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Another Indian State Moving To FOSS

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the dominoes dept.

GNU is Not Unix 119

james.infidel writes "The Hindu, a leading national newspaper, reports that the Communist government of Kerala (the state with the highest literacy rate in India) has announced its all-out support for FOSS in the draft IT policy announced yesterday. The draft also calls for preferential treatment for companies coming forward to work in the FOSS domain.

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So? (-1, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666178)

Once you have news that a country that actually matters is swtiching, then great.. Utill then, who really cares?

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

joeyspqr (629639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666902)

from the specific (me) to the general (the world)

there are 3 programmers of Indian descent within eyeshot of my cube and more down the hall. there are what, 700 million? people there. Ghandi was arguably one of the greatest leaders in all of human history. India is a nation with a brilliant history spanning millenia, and a rapidly modernizing, vibrant economy developing a democratic government that has to deal with dozens of ethnicities and religions ... something the US (or anyone else) hasn't quite figured out yet.

So there. India is the face of the future. India matters.

700 million? (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667052)

I'm not sure what your 700 million is supposed to refer to, but if you're referring to the population of India, it's almost 1.1 billion [cia.gov] now.

Re:700 million? (1)

joeyspqr (629639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668222)

Yes, and thank you for the correction

India matters (-1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667110)

Not to me it doesnt. And that is all that matters.

Re:So? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667190)

> Ghandi was arguably one of the greatest leaders in all of human history.

And were he alive, he'd appreciate it if you'd spell his name correctly.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667280)

The name is spelt Gandhi [wikipedia.org]

Re:So? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667614)

No it isn't [wikipedia.org]

Re:So? (1)

burner (8666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669924)

It's not an English name, so while there may be a generally accepted spelling, there is no single "correct" rendering in English.

communix? (-1, Troll)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666182)

It just makes sense that a communist government would adopt linux. These headlines will become too common as the developing world steps into the computer age.

Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]

Re:communix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666302)

Would you please stop trying to inflate your page rank by spamming your link? If you didn't notice, your link contains rel="nofollow", so you're not getting any credit in the major search engines anyway. If you don't care about the search engines, you're still being a spamming dick.

Re:communix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666486)

He was posting billingsbulletin.com a bunch before this.... damn that's annoying.
You realize it displays already under your user account name right?

Re:communix? (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666360)

From the article:that the Communist government of Kerala (the state with the highest literacy rate in India)

What I don't get is why communists in India don't have mandatory public education. Must not be very good communists in the first place if they can't assure a 100% literacy rate for reading the central party's five year plan.....

Re:communix? (2, Insightful)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666612)

Yeah, usually communism and the word "mandatory" go hand-in-hand!

Re:communix? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666954)

Usually because, left to their own devices, human beings are specatacularily bad at making business decisions.

The problem with communism though is it continues to use humans to make business decisions.

My personal favorite solution- bypass the humans and use expert systems on computers to make business decisions.

Re:communix? (2, Insightful)

micktaggart (1047954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667118)

So communism works, only not with humans are you saying?

Re:communix? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667220)

So communism works, only not with humans are you saying?

Capitalism also works, only not with humans. But the proof that communism works with computers is in the multi-tasking code in the operating system of your choice (Unix, Linux, MacOS, even Windows in a poorly designed way, all show that without corruption and with enough data input, communism works). The problem encountered in running such operating systems on human beings is a severe lack of data collection, usually restricted down to just price and want, rather than need and productive capability, being overriding motives.

Re:communix? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668186)

But the proof that communism works with computers is in the multi-tasking code in the operating system of your choice (Unix, Linux, MacOS, even Windows in a poorly designed way, all show that without corruption and with enough data input, communism works).

No, modern operating systems use preemptive multitasking, which is more like a dictatorship. The scheduling analogue to communism would be cooperative multitasking, of the sort implemented in "classic" Mac OS -- and it turns out it doesn't actually work so well.

Of course, I'm not convinced that the analogy makes sense anyway...

Re:communix? (0, Troll)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668570)

The problem encountered in running such operating systems on human beings is a severe lack of data collection, usually restricted down to just price and want, rather than need and productive capability, being overriding motives.


I completely agree. One of the pesky "wants" of humans is freedom. If we could just get rid of that urge for freedom, folks would be happy to obey the Master Computer!


Re:communix? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669182)

I completely agree. One of the pesky "wants" of humans is freedom. If we could just get rid of that urge for freedom, folks would be happy to obey the Master Computer!

Far more dangerous than freedom in the population, is freedom in a ruler. A good example is Hong Kong- no political freedom to speak of, but maximum ecconomic freedom, which basically means the corproations can do whatever the hell they want. By contraining the ruler to predetermined programming, the population can have comparatively more freedom.

Re:communix? (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669590)

Ruler predetermined programming = U.S. Constitution. (unfortunately it is not being enforced properly).

Re:communix? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669842)

Ruler predetermined programming = U.S. Constitution. (unfortunately it is not being enforced properly).

Correct- think how much better it would be if the US Constitution were as constraining as an operating system! "Library not found" would take on a whole new meaning.

Re:communix? (1)

arifirefox (1031488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667374)

problem: expert systems are designed by humans.

Re:communix? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667980)

Solution: Expert systems don't have to be designed by humans if they are self-learning, and use the failures of humans to avoid negative situations.

For instance: Greed bubbles in the stock market. They happen every 20 years or so because human beings forget that greed is evil. A machine would never forget- and would avoid investing in stocks whose price to (earnings+assets)/shares ratio is greater than 1 to begin with (which is *ALWAYS* a bad idea).

Another good example would be the 1954 Ukranian famine. A machine that had a directive to feed *all* the people instead of a human being (Stalin) trying to support his poltical supporters would have noticed and avoided taking the seed crop of the farmers.

Human greed and ambition will always take down even the best designed economic system. Machines don't get greedy, and don't have ambition for power, unless they are programmed to be so.

Re:communix? (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668456)

This all sounds suspiciously like Skynet. Are you from the future?

Re:communix? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667934)

What I don't get is why communists in India don't have mandatory public education.

The article and many like it are more than a little inflammatory. By "communist government" they mean "democratic government run by a political party that favors the ideals of communism." Communism is not even a form of government, it is a economic method. When people talk about "communist governments" they are often referring to places that instituted extreme amounts of socialism which resulted in a totalitarian government, so it is more than a little bit of a misnomer. That is not at all the case in Kerala, as I understand.

commies? (1, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666186)

Commies supporting FOSS? I can just see the CNN headline...

Re:commies? (2, Funny)

WindowsIsEvil (1052864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666606)

It is obviously a Microsoft conspiracy to perpetuate their monopoly and keep Linux down.

Re:commies? (5, Informative)

namityadav (989838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666982)

Just to make it clear, India is a democracy. In fact, India is world's largest democracy. The government in Kerala is also chosen democratically.

When people say "Communist government of Kerala", they actually mean a democratically chosen government which is influenced by some Marxist concepts.

Re:commies? (2, Funny)

hal9035 (827327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667246)

Now, wait a minute. It is, or it isn't. With US, or against US. The Free Democratic Society or commie terrorists...... Which is it? Let's ask President Bush........

Re:commies? (3, Informative)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667532)

So it IS a communist government.

Democracy and communism aren't mutually exclusive, you know.

Re:commies? (4, Informative)

namityadav (989838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667892)

I didn't agree or disagree with calling the Kerala government communist. Anyway, according to wikipedia, a communist state is a term used by many political scientists to describe a form of government in which the state operates under a one-party system and declares allegiance to Marxism-Leninism or a derivative thereof. Communist states may have several legal political parties, but the Communist Party is constitutionally guaranteed a dominant role in government. Consequently, the institutions of the state and of the Communist Party become intimately entwined.

The government in Kerala is elected by the public. Even a government dominated by communists cannot impose a truly communist state. Private enterprise exists in Kerala, which could not in a communist system. And the state government does not control the economy the way it would in a communist system. People can democratically remove the government in elections and choose a non-communist government. Because of all these reasons, I thought it was important to make this distinction clear.

Re:commies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17671568)

Wikipedia is full of crap, then. (Surprise, surprise.) Non-marxist communists exist, as do non-statist Marxists. Hell, the Amish run a communist society within the United States -- they're anarcho-communists.

Re:commies? (1)

kunji_da_man (1043542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17675592)

Rgt. if it is true that they work on marxist-leninits principles i will eat my head.

