[Fsf-friends] Re: [??.??.??.?] Red Hat signs MoU with Kerala govt

Praveen A pravi.a@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Fri Jun 8 19:24:47 IST 2007

2007/6/8, Sandip Bhattacharya <sandip at lug-delhi.org>:

You will get a clearer background if you check Anivar's mail which I
forwarded here.
> 1. Who do you think a government department should contact if they have any IT
>    need? A local LUG? fsf-india? Or would it be normal to give out a public tender?

It is nothing new. It was the way all this time - and the shock came
because they -- claiming to setup a knowledge society -- didn't
consulted us -- where as the previous government did it in every step
from deciding on syllabus, forming support groups, deciding to dump
proprietary infrastructure ...

You know who decided to dump the proprietary stuff from the IT@ School
syllabus? The decision was taken by the teachers (85% of teachers
supported an all Free Software environment). It was not an
undemocratic and/or secret decision/process. We have fought for the
establishment of Free Software based curriculum and it isn't quite
heartening to see such a change in the direction of government (we
hoped to get more support and it is turning out to be the opposite).
We are asking for public consultation and transparency (at least to
the extend of the previous government). We have nothing against Red
Hat. The problem is the way government is acted.

> 2. Who do you think should be on the lookout for government tenders, and pay the
>    tender fees, put forward their solution and promise support? A local LUG? FSF-India?
>    I think FSF-India has better things to do than that.

The earlier government have consulted the community (teachers, Free
Software enthusiasts) before making decisions (some times we had to
take tough stand - like threaten to boycott the exams if the exam
software can't be run on Free Software platform).

> 3. Who do you think a government department should contact when their brand new printer
>    needs to be installed on the Linux desktops? A Local lug? FSF-India? If you look at how
>    Linux newbies are treated in any LUG (in India, or anywhere else), I think not(try saying
>    RTFM to a government department?).

There are government agencies - like CDAC, CDIT... working in this
field and have the skills and ability to do it. And we have no problem
if it is Red Hat either - what we raise is the concern about IT at School
undergoing a change. It has been our hard work that made this
possible. We have a working system and good support from the teachers.
We have no issues with this part of the deal -- Red Hat giving support
for government agencies.

> If we are interested in seeing Free software being used widely in government adhering to Free
> software principles, we should be setting up a completely commercial entity to do so, whose
> primary work would be to do 1,2,3.

We made it work without such a commercial entity -- IT at SCHOOL, it is
proof of concept plus running code. We have every right to be

> There is no point being shocked, otherwise.

I think you didn't get the point.


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