[Fsf-friends] Fwd: [FSUG-Bangalore] Groklaw picked up NITC Students Open Letter & Todays Hindu Report

Praveen A pravi.a at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 10:02:39 IST 2008

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anivar Aravind <anivar.aravind at gmail.com>
Date: 2008/4/15
Subject: [FSUG-Bangalore] Groklaw picked up NITC Students Open Letter
& Todays Hindu Report
To: Free Software Users Group - Bangalore <fsug-bangalore at mm.gnu.org.in>


  Anyway, the protests continue, for the simple reason that people are
 disgusted by what they saw, I gather, and they understand what's at
 stake. In India there was an Open Letter to Wipro, Infosys and TCS
 published recently by students at the National Institute of Technology.
 It begins like this:

     This letter is to express our deep disappointment over your open
 support to the OOXML format forced through ISO by Microsoft. Being the
 top IT giants and thus the representatives of the IT industry in the
 country, it is a great shock to us that you do not stand with academia
 of the country and its representatives like the IITs, IIMs and IISc in
 supporting the Open Document Format (ODF) which is a true Free and Open
 Standard already recognised as an ISO Standard.

 Of course, India voted against OOXML, but the students noticed the vote

     1. National Informatics Center - NO
     2. Center for Development of Advanced Computing - NO
     3. Computer Society of India - NO
     4. Department of IT - NO
     5. IBM - NO
     6. Institute for Electronic Governance - Absent
     7. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - NO
     8. Indian Institute of Science - NO
     9. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi - NO
     10. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay - NO
     11. Infosys - YES
     12. Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkatta - NO
     13. Manufacturers Association of IT - Abstain
     14. Microsoft - YES
     15. National Association of Software and Services Companies - YES
     16. National Institute of Smart Governance - Absent
     17. Reserve Bank of India - Absent
     18. Red Hat - No
     19. Standardization Testing and Quality Certification Directorate - NO
     20. Sun - NO
     21. Tata Computer Services - YES
     22. Wipro - YES (for changing India's vote from NO to Abstain)

 The students noticed such fine details, and their letter was a request
 for an explanation. By the way, did you notice that Sun voted No? Just
 to put to rest the conspiracy theorists out there busily spinning some

 Todays Hindu Report doesn't get all the details right, but they noticed
 the same thing the students did:

     The BIS, which represents India at ISO, had 19 members of which 13
 voted against Microsoft's OOXML. Many academics and colleges
 (NIT-Calicut among others) have written open letters to TCS, Infosys,
 NASSCOM, Wipro (that voted to abstain) and Microsoft (voted in favour of
 OOXML). There is a rising fear among academics and advocates of free
 software standards that BIS will come under pressure in the absence of
 any national policy. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the only two States who
 have a policy in place.

     "Very big voices like NASSCOM and Infosys that have not
 participated in even one meeting have voted irresponsibly. We fear that
 if such lobbying continues, academics and individuals like us will be
 put on the defensive, unless there is a policy in place," said Nagarjuna
 G., professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, who was
 part of the technical committee of BIS. This committee alone identified
 200-odd technical flaws in OOXML's 7,000 page document — the Open
 Document Format is 600 pages — and more than 1,000 others were
 identified internationally.

 I see I am not alone in viewing OOXML as a move of aggression. Microsoft
 must be realizing by now by the outpouring of dismay all over the world
 that this isn't just a typical vendor fight, where winner takes all and
 everyone shakes hands and moves on. The public cares about ODF, because
 it realizes it will impact every one of us directly, and we see the
 obvious, that OOXML is a spoiler. This has nothing to do with market share.

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