Re:commies? (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17676736)

I personally feel that such a move by a communist govt. may actually spoil the chances for FOSS. Communists are known to fight for supposedly pro-poor causes (fuel price cuts, subsidy hikes, PSU disinvestment opposition etc) which are largely populist in nature. Going by that, Communist support for Open Source may be deemed as adoption of software for the poor, technology for have-nots and so on. It can thus run at a risk of being branded something as "not so good as proprietary software but still FREE" which won't exactly help. Open Source should be marketed as something that is technologically superior than it's proprietary counterparts, not merely as a free second-rate product which 'almost' gets done what you want.

Re:commies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667700)

Commies supporting FOSS? I can just see the CNN headline...


More like, MSNBC headline...

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666212)

Thank you, come again!

Troll? (1, Insightful)

derEikopf (624124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666288)

Am I missing something? What does the literacy rate have to do with the story?

Re:Troll? (2, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666628)

Agreed -- that's totally just bait for some. I doubt that communism or literacy rate have anything to do with it. All it does is draw attention to the concept that some Indian states have different forms of government, and that many of the poor there are illiterate. As the story itself points out, other Indian states have already embraced FOSS.

Re:Troll? (1)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17676576)

Kerala has long been known outside India as an unusual spot in terms of social development, even though it is very poor. From a CSM article on Kerala;

The roots of Kerala's literacy culture can be traced back at least to the Hindu rulers of the 19th century. The Queen of Trivandrum issued a royal decree in 1817 that said, "The state should defray the entire cost of the education of its people in order that there might be no backwardness in the spread of enlightenment."

So I read "Kerala (the state with the highest literacy rate in India)" like I would "Monaco (the place with all the casinos)" or "Roswell (the UFO place)". It's just a convienent reference.

Well..more like Socialist.. (5, Informative)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666316)

Even though the color of the flag is red and they adopt the name Communists, they are far from it. And atleast a little bit of why this measure suddenly took off has to do with the Communist Party wanting to align itself to the more conservative communist ideals than what West Bengal (another Communist state) has done, which is to embrace more private investment.

But I am glad to find my state laying out the red carpet for FOSS.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666414)

So if you're in that state, can you answer the question the obvious troll raises? What sort of communists (or even Socialists) are against free public education systems as a government service? Or is the troll a fake and you don't really have an illiteracy problem there?

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (4, Informative)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666670)

I dont think anyone has claimed that the Communist Party is against education in Kerala. Public Education is dirt cheap (I am not sure if its mandatory) and society as such played a big role in making sure kids were in school during the day.

The Communist Govt put forth night schools for Seniors so as to increase literacy across the state, as a result of which we hit 100% literacy rate.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

samu0086 (977811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666942)

Well wikipedia, citing the United Nations Development Programme 2001, states that Kerala has a literacy rate of 91%.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667010)

Ok, then I'd call the troll either misinformed or downright wrong. 9% is not a high illiteracy rate.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

GnuAge (528559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670454)

Kerala has been ruled on and off by the Left Democratic Front led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) since its inception as a state in 1956. Despite considerable resistance from the central government Kerala has passed land reform, abolished tenant farming, and pushed education and public health (there are 2,700 state run medical institutions in Kerala). This strong emphasis on social welfare has led Kerala to be ranked #1 in India on the Human Development Index. Some indices cut and pasted from the Wikipedia article on the Kerala Model [wikipedia.org] :
1. Its adult literacy rate is 91% compared to India's 65 and the US's 96. Newspaper readership in among the world's highest.
2. Life expectancy at birth in Kerala is 73 years compare to 61 years in India and 76 years in the US. Female life expectancy in Kerala exceeds that of the male, just as it does in the developed world.
3. Kerala's birth rate is 14 per 1,000 females and falling fast. India's rate is 25 per 1,000 females and that of the U.S. is 16. Kerala's infant mortality rate is 10 per 1,000 births versus 70 for India and 7 for the US. In Kerala the birth rate is 40 per cent below that of the national average and almost 60 per cent below the rate for poor countries in general. In fact, a 1992 survey found that the birth rate had fallen to replacement level.

Because of terrible communist outrages like subsidized rice and public food distribution, protective laws for workers and pensions for agricultural laborers, capital has not exactly been streaming in to Kerala, unemployment is relatively high, and GDP is low (though apparently significantly higher than the Indian average). Hence, much of the economically active population has emigrated and remittances sent home contribute around 20% of state GDP. Nonetheless, my sources claim Kerala has the highest standard of living in India.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17674360)

"though apparently significantly higher than the Indian average"

Nope. Kerala has the second lowest per-capita GDP in India - the lowest being Bihar.
Nevertheless, Kerala has relatively even income distribution (So there aren't that many poor compared to the richer states)

Someone's missing something (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667178)

Are you confusing literacy with illiteracy, or is there something I'm missing?

Re:Someone's missing something (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667266)

When the article synopsis first came out (I think it's been edited since then) it claimed the illiteracy rate was the highest in India for this Hindu state. That seemed rather at odds with the claim that this was also a communist (or socialist) government. It was apparently a completely wrong claim, which has now been edited.

That'd explain it (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667352)

I saw you made that comment (or similar) a few times, and no one else called you on it - by the time I saw the summary it said highest literacy rate - so I suspected it might have been a case of fixing the summary.

Interesting?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667566)

Anyone care to explain how this is already at +3 interesting, instead of -1 offtopic?

Re:Interesting?! (0, Offtopic)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667908)

A normal post has +1. A high karma gets a +1. A paying slashdotter gets a +1. Presto your +3.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671836)

you don't really have an illiteracy problem there?

I think you misread the summary. He said highest literacy rate, not highest illiteracy rate. Kerala is essentially 100% literate.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671934)

Hm, nevermind, saw your other comment.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666924)

Okay, you're from Kerela - hasn't it been making pro-OSS moves for years now? Who started this move in the states of India?

By the way, as a lay observer, I really admire Kerela and the way their communist party interpreted Marx in a non-Leninist, non-Maoist way. It really is a different animal from what most people think of as communism, but I think it's a lot closer to what Marx intended.

Re:Well..more like Socialist.. (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666958)

Heh. Don't you know anything? Most of us stupid Yanks don't know the difference between socialism and communism and many believe that they are the same thing, all the while not realizing that we've had socialism in the U.S. (albeit watered down) for more than 60 years. Anyway, FOSS isn't really a socialist or communist idea anyway. If anything, the ideals of Free Software are aligned more closely with American Libertarianism than anything else.

Impact on population and demographics (4, Funny)

quixoticsycophant (729112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666362)

While some may be concerned about the mass exodus of an entire Indian state to Foss [wikipedia.org] , on behalf of the people of Oklahoma I say welcome!

Re:Impact on population and demographics (2, Funny)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666998)

I'm curious, when writing that post did you think about the potential double meaning [wikipedia.org] in a comment about Indian states migrating to OK?

Literacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666388)

The less literate someone is, the more likely they are to use windows? Now all we need to do is prove causality and have Windows disbarred from use in education.

Tranlation of the draft IT policy (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666396)

1.1Developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are transforming the society in dramatic ways. These developments are creating hitherto unimaginable opportunities and possibilities, even as they pose new challenges for a society like ours
Computers make a difference.

1.2 In the production processes of today's world, information and knowledge mean a great deal more than material resources and physical inputs.
Knowing how to use them is good

1.3 ICT has opened up the possibility of radically different information exchange patterns by facilitating faster and more efficient dissemination of information. It can play a vital role in sustaining the democratic ethos of the Indian society and ensuring a high level of transparency in governance
Nobody controls the net

1.4 Having achieved high physical quality of life index and social infrastructure development, Kerala is ideally positioned to use ICT as a catalyst for the all-round economic prosperity and social uplift of its people
We haven't completely exhausted the budget

1.5 ICT and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) have by now turned into major sectors of economic activity in the country. Over the past one-and-a-half decades, these sectors have shown remarkable growth in the country, both in terms of export revenue and employment generation
This is a good source of tax revenue

1.6 In almost every sector of socio-economic activity ranging from industrial production to education and public healthcare, ICT now plays an important role in optimizing the processes, thereby improving the quality and efficiency of human endeavors
The net is cool

1.7 Growing importance of ICT in the present-day world leads to the emergence of a divide, which can be called the "digital-divide," between those who have access to sophisticated ICT infrastructure and those who do not. This is a matter of concern to civil society at large; and a challenge that has to be overcome through conscious intervention, both from the Government and the sections on the privileged side of the "digital divide
Web junkies don't riot

1.8 The Government has a comprehensive view of ICT as a vehicle for transforming Kerala into a knowledge-based, economically vibrant, democratic and inclusive society. By the term "inclusive," the Government means that the benefits of the socio-economic transformation possible through ICT should reach every single citizen of the State. This policy document defines the Government's vision, mission and strategy for achieving the same.
We're gonna spend lots of money

Re:Tranlation of the draft IT policy (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668330)

We're gonna spend lots of money
I researched moving to India a while back since they were and still are the hotspot for Linux/Java solutions. Like any geek, my biggest concern was "Can I get DSL?" The answer is "Yes." You also don't have to fight an uphill battle against Microsoft brainwashing, so you've got fresh minds to educate. For those who are willing to travel, India looks like a lucrative change in scenery.

Two things... (1)

GeneralChuikov (874329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666522)

1. "Avoid total dependence on select vendors"- has there ever been a more p.c. way to say "Microsoft lock-in"? 2. Has anyone ever explored the effects that adopting FOSS has on the computer literacy of a population? Can a case be made that adopting FOSS, and having locals trained in its implementation, upkeep, and improvement, brings more intellectual growth to a nation than adopting commercial, closed-source software? We talk about TCO in the closed-source vs. OSS debates, but how about the educational value of OSS for creating computer literate populations? Or, are we still too early in the life cycle of OSS to make this determination?

more p.c. way to say "Microsoft lock-in"? (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670128)

How about Microsoft had us by the balls, but FOSS "castrated" us to freedom....
*SNIP*
On second thought, don't say that. What was that about my high pitched voice!

NOT COMMUNIST (2, Interesting)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666736)

Do a little homework. It's an Indian state. ALL of India is a democracy, politically. Where economy is concerned, Kerala operates under welfare based democratic socialism. They have a parliamentary system of representative democracy, just like most of the democratic world. A quick google/wiki search might help james.infidel avoid sounding like an ignorant in the future.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (2, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667068)

In contrast to what US brainwashing tells you, communism and democracy are not opposites.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667550)

To be frank, you're flat out wrong. It's not a matter of opinion, or some kind of "west vs east" brainwashing. It's a simple matter of definition. Cuba and China, two of the most prototypical communist nations, are most certainly democratic. I would willingly admit that the communism, as defined by those who derived from the theories of Karl Marx, is not the opposite of democracy. In practice, it certainly is. As it relates to this article, that is an important point. Kerala is not communist in any meaningful sense of the word. Most European nations are equally "socialist", but I don't think anyone would classify them as communist. Moreover, automatically assuming someone is brainwashed because you didn't bother to consider what communism really implies kind of detracts from whatever point you thought you were making.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667610)

correction -- should read Cuba and China -- NOT democratic.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

808140 (808140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668386)

I believe the reason Kerala is considered communist is because the Communist Party of India [wikipedia.org] has majority control in that state, see for example a list of the current members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly [wikipedia.org] . In fact, when the state of Kerala was formed in 1956, the rather famous E.M.S. Namboodiripad [wikipedia.org] , a lifelong Marxist, headed the government.

The fact that the USSR, Cuba, and China are/were not democratic doesn't mean that democracy and communism are incompatible, anymore than the large number of capitalist dictatorships around mean that capitalism and totalitarianism go hand in hand.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668884)

To be frank, you're flat out wrong. It's not a matter of opinion, or some kind of "west vs east" brainwashing. It's a simple matter of definition.

You're mistaking "communism" with "marxism." Marxism is a political system based upon extreme socialism, but which usually misleadingly refers to "communism" instead. Marxism, in fact, advocated democracy as part of the theory, but later political figures who paid lip service to the concept paid that same lip service to democracy.

Communism, is an economic method that is very easily explained. Quite simply communism is the concept that a smaller group (commune or communist cell) within a larger economy can share some or all resources and the decision making regarding those resources. Theoretically this shared resource allocation and decision making results in greater efficiency. In practice this works very well for small cell sizes and very poorly for large cell sizes. This is because as cell sizes increase to the point where decision making is affecting strangers, people stop caring about them and act disinterestedly or selfishly. As a result correct decision making is not motivated and further the consolidation of so much power into so few hands lends itself easily to that power being seized by a totalitarian regime.

I would willingly admit that the communism, as defined by those who derived from the theories of Karl Marx, is not the opposite of democracy. In practice, it certainly is.

This is not the case. You are trying to define "communism" as only extreme applications of communism with very large cell sizes or in fact socialism, where everyone is in one cell. This is completely wrong. All states subscribe to a blend of capitalism, socialism, and communism and the communist component is applied almost everywhere in ways that are not Marxism. The atomic family within the US completely fits the definition of a communist cell. A family shares a home, utilities, food, etc. and the decision making is made collectively, although not necessarily equitably. Aside from that, within the US, co-ops, communes, and monasteries are all communist cells. For example, I know a lot of people in a server colocation co-op. They all donate time or old servers or money to maintain a number of co-located servers which they share for Web hosting, e-mail, IRC, and a number of other services. Together they get better rates, to the point of being absurdly cheap. That also fits the definition of a communist cell, even though they only share one given resource. In many places around the world villages act as officially recognized communist cells, most of which are democratically operated. To claim that all applications of communism are anti-democratic is simply uninformed.

Moreover, automatically assuming someone is brainwashed because you didn't bother to consider what communism really implies kind of detracts from whatever point you thought you were making.

The US was subjected to a planned and directed campaign of propaganda designed to confuse and misinform the public about what communism is, ironically, in a cold war against socialists. Claiming that people are brainwashed is not so far fetched. Economists recognize that every economy is to some degree socialist and to some degree communist or it is unlikely to be stable for any length of time. China and Cuba both practice more socialism than is the norm. The US is about average, but applies it in uncommon ways. China and Cuba are also both capitalist to a large extent and both are moving more and more in that direction.

If you're looking for extremely communist countries (as opposed to socialist), look to countries with very large communist cell sizes. Madagascar, for example, theoretically has three layers of government: communes, states, and national. Realistically, the states basically do not exist. Most of the country lives in small villages and each village, acts as a communist cell sharing a large number of resources. Whether that extreme cell size is beneficial or not is rather academic and hard to determine without normalizing a lot of factors. Of interest to US residents, however, is the changing cell sizes in our own country. Among the affluent and shrinking middle class, cell sizes are decreasing as divorce becomes more common and individuals who do not marry are less discriminated against. At the same time, among the very poor, cell sizes are increasing as the very poor move more and more to larger extended families for housing and resources. It is going to be hard to sort out the affects of such simultaneous changes, but don't doubt there will be changes. Interesting stuff.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (3, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668990)

two of the most prototypical communist nations,

"Communist nation" is an oxymoron.

Just because western media has chosen to call these states communist does not make it so. They don't even call themselves communist, but socialist, just as the Soviet Union also never claimed to be communist, since making that claim would shake the very ideological foundation that the Soviet leaders used to excuse their massive abuses of power and lack of democracy. Their excuse was that the sacrifices of the people was needed to build a society that could once in the future become communist - Soviet leaders presented this future as anything from a couple of generations to a thousand years into the future, all the while they moved their country ever further away from the ideological principles they claimed to believe in.

You certainly appear to not have "considered what communism really implies".

For one, communism implies the withering away of the state. The state in Marxist theory has as it's primary purpose the oppression of one class by another, and so in a classless society the state would cease to exist in any meaningful form. Or did you miss that part of Marxist theory? It's the central thesis of Lenin's "State and Revolution"

Presumably you also missed the whole "classless" part. A society where the state retains power over the populace simply can't be communist as that power need to be exercised by someone, and those "someone" would have privileges that make them a separate class from the populace at large. And unless you truly are brainwashed it should be blatantly obvious that countries like Cuba and China are as divided by class as countries like the US.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670784)

What is with the brainwashing baloney? It's like you're trying to flame bait. Your points are exactly along the lines of what I am saying -- that defining a communist government such as those in China and Cuba should immediately draw the distinction between those countries and the state of Kerala. My main point is that, de facto, using the term communism implies much of what Kerala is NOT. It was the intention of the original poster to use communism and literacy rate in an irrelevant and incorrect manner, designed just to incite this kind of flamewar.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669968)

Yes. And as far as I understand, comparing communism with democracy is like comparing oranged with potatoes [1]. Communism means that the state handles the production and distribution of goods, the private sector is small (barbers, bakers, etc). Democracy means that the people can elect their government. A democratic society can also be a communist society, the people elect the government that will handle the production and distribution of goods.

Now, the problem is that when people hear the word "communism", they think of either Russia (the former Soviet Union) or China. Both states were not democratic (for different reasons each: Russia had the Czar before and I don't know about China).

--

[1] lets leave Apples outside of this :-P

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670988)

Communism means that the state handles the production and distribution of goods, the private sector is small

While I am not in wild disagreement with the other things you write this is simply not true. In fact, communism means the dying off of the state, see the great other posts in the current subthread or read up on marxist theory. Or, heck, even Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownership of the means of production.
(emphasis by me)

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671584)

First, I did say "as far as I understand". Even if there is no state in Communism, the point remains that in the free market is not let up to decide what is been produced, how much, and where it will be distributed.

Re:NOT COMMUNIST (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#17672834)

Hard to say since it was never tried :) But as long as the means of production are in common ownership, I don't think free markets would have to be necessarily ruled out.

FAILZORS?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666802)

What have happened with Slashdot? (1)

nrdlnd (97720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666846)

I will probably get a zero or minus for this. I don't understand how Slashdot can publish this in this way. Is the 'james.infidel' that published the story someone from Microsoft? What has "communist government" to do with this? It's nothing in the referred articles that says anything about 'communist government'! I think Slashdot has been taken over by an organized campaign - guess where from? We use to call it FUD! The articles referred to are interesting but NOT the Slashdot ingress!

Re:What have happened with Slashdot? (1)

lzmbr (906441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17672874)

What FUD?

...the Communist government of Kerala (the state with the highest literacy rate in India) has announced its all-out support for FOSS...
It sounds more like a Pro-Communist propaganda than FUD against FOSS.

Re:What have happened with Slashdot? (1)

james.infidel (1053244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17677050)

To be frank i didn't know that it was a crime to use the term 'Communist Govt.'. A crash course in kerala politics should make things clear. I'll do it in 3 sentences. Kerala is a state ruled by two different fronts. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) headed by the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM), and the United Democratic Front (UDF) headed by the Indian National Congress. (INC). The UDF can easily be 'bought' by big companies like microsoft, and they can cement their presence in Kerala. Contarary to that, the LDF has taken a bold step to support the Democratic and ethical values of Free Software, along with the Economic advantages that Free software provides. I posted this item commenting the bold move by the LDF that is currently ruling the state. (Communist Govt. is a very widely used term here, and it doesn't have a negative meaning. And of course, i am not an agent from Microsoft. :)

linux will take over world with win32 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17666880)

once wine reaches 1.0 who will want the disadvantage of moving to microsoft's 64-bit platform? I imagine if microsoft decides not to continue to support win32, ISV's will. although i have to admit short of drivers for devices, i don't really see a need for win32, but there is a ton of software that is written for it. I suspect once wine comes close to 1.0 microsoft will anounce it's own version of wine on linux. As much money has been invested in java as a hedged bet against microsoft, ppl could have invested in C and gtk+ and linux, because like java, linux runs on everything. However it's good to know if you have the java source you can make it to compile on linux and run it, without ibm or sun's java. Linux is the glue that is ruling the world and microsoft will not be able to successfully abandon the win32 api, without going bankrupt first.

Its obvious (-1, Flamebait)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17666948)

An Indians "knows"......you can't beat free!

Re:Its obvious (-1, Flamebait)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671466)

Oh Great! An Indian gets flamed for making an Indian joke. Slashdoters never cease to amaze me.

Breaking news! (-1, Troll)

CDarklock (869868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667184)

This just in: poor people like free stuff.

I'm so glad we have the news media to tell us these things.

ok but (1)

arifirefox (1031488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667296)

Governments rarely choose anything that makes economic sense. I don't want FOSS to be compared to the $600 toilet seat or the "Big Dig." I'm more impressed when FOSS software is chosen because it actually makes sense and not as some part of political agenda.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667340)

Of course the Indians also manufactured drugs that were patented in the United States and didn't give a damn. What's going to happen when Indians start selling software built on open source code to the rest of the world? You can't touch them. So all of you guys jumping up and down for India adopting OSS, this just means that all your work will go into making someone else rich. Well played.

