakh = 21363 USD aprox. lakh 100 000 rupee crone 1 million rupee more ignorance in cultural diversity shining through smile they are your future customer/boss

Re:What a laugh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441880)

what the hell did that guy just say?

Re:What a laugh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442008)

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! Someone mod the AC Funny.

Re:What a laugh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442132)

Inglish :)

Re:What a laugh! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442026)

See? that's what you get when you pay peanuts!

Here's a country that's just learned to count, and it thinks it can go up against the most powerful country in the world, with a long history of mathematical excellence.

You are the customer, bud, and you'll buy what we sell. Come back when you've got a track record in trade (and maths!)

Re:What a laugh! (4, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442350)

Here's a country that's just learned to count, and it thinks it can go up against the most powerful country in the world, with a long history of mathematical excellence.

"Just learned to count"? I know the US educational system has a bad reputation, but isn't this a bit of an exaggeration?

Irritating moron (1, Offtopic)

slashbart (316113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442028)

I'm Dutch so I'm using euro's. In india they use rupees, and large amounts of Rupees are expressed in lakh rupees or crore rupees. A Lakh Rupee is one hundred thousand rupees and a crore rupee is ten million rupees.

For you ignorant fool the conversion gets you 1698 Euro for 1 lakh rupee.

You are probably a US'ian, so you probably think your dollar is the only valid currency in the world. The rest of the world doesn't think so:

http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_03/wallenwein 060303.html [gold-eagle.com]

Now, that the euro (a) exists, and (b) has already achieved a tremendous amount of penetration of the international currency markets and even central bank reserves to some extent, and (c) has not lost decisively in value but has gained back all "losses" to date, the stage is set for a slow, gradual, but complete takeover by the euro of the dollar's role as the international reserve currency.

This process will not be allowed to take place too suddenly, because a complete and rapid "crash" of the US economy would still hurt too many countries that are dependent on the US market for their exports. Their export routes will have to be shifted first.

Rather, the US economy will be allowed to slowly suffocate under its own dollar-weight, letting it go into a gradual recession, with gradual deflationary pressures exerting themselves at first a la Japan (now happening), which the Fed is presently proceeding to "fight" with mammoth inflation, and that will eventually help bring about hyper-inflation.

--

You know, I used to be rather fond of the US, I've travelled through 35 states, and know the country well. With your current government, the US is loosing goodwill at a tremendous rate, and your personal kind of stupidity doesn't help. But who cares, you're likely an adolescent male anyway.

Bart

Re:Irritating moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442162)

Well said. Problem with Americans is they see world through CNN and their local TV stations. They have no clue how it really looks look like, nor they are interested. At least most of them. With quite a few exceptions on /.

Yes it is a flamebait. Mod it accordingly if you want.

That will only prove I'm right.

Re:Irritating moron (1)

bmgoau (801508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442228)

I am not american. As a commerce student i'm not even going to bother to explain the theory and logic behind exactly how wrong you are, that would be to much of an insult. Simply put you are wrong. And as evidence of that you can look at the major Western OECD nations that neither have the US dollar or Euro as their currency. Lets just say the flexibility and response times of today modern cash markets simply do not push a country into depression just because its currency is not a dominant world currency.

In other words... (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442336)

I am not american. As a commerce student i'm not even going to bother to explain the theory and logic behind exactly how wrong you are, that would be to much of an insult.

"I disagree, but I have no facts to back up my opinion."

That's what "I'm not going to bother to explain" means to me.

Re:Irritating moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442274)

Huh?? What have the Dutch ever done for world trade? What do you know about exchange rates?

Sit in your windmills and eat your tulips! I looked at your bit of propaganda - it's dated 2003! Where is the euro now? About to fall down the plug.

If we have any trouble from you you'll soon see how well we can fight, and it won't be the Fed doing it,either!

Re:Irritating moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442328)

As I remember few years ago exchange rate between Euro and USD was something like 1:1. Look at it now.
Changing from one currency to another takes time (hell lot of it) but it's going on.

America is a superpower but only because it sits nicely on SEPARATED continent and wasn't bothered with any wars. Except those Americans started. But that's totally different story, for different flamebait.

Austin Powers (2, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442324)


"I hate two things: bigotry, and the dutch."

And now I find them combined in one handy /. post, for the low low price of just 1 lahk rupees (306.9 EUR, 400 billion USD, 2 GBP)!

Out Sourcing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441680)

Sounds like someone forgot who butters thiri bread. MS may pull their call centers out of India now. Oh, wait, maybe that's a GOOD thing.

Re:Out Sourcing (1)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442168)

I sometimes get the impression that Tamil Nadu would love to harm the Kanatakan economy. (That's the state whose capital is Bangalore).

Just how open ? (0, Troll)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441700)

I require at least 500 trainers to train 30,000 state officials across Tamil Nadu in the next six months.

I can't wait to get that first email from the Governor of Tamil Nadu telling me how Viagra changed their life.

Re:Just how open ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442370)

Did you miss the part the apart running loads of MS? You have been getting those spams for ages.

It's a scam! (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441706)

I require at least 500 trainers to train 30,000 state officials across Tamil Nadu in the next six months.
If anyone is interested then please deposit a small sum of money $1,000 into my bank account to cover the cost of getting your visa and other associated paperwork. Because I am so desperate for trainers I will be paying $100,000 so it is really only a very small sum of money.

I wish them ALL success (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441716)

The numbers outlined looks good, but then they have always looked good. It really comes down to getting people who can actually make it happen. But if any one country has the IT manpower to make it happen, I'd say it was India... and cheaply too.

I hope there are many eyes on this move. They plan to move pretty quickly and so people will not become quite so bored as when other such projects are projected to take 5+ years and often peter out or are otherwise persuaded not to continue.

I also find it interesting that this particular Indian state seems somewhat uncorruptable. I'm not saying that anyone opting for proprietary software is corrupted, but I am saying that this guy's hard-line lacks any sort of compromise or wriggle room for Microsoft to persuade them against this. If Microsoft can't buy them, I have to wonder what these people are like.

And just to put it out there -- I could probably be bought by Microsoft if I were to find myself in a similar situation. So I have to admire this Indian state's dedication. But I'm guessing Microsoft has only begun their campaign of dirty tricks, leverage and persuation. Rather like one U.S. state's intention to move to OpenDocument, while Microsoft could make the IT guy budge on his plans, they simply when around him and bought his bosses.

But the bottom line is that if these guys are successful, a lot of people will be noticing.

Microsoft has it right that the future is software as a service... well, at least the service part anyway. The software part should not be proprietary.

Re:I wish them ALL success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441730)

Or he is payed by a consultant company seeing big bucks in training and supporting SL :) - you never know...

Re:I wish them ALL success (3, Interesting)

red crab (1044734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441970)

I am cynical about this. Large scale migrations are usually not successful. And when they happen in govt. enterprises you have every reason to be cynical. Nearly eight years back, treasury department of MP (another Indian state) had adopted Linux in a big way. The project was more or less successful. The erstwhile Chief Minister had made his preference for Linux/OSS clear for the forthcoming govt. projects. But then his govt. got voted out in next elections, new CM took over the reins and announced her allegiance to Microsoft. MP is not as financially well-off state as Tamil Nadu and could have saved a lots of money by adopting Linux. Let's see what happens in TN.

Re:I wish them ALL success (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442110)

There are other big organizations in India switching to Linux. Kerala for one, as a commenter pointed out below, and United India Assurance (if I'm not wrong), for another.

Re:I wish them ALL success (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442190)

Ya, right. United India Assurance uses a lot of (Red Hat) Linux internally. And they have been doing so for quite some time (4 years or so). Interestingly, a couple of years back I appeared for an interview in this company for a vacancy of system engineer. I had 2+ year exp. on Linux admin with an RHCE certification. I thought that this would help. To my dismay, the supposed technical members of the interview board asked me questions such as What Is Red Hat? RHCE what? and so on. I wasn't selected. God bless them.

