Re: Indian education ala open source
- 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.
>> It is because a number of zealots are active the share of OSS isincreasing (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).