Go for it Kerala! (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667488)

I'm really interested as a whole state means quite a population. I wonder if India might become the first major country to move beyond rhetoric and really take on FOSS. It would be quite a driver if this actually happens.

Surely the fact that Kerala has a communist majority in its democratically elected government is pretty irrelevant beyond making a headline to get USians excited?

Quid Pro Quo (2, Interesting)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17667580)

India is profiting from outsourcing of American jobs. But, what are they suppose to buy from us. Software seems to be one of the last industries to actually employed Americans. If India is going to FOSS, then software industry would suffer from the lost customers. Call me stupid, but isn't trade done best when the door swings both ways. I don't see how we are to sustain our economy with growing trade deficits with Asian countries. I don't see the silver lining in India going FOSS.

Re:Quid Pro Quo (1)

jmelchio (681199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669218)

I thought doors that swing both ways were mostly designed as props for physical comedy routines.

On a more serious note, you assume North Americans can never compete with Indians when FOSS is part of the mix. That is a bit of a sad statement and I hope that will not be the case. Obviously it changes the landscape but I sure hope that we will find that companies with North American developers will find ways to compete in that environment.

If you believe in a free market economy you will have to apply that across the board and not in isolation. The more wealth gets distributed across the globe the smaller the differences that create these opportunities in low cost countries will be.

Re:Quid Pro Quo (0)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17672098)

This might cheer you up:

``India is profiting from outsourcing of American jobs.''

And the USA is profiting from cheaper labor.

``Software seems to be one of the last industries to actually employed Americans. If India is going to FOSS, then software industry would suffer from the lost customers.''

Perhaps, but I think there always will be demand for work done on-site or with at least a realistic possibility of getting people on-site. This includes software development.

``Call me stupid, but isn't trade done best when the door swings both ways.''

Yes. In fact, in the absence of coercion (e.g. guns pointed at your head), that's the only way trade is done. Or, at least, both parties _think_ they will gain something.

``I don't see the silver lining in India going FOSS.''

You get better Free software.

Re:Quid Pro Quo (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17672582)

What makes you think they pay for software? From what I've heard, Asia's full of pirated Windows and such.

Microsoft attempted to reverse the decision (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17667590)

...with $24 worth of beads. Ballmer threw a chair when he found out they were the wrong kind of Indians.

Literacy (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17668942)

Incidently, Kerala happens to be most literate state of India. Though ppl have been electing communist govt mostly and the state is notoriously known for "too many unions - too less work". I would really doubt if any vendor would be willing to step in even if the govt there bans the FOSS.

This is ironic (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669640)

When an old article on Slashdot is posted, everyone gets on top of it like white on rice. But when an old article about Linux [financialexpress.com] is posted, it seems to be coined as "another victory..."

This began in August 2006.

They are confused (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671398)

They think it is "OUT Source" Software

Are we missing the point? (1)

gbalaji (1044174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17671680)

Despite the poor slashdot summary, the interesting info from the article was that this Indian state will give preference to FOSS companies. If Indian states adopt FOSS on a large scale, it will give enormous lift to the FOSS community worldwide. By adopt I mean using FOSS alone in all state institutions, funding FOSS projects especially in Indian languages and providing tax benefits etc to private enterprises which adopt FOSS. Will Kerala or any other Indian government go to that extent? They can start by making gov.in websites browser neutral.

Hindu : info (0, Offtopic)

anand78 (832850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17673108)

Slightly off topic : How many of you know what a Hindu is. I am in US and interacted with a lot of folks here who think all Brown skins Indian looking folks are Muslims. Never realizing that 80% of Indians are Hindu's, a religion older than Christianity or Islam. Buddhas are an offshoot of Hinduism. Another interesting fact in Terms of numbers India has the largest population of Muslims.

OSS can only compete via govt mandate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17674662)

I like how OSS can't compete on its own, but only thru govt mandate. And this particular government is run by the Communist party. Big surprise there. Both OSS disciples and Communists are ideological utopianists that try to ram their utopias down everyone's throats. And they do that ramming thru government, meaning, at the point of a gun, ultimately.

A natural fit (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17675490)

This makes perfect sense. Neither group bathes!
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