Re:I wish them ALL success (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442404)

while Microsoft could make the IT guy budge on his plans, they simply when around him and bought his bosses.

Hmmm. I do not think so. In fact, following the story, it appeared that the bosses absolutely did not budge on this. Instead, MS bought a number of long-time ma congressmen to make this happen.

In Other News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441790)

Microsoft Buys Novell, adds DRM and Activation to SUSE in Auto Updates. Two days later, SUSE auto update downloads Windows and automatically replaces SUSE. The first thing users know about it is when the system reboots after the update and Blue Screens.
Government of Tamil Nadu is Angry and switches to Red Flag Linux.

American Economy? Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441812)

Good, maybe outsourcing will have it's lesson... now what to do with the rest of India. I know I am not the only one who could detect Indian dialect(s) when phoning [Micro$oft support] in the past.

Re:American Economy? Anyone? (1)

DieNadel (550271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442178)

Once I did a phone interview for a position at MS. The guy on the other end was certainly from India, and a terrible English speaker.

I know my grammar slips a lot (I blame the Internet for deteriorating my English :-) ), but understanding the questions under stress was hard enough without understanding the freaking English he was speaking.

Several times I had to ask him to repeat the question, and I could notice that at some point he became upset about it. Even though I correctly answered > of the questions (they were in the line of "can you create a P-time program to solve this NP-time problem?"), they sent me the "We decided to pursue other candidates at this time" e-mail.

If there are MS recruiters reading this post (we all know you read /.), please refrain from using poor-English-speaking programmers on job interviews.

Not the first (and not the last, I hope) (4, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441814)

Kerala was the first state to do this - slashdot story [slashdot.org] (and the oblig. dupe [slashdot.org] ).

But those stories paint Kerala as some hippie commune full of comrades - I've been following the developments in Kerala [dotgnu.info] for a while and in general all that makes sense.

Of course, most of these states are picking F/OSS for economic reasons - but not exactly about freedom and stuff. I've heard whispers from the gubment that it is the support contracts which are deal killers for F/OSS in general, but of late the government has started taking a socialist approach of doing it in-house rather than contracting it out to vendors (well, it doesn't sound socialist when a company does I.T, right).

Re:Not the first (and not the last, I hope) (2, Informative)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442082)

I'm officially speaking out of my glorious backside on this, but I suppose language could be a key issue here. Tamil, famously, was the first Indian language with a full Linux UI. I have no idea (too lazy) to see if there's a Tamil version for Windows, but if there isn't, here's a very good reason. (And our Tamilian brethren, bless their hearts, are rather proud of their linguistic heritage, so there).

Re:Not the first (and not the last, I hope) (3, Informative)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442272)

Considering that Kerala has achieved the highest literacy rate in India, and achieved life expectancy and health indexes [expert-eyes.org] to rival the first world when it'd been on a third world budget for decades, and is for that matter a leader in that country's impressive development in IT, I should think that its endorsement of Linux should have done folks here proud, whether or not Kerala's government has voted communists in and out and in again or not.

But, Tamilnad has smart people too, so this is good news, especially if you find all that business of helping the working poor help themselves a radioactive concept and are keen to keep your distance from it. ;)

Re:Not the first (and not the last, I hope) (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442276)

"Of course, most of these states are picking F/OSS for economic reasons - but not exactly about freedom and stuff. "

Not having to pay some corporation so that you could read the documents you yourself created is freedom too. In fact the number one reason why we all don't exclusively pursue what makes us happy is due to the fact that we need money (i.e shit costs money).

Free as in beer is freedom too.

Looking forward (1)

KClaisse (1038258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441836)

2007 is starting off great! With India starting to shut it's doors on Microsoft, maby (finally) Microsoft will outsource in a country that speaks clear English. Microsoft will soon rely on the American market only, and even that is starting to fade slightly.

