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Re: Indian education ala open source

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  • dcameronski
    Hello –hc, I am inspired by some of your thoughts and agree that common ground is well within our grasp (if not already trodden together). My empathy with
    Message 1 of 28 , May 31, 2003
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      Hello –hc,

      I am inspired by some of your thoughts and agree that common ground is
      well within our grasp (if not already trodden together).

      My empathy with your choice to use a 286 and text-based mail is strong
      and no doubt originates from a background where I entered employment
      with IBM immediately prior to the invention of the PC. I was thus
      privileged to witness first-hand the enormous impact of the `PC
      Revolution' within the company and later a significant portion of the
      world. I own and still sometimes use an IBM PC from the first ever
      production batch. Somewhat amazingly this machine still works and acts
      as a constant reminder of just how far we have come, yet of how little
      we have advanced in some areas of PC computing.

      If I read your post correctly, your two prime areas of concern are 1)
      The matter of how to find appropriate methodologies to properly
      substantiate or otherwise claims that OSS offers savings in TCO (or a
      higher ROI); and 2) The matter of software / hardware obsolescence
      within the sphere of continual ICT innovations (how do we
      differentiate between the truly innovative and other developments
      offering no measurable gains and potentially developed simply to
      promote a need to upgrade proprietary systems?).

      On the matter of innovation; may I politely suggest that your
      text-based 286 is more than capable of accessing the `net using a
      variety of tools, however were you blind or otherwise disabled this
      might not be such a simple matter. Innovation often impacts on a
      minority hence the majority may question the validity; yet this does
      not discount the value of continually seeking improvements for the
      betterment of all potential recipients.

      A great deal of innovation offers no measurable gain (to me) yet to
      others these newer features may well pave the way to an ability to
      access services previously denied through a lack of appropriate
      technologies. Not all innovations fit a category of necessarily
      improving performance or degrees of accessibility, however I doubt we
      can discount all innovations as being valueless simply because they do
      not offer a value to us. The very fact we participate on this forum
      suggest we are the fortunate few probably not requiring further
      innovations to improve our levels of access; yet we remain a minority.

      May I further question the matter of associating software types and
      costings to ROI calculations and seek clarification on why you believe
      this is a difficult task? Perhaps we are attempting to overly
      complicate a rather simple accounting process by seeking variables
      that do not in truth contribute to an ROI analysis (analysis
      paralysis?). I am currently assisting an NGO consultant on another
      forum who is having difficulty with this task, and I would like to
      consider as many perspectives as possible.

      Rgds, Don
    • Don Cameron
      ... increasing (snip). Interestingly Subbiah the research seems to suggest otherwise - OSS usage is increasing despite the activity of zealots, and OSS would
      Message 2 of 28 , Jun 2, 2003
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        >> It is because a number of zealots are active the share of OSS is
        increasing (snip).

        Interestingly Subbiah the research seems to suggest otherwise - OSS
        usage is increasing despite the activity of zealots, and OSS would be
        far more widely adopted were emotive promotions replaced by promotions
        (supported by factual analysis) outlining the real gains for OSS in
        business (hardly surprising considering OSS is mostly designed for use
        in the business world).

        May I reiterate my support for the concept of OSS and the underlying
        reason I continue to post on this thread. Any apparent reluctance on my
        part to support emotive argument is born of having sat through many
        meetings on the subject of software developments and witnessing the
        outcomes of this approach. Time and time again I have participated in
        circumstances where OSS truly offered a benefit over proprietary
        solutions, yet was not adopted due to an underlying fear of management
        being tied to a 'geek-driven' methodological approach. Business managers
        have little interest in the software philosophical debate; they want
        solutions supported by evidence of true business gain.

        Might I suggest this need was most strongly portrayed for Indian
        interests in the recent commentary by President Kalam at the I2T.
        Somewhat quoted out of context on a few forums, anyone who read the full
        text would note how carefully the President worded generic support for
        OSS after he cited a need for the Indian software industry to magnify
        it's contribution to the national GDP by a massive ten-fold amount
        (something hardly likely to occur through freely developing software
        under the GNU and giving the source-code away!)

        To quote the Indian President: "Let us our IT industry and economic
        growth employing 500,000 people earning $10 billion which is less than
        one percent of the world market, from another perspective. At the same
        time a typical international software company with 50,000 employees
        earns $20 billion through its world wide operations" (and) "Hence our
        software industry has to move up the value chain and come up with
        innovative products that will sweep the world".

        The Presidential support for OSS was a political comment aimed at
        decreasing Indian reliance on imported proprietary software; it was an
        acknowledgement of India's need to turn local software development into
        a (commercial and proprietary) national GDP asset; it was far from
        supportive of the concept of local OSS development, even though
        acknowledging the social gains inherent in OSS. Comments of a similar
        vein (highlighting a need to increase the profitability of locally
        developed software) have been made by many national leaders over recent

        My hope is to see OSS evolve into a truly viable alternative to
        proprietary software so potential gains in ROI can be just as attractive
        to our world leaders as the gains inherent in marketing proprietary code
        (a return on ROI is just as significant a contribution to GDP as
        proprietary software profitability, yet clearly this fact has been lost
        in the continual promotions of the emotive reasons to adopt OSS).

        Rgds, Don
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