FOSS support for organisations (was) Re: [Fsf-friends] Re: [??.??.??.?] Red Hat signs MoU with Kerala govt

Sreejith sreejithsmadhavan@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Tue Jun 12 11:10:05 IST 2007

Pramode C.E. wrote:
>> I was asking a question here which you could have
>> found out if you had read my last complete
>> mail - " How can we ensure non-commercial, timely
>> and reliable support to organizations 
>> moving to FOSS solutions?". 
> It should be possible to build two kinds of support
> structures - (a) the local engineering colleges (at
> least a few of them) have students who are technically
> much more competent than so-called `support staff' of
> most big companies. Maybe, we might try forming some
> kind of `foss  development cells' in these colleges
> and put them to work actively solving problems. Yes,
> there are lots of practical difficulties (students
> can't work full time, you won't get them during exam
> time, ...), but at least, what is wrong in trying this
> out? 
I think the "FOSS Development Cell" is definitely a good idea.
As many of you who were involved in the Summer Workshop in Angadipuram 
know, that a similar idea regarding Technical support teams had come up 
during the discussion there and the 'FOSS Development Cell' (FDC) would 
be taking that idea to a much wider region and scope.
Currently one of the main issues is the proficiency of the local 
hardware vendors in GNU/Linux support.
So, we need to introduce the local hardware vendors to the scene. They 
already have a small, still efficient support staff their own (Most of 
them are not well trained in GNU/Linux). In order to leverage this 
current setup we need a three tiered structure.
At the very top level, we professional will given necessary technical 
and guidance support to the students of the "FOSS Dev Cells" in various 
engineering colleges.
At the next level, these trained students can then impart this knowledge 
to the technicians of the local hardware vendors.
If this is in place, then just as we do it now, these local hardware 
vendors can now provide assured service to all the technical problems 
that may be faced by the schools.
This structure would be faster and efficient than any support that Red 
Hat staff can deliver in Kerala.
In addition, this framework helps build community-level interaction, 
wherein people at the local level try to solve their own problems.

> (b) Even when you look at the commercial support
> angle, what is more sensible is developing enough
> expertise locally - kerala has an abundant supply of
> unemployed graduates - and most of them are not dumb.
> Why not think of training these people so that they
> can be gainfully self-employed as `FOSS technical
> consultants'.
> When we think `commercial', let's not think of big
> companies. Lets think of small, local enterprises. 
Professionals------>FDC--------->Local HW vendors--------->Schools

In the hierarchy, there already exist a financial link between the 
vendors and the schools. FDC can also expect some funding from the 
vendors as well mainly to support local community activities in 
respective colleges.
> Regards,
> Pramode
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