Re:Looking forward (1)

146lily (989163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442186)

The UK will be the last Microsoft stronghold, not the USA!

Re:Looking forward (1)

KClaisse (1038258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442226)

Hard to believe that. People in USA are so blind and naive it's not even funny.

Microsoft's price (2, Informative)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441840)

The official offered the XP operating system for about Rs.7000 while he quoted Rs.500.
...
ELCOT is not the loser when Microsoft did not accept our price of Rs.500; on the other hand, Microsoft loses out due to our big volumes involved," he said.
In other words, the guy wanted XP for 11 dollars [google.com] , but Microsoft would only offer it for 158 dollars [google.com] . Nice.

Re:Microsoft's price (1)

pwhysall (9225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442470)

Nothing wrong with that. He offered a price he was willing to pay, Microsoft didn't like it.

That's business.

Microsoft Linux (1)

146lily (989163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441866)

I think within the next 20 years (when Vista is dead) Microsoft will make it's own Linux distro and sell support. It is possible the deal between Microsoft and Novell is the first step on this road. Microsoft cannot beat Linux.....therefore why not join it and buy (and try to put down other distros) as much as possible!

Re:Microsoft Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441892)

Isn't that called SuSE?

Re:Microsoft Linux (1)

146lily (989163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442022)

Maybe!?

Re:Microsoft Linux (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442116)

Why, isn't it already there- Microsoft Linux [mslinux.org] :)

Re:Microsoft Linux (2, Insightful)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442398)

What exactly do you mean they can't beat Linux?

Linux is still a tiny proportion of consumer desktops and isn't rising at a measureable rate.

Then again with that attitude it probably won't.

They're Safe (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441882)

And since they went with Suse, they're safe from being sued by Microsoft, thanks to the Microsoft-Novell deal.

Re:They're Safe (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442218)

Only for the next five years, after five years are up any suse/novell customers will be the most likely targets for a lawsuit because they will be using a distro which will contain proprietary MS IP. In the next five years novell will be incorporating many "enhancements" to assure "interoperability" into suse and all that IP (formats, etc) will be coming from MS.

Re:They're Safe (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442318)

``In the next five years novell will be incorporating many "enhancements" to assure "interoperability" into suse and all that IP (formats, etc) will be coming from MS.''

That's a possibility, but there is also a possibility that if that happens, others will write unencumbered replacements, and all will be well. Also, 5 years is a pretty long time in computer land; who knows what might happen in the meantime.

Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (-1, Offtopic)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441884)

At what point does our loathing of Microsoft and our support of OSS equate to a massive economic loss to our own nation?
At what point do American supporters of OSS achieve a shot to their own shared national foot?

Just curious to hear views on national self-interest vs. the interest of technological freedoms and associated liberties
which go hand in hand with the movement towards OSS.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441964)

You say "National self interest" as if it's a good thing. As the internet is helping demonstrate the physical soil borders we were used to in the 20th Century are outdated. Microsoft may be making money for "Americans" but it's also making money in each country that is taxed by those countries, and employing people in those countries.

OSS != free software. Free software != the best software. At least, not in every case.

I imagine that the next few centuries are going to be interesting as globalisation *really* kicks in - see AllOfMp3 as an example of what can happen.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442392)

> "You say "National self interest" as if it's a good thing."

You live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Your life is cushy compared to people elsewhere.
You think that's because you deserve it? Because you're smart? Talented?

Unusually so?

Hmm...

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1)

146lily (989163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441968)

Microsoft's worldwide power peaked around the year 2000, other multinationals (including US based) and countries saw the danger in Microsoft's monopoly and are now in the process of breaking it. This benefit's the whole world including the USA. If you saw the movie The Lord of The Rings, well it's like that, people start off as nice guy's...and then power corrupts!

It doesn't (5, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442032)

Using FOSS involves no economic loss to the US whatsoever. Microsoft is not the US. Although Microsoft employees may earn less and their shareholders get less in dividends, and they may pay less tax, this is balanced by the increase in profitability of all the companies saving money by not using their products.

If you mean the loss of profits from foreign sales (i.e. the export market) this is a completely separate issue. The mere fact that other countries try to avoid buying MS products means that in the long or short term income from this source will dry up. From the point of view of the US, it is probably better that other countries continue to buy US products (Red Hat, Novell) than that they either do not develop an IT infrastructure at all, or develop entirely home grown solutions.

The history of every major industry is one of declining prices. This leads to economic expansion, not contraction, whether it is steel, cars, television. Software is not exempt from economic laws.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442036)

Well unless you have some plan to eject America into space and make a new world just for it, I find your comment to be very pompous.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442418)

"I find your comment to be very pompous."

Did I express some opinion in my comment?

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442368)

Who was the Slashdick who modded me redundant? I can't really think of a more appropriate topic for this post and for this forum.
The global balance of power is shifting more rapidly right now than in the last 100 years, and America (by most calculations) would appear
to be the big loser. America has very little industrial/export capacity left and two if its remaining powerhouse industries are tech
and pharma. I'm a huge supporter of OSS, and yet I frequently wonder about larger issues like the general balance of trade because
geopolitically and economically it is clear that America is teetering.

Redundant? Uh... wow. Sorry for boring you with uninteresting and non-current issues.

Yar screw Sony and Micro$oft. Wii rocks. Apple really loves me. SCO is stoopid. Yay Google. LOL Penguins, get it? OMG Ponies! Yawn.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442450)

This is Slashdot. People here believe that the Internet is creating a common global playing field. What they have no clue about is just how comfortable they are as a result of US hegemony. So while kids here are proudly waving the banner of equality, they're getting their asses kicked unbeknownst to themselves. Its sad and funny. They don't realize that "equality" also means "wage equality" with workers in Bulgaria. They're cheering their own economic demise. Welcome to Slashdot.

Re:Here's something I'd like to hear opinions on (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442434)

I, for one, am embarrassed for my country because of the likes of Microsoft. World Domination with such a patently inferior product is such an American trait, and the reason most of the world hates us. For now, I'll back other American tech companies like Apple, and any other inventive and inspiring company. When (if) Microsoft starts making compelling products, I'll start rooting for them.

E-Governance efforts of Umashankar (2, Informative)

aprasadh (636319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441920)

Mr. Umashankar, IAS officer is a staunch supporter of open source software. You can see his commitment towards opensource in the EGOVINDIA [yahoo.com] group. He is the popular member of this active group. I believe his actions are in true spirit.

Indiana ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17441944)

Oh, India. Land of the cows on mainstreet. Where cows go, so goes their pies. Makes you won't how disease doesn't run rampant in the cesspool of a country, and where, when a conductor says get on the train, 200 people do exactly that, they get on top, on the sides, on everywhere!

MS overquote? (2, Interesting)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441982)

7000 rupees is about $150 USD right? That's not cheap at all. Not for XP volume licensing. Not in India. Not in the US.

30,000 government officials? (2, Insightful)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17441988)

"We will train over 30,000 government officials in Linux Operating Systems and Open Office


Just how many people live in this state anyway?

Re:30,000 government officials? (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442074)

30,001. And I bet he still has to queue.

Re:30,000 government officials? (4, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442104)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] the population is just over 60 million which gives it a population roughly equivalent to the UK so 30K civil servants isn't that outrageous - especially as they inherited their civil service from the UK. Furthermore

The sixth most populous state in the Indian Union, Tamil Nadu has the largest urban agglomeration nationwide. Increases in literacy have caused Tamil Nadu to report the second lowest decadal growth in population in India. Globalisation brought increased export opportunities, making Tamil Nadu the fifth largest economy among the states of India. The growing demands for skilled labour have caused the increased number of educational institutions in Tamil Nadu. It has the highest number of vocational training institutions in India. Chennai, which was known until 1996 as Madras, is the fourth largest city of India and the state capital. Chennai is the home of Marina Beach, one of longest beaches in the world. Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Salem, Thirunelveli and Tiruppur are other large cities (Corporations) of Tamil Nadu.
so it's not exactly a quiet backwater.

Re:30,000 government officials? (3, Interesting)

dwandy (907337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442384)

And this is what (imho) we westerners seem not to get: when (not if) the switch to OSS happens it won't be here in the west: China and India make up some (half?) of the world's population, and once they come on board ... MS et.all are toast. And with them out, our IT staff becomes second-rate as they become irrelevant.

Re:30,000 government officials? (2, Informative)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442118)

Just how many people live in this state anyway?

Passed 62 million six years ago, so more than California and Texas put together. Mind you, the Indian civil service has always had a bit of a reputation for mass employment.

Re:30,000 government officials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442182)

Not much. Only about 60 million.

Hmm .. (3, Informative)

sunsrin (842762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442018)

The Information and Technology Minister - Dayanidhi Maran belongs to the same political party as the one in Tamil Nadu and he is seen hobnobbing with Billy [hindu.com] on launching MS products in India

Not possible in first world countries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442030)

You can only do that in third world countries where labor is cheap. If 500 trainers is not enough to train and support each Linux install then hire a 1000 more. It'll still cost less than a commercial license. You can't do that in first world countries where technical training and support is expensive.

Re:Not possible in first world countries. (3, Insightful)

Fedarkyn (892041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442306)

this would be true if it were necessary 1 trainer for each linux user.

One thing that MS and most people like to forget is that trainers are necessary if you are deploying windows too.

tecnical training and support for windows are not free!!!!

hey.. (4, Funny)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442038)

Am I hearing chairs flying around?

How can they shut the door on Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442166)

...since a window is not a door? Shouldn't they be shutting windows instead?

Do we need to hear about this? (3, Interesting)

bmgoau (801508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442192)

As Good as this news in, does the slashdot community have to constantly reminded not only of the benifits of open source but more annoyingly, of every single government and private organisation which switches from Microsoft to oss?

Re:Do we need to hear about this? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442256)

This reminds me that my pharmacy (or chemist, or drugstore, or whatever you call those places that sell prescription medications) also switched to Linux just last week.

Just to keep you posted you know.

I figured it wasn't worth a submission though.

Monopolies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17442240)

So, we have a government monopoly replacing Microsoft software because it is a supposed monopoly? Pot, meet kettle.

Good Riddens ? (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442242)

If their "SEO" & "Website builder" strategies are any indication of how their government operates, I bet Microsofts' real reaction to this would be more along the lines of "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, ya cheap bastards !".

Everything needs to be free.... (2, Interesting)

ashwinds (743227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442320)

Free Land [hindu.com]
Free TV [yahoo.com]
Free GOLD!!!! [rediff.com]

The only complaint is rice is cheap not free [hindu.com] - can you imagine paying nearly $0.50 for 10 Kilograms (22 lbs)? Govt. these days....
....just kidding- TN is pretty good when it comes to most things comparitively. Glad that they went through with this - whatever their reasons may be (empty coffers must likely), the path they have taken is a brave one. There may be some FUD initially, but typically these govt. officials do nothing more than what they are told to do on the PC (i.e. press ALT-P, type, click on OK etc... - of course in TN, everything must be in Tamil as well). So there wont be any complaints like "This new Nvidia card is not working on my PC" OR "how can I get this to recognize my new USB external hard drive"...
Congrats SUSE - you got yourself 30,000+ new users who wont complain much. Having said that, everything will get blamed on the "new SW" - including printer jams, network failures - anything.

Penguins sighted in Andhra Pradesh (1)

rockypg (787998) | more than 7 years ago | (#17442414)

I took a driving license test in Andhra Pradesh (a state just north of Tamil Nadu). I was required to take a computer based multiple choice questionnaire that was hosted on a RH box. And that was two years ago.
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