jump to navigation

Kerala is Open Country September 25, 2006

Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.

This is probably old news to those of you who follow news of Linux gaining new ground. The state of Kerala in India is promoting the use of Linux in government schools (also at Yahoo! News).

Old news, yes, but something that makes me really proud. I am from Kerala, and have lost count of the number of times I have had to explain how we occassionally have a deomcratically elected communist government (we were the first state in the world to have an elected communist government), or how we’re so industrially backward despite having the highest literacy rate in India. Blame it on (or thank) the Kerala Model of development. I owe a lot to the educational system in my state. A third of the population of Kerala emigrate, and there is a popular joke that no matter where (in the world) you go, you will definitely find a tea-shop with a Keralite running it.

What makes me write about this now is the mention of my sister’s school, Cotton Hill Girls’ High School, in this recent BusinessWeek article that refers to the Kerala-adopts-Open Source story, and, among other things, a new breed of students who say, “Windows?, Never heard of it.” Cotton Hill has (or had, I can’t find a citation) the distinction of being the school with the largest number of students in all of Asia.

The government hasn’t “banned” Microsoft – far from it, schools still can choose what they want. The state ideologically encourages the use of Open Source, and stands to benefit financially from it. More importantly the students will definitely benefit more by getting exposed to free culture and open source early, since I have a feeling that the future is going to be “open”.


1. A malayalee - September 26, 2006

But they use _free_ instead of _open_.
and _GNU/Linux_ instead of _Linux_.

2. poningru - September 26, 2006

you are?
a sharma? weird last name for a malu dude.
well always nice to meet a malu online.

3. Another concerned Indian - September 26, 2006

Yes, and they will grow up not knowing what mp3 is too.

What a shame.

4. beza1e1 - September 26, 2006

So Linux *is* communist after all.

5. Wam - September 26, 2006

“Yes, and they will grow up not knowing what mp3 is too.

What a shame.”

MP3?, Never heard of it.

You mean MP3 with DRM? me neither. So what?

6. ubuntonista - September 26, 2006

poningru, Malayalam is not my mother tongue, but I know it pretty well having studied it for 10 years…

bezale1, unless you are from the United States, in which case that word has a lot of unneccesary baggage, you’ll know that “communist” is not such a bad word, after all. It is a philosophy, like libertarianism, or capitalism — good and bad in equal measure.

7. Kerala: Open Country « Ubuntista - September 27, 2006

[…] Leggo in uno dei miei blog preferiti che Kerala, una regione dell’India, sta adottando Linux massicciamente. Non a caso l’autore del blog in questione è originario del Kerala. […]

8. Another concerned Indian - September 27, 2006

“MP3?, Never heard of it.

You mean MP3 with DRM? me neither. So what? ”

What a fool. Obviously, your tastes in life need to improve. What do you listen to? .ogg files? Give me a break.

You perhaps have the typical Linux user attitude. If it doesn’t work with Linux, don’t fix Linux. Instead don’t use the technology, for that would be easier.

And they speak of ‘Linux on the desktop’

And what’s wrong with DRM? I understand open source developers write code and give it away for free, but doesn’t mean artists who sing should give away their songs for free as well. And without the DRM, the ‘open source fanatics’ will probably make a million copies of the songs and distribute it all over, just like they do with their code.

Midhun Dev John Thattil - March 9, 2011

man I am new to this read your comment.

whats your point man?
do you want to say that open source is bad or something?
I think you can explain me better as I am beginner in linux. pls if you wish to reply me you can use my email too.
its mjmmidhun@gmail.com

9. ubuntonista - September 27, 2006

Hey concerned Indian,

Cool it. It is no use calling people names. That doesn’t help –neither do stereotypes regarding open source developers and users.

“…don’t fix Linux..” : but how would someone fix the problem where legally-encumbered formats such as the mp3 format, which have patents have legal restrictions for distribution and use? Fixing it is a social/legal problem, not a technical problem the developers can fix.

Which is why it makes sense to try and fix the problem socially, by encouraging the use of free, un-encumbered alternative formats, such as .ogg. You might perhaps know that life isn’t so bad for someone who uses only .oggs – there are music players that play .ogg files too.

Have a great day, and think with an open mind 🙂

10. Jan Stedehouder - September 28, 2006

Old news, but still good news. This is one of the reasons I support open source software and Linux, because it makes it possible for people or countries to pursue IT skills without a hefty price tag.

As far as creative rights are concerned, why not take a look at the Creative Commons license? Together with open source software this brings maximum freedom for the artist to distribute his creative works and for the users to know exactly what he/she can or can not do with it.

I like Ubuntu and I wanted to use it for my project. It just needed some extra packages to use it for creating multimedia content. With the use of Recontructor it was possible to remaster an Ubuntu ISO and distribute that again. This is freedom. Does freedom equal communism? Don’t think so.

We can only hope more states, countries, organizations and schools will consider a similar move as Kerala.

11. Sameer - October 21, 2006

Hey Carthik,
I first landed in your website from google searching for screencast software for ubuntu and.. I heard your voice recognised your mallu touch there.. but i later went to your personal blog and saw ur last name sharma. I was thinking i was worng until i found this post which proved me right!!. Good, Im too from kerala now in US of A as Borad says..
If you have time (which I dont think you might have) join ksspexchange yahoo groups. KSSP as you might know is the official discussion list of kerala shastra sahithya parishad.
Another thing I like the fact that you dont have any ads on this blog, thats good!
I really want to start a malayalam blog dedicated t ubuntu. by the way we (kssp) has started telephone help desk for linux.

12. Tamil Nadu Embraces Linux « Ubuntu Blog - January 4, 2007

[…] January 4, 2007 Posted by ubuntonista in news. trackback Earlier last year, we saw how Kerala opened the doors of its schools to Linux. Now its the turn of its big neighbour, Tamil Nadu to choose Linux over […]

13. Anonymous - January 4, 2007

On the mp3 issue, the patents don’t apply every where so Kerala might be legally able to install the codecs for mp3s without issue.

And as for the knee jerk reaction of ‘Linux can’t play MP3s’, I’m having no trouble on my Ubuntu install, all it requires is installing one package, which is fairly easy under Linux since you can download and install %95 of software with one command (apt-get for Debian based). Many Linux distributions have MP3 support out of the box and its only breaking that law if your in America or another country that enforces software patents.

14. Ajay MV - February 3, 2007

Choosing open source technology in schools is a right thing to do to have a better generation.
Aim and objective of any GOVT. in the world should not be simply doing things in favor of any commercial establishments but to protect, enhance and value freedom of people. Everybody gets benefited from it.

I welcome the decision taken by Kerala Govt. and understand that lot of thought is applied there.

15. hpn - October 5, 2007


The yahoo link is Dud at the moment. Was looking for it to send it to a journalist friend of mine. Yahoo Index doesn’t have it either.

– h.p.

16. Kerala: Open Country - November 22, 2008

[…] in uno dei miei blog preferiti che Kerala, una regione dell’India, sta adottando Linux massicciamente. Non a caso […]

17. sikiş izle - September 26, 2010

So Linux *is* communist after all.

18. antalya ilaçlama - September 27, 2010

Yes, and they will grow up not knowing what mp3 is too.

19. porno sikiş - September 27, 2010

poningru, Malayalam is not my mother tongue, but I know it pretty well having studied it for 10 years…

20. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

But they use _free_ instead of _open_.
and _GNU/Linux_ instead of _Linux_.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: