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Tamil Nadu Embraces Linux January 4, 2007

Posted by Carthik in news.

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 Windows.

Tamil Nadu is a state in the south of India. The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), which is the government owned entity that brings IT-enabling services to the state has chosen Open Source solutions over Windows-based solutions.

ELCOT decided in favor of open-source software because of its lower cost than proprietary software from Microsoft Corp. and other vendors, C. Umashankar, managing director of ELCOT, said Wednesday. Open-source software also provides better ease of operation and higher security, he added.

Further, this could be just what is required for the state government to choose Linux as well. ELCOT will migrate to Linux at the server and the desktop levels. Something tells me they might choose Ubuntu for their desktop. Last year, the Ubuntu India mailing list saw some activity and the name ELCOT turned up back then too.

Ubuntu: Mom Loves it! December 17, 2006

Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.

A lot of moms (and dads) fall prey to the “Your computer is too old – buy a new one!” scam. First a little explanation as to how the scam develops:

  1. Mom buys new computer
  2. Computer comes with “Free” AOL/NetZero/random ISP account, as well as loads of unwanted software
  3. A month later, the “free” antivirus’ license has expired, so has the “free” firewall’s license
  4. Mom uses computer for 6 months, so do an increasing number of trojans, spyware and adware
  5. Mom finds computer too slow
  6. A visit to the local electronics/computer store is planned
  7. Computer “diagnosed” at $60 per hour
  8. Diagnosis: Computer too old, buy a new one, OR, we can fix it for you in 4 hours (and it will cost $240)
  9. Mom buys new computer
  10. Computers-at-home+=1
  11. GOTO 1

So mom ends up with more than one computer, none of which are “fast” or maybe none of which work reliably and reasonably. What is the fix? Use Ubuntu!

That’s what I learnt from the post at Shooting the Kids(relax, it is about photography) about how his Mom loves Ubuntu.

My mom now owns 3 laptops and two desktops (one I’ve been using for a couple of years) – none of which are older than 5 years. Sound like your parents?…Tired of this trend, I decided to install Ubuntu on my mom’s new laptop…My mom’s become an evangelist to some of her friends. She told me that last week she and her lifelong friend had been on the phone talking about how they love their new Ubuntu systems and comparing cool features they’ve discovered. I think it’s fair to say that Linux has come home.

I admit the guy had to step in to help the wireless card along for one Laptop, but that is not so bad – every once in a while I get calls from people I know asking for help with getting something-or-the-other working in Windows XP! So I think, yes, it is fair to say Ubuntu is coming home.

OpenOffice.org Design Competition Winners Announced December 13, 2006

Posted by Carthik in microsoft, news, office.

The results for the OO.org template and clipart design competition are out!

LXer reports:

The contest resulted in some superior and innovative work. “Some of the templates show just how advanced and flexible Openoffice.org’s OpenDocument format is as both a Word and Spreadsheet ODF processor. The winning templates and many others breaks a myth that Openoffice.org cannot do advanced editing functions like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. It is obvious that Openoffice.org has come of age and is more than just a free alternative to MS Office but is an extremely worthy competitor” said Russell Ossendryver

All submitted entries, including the winners are available from the OpenOffice.org documentation gallery page

Winners include a thesis kit, a perpetual calendar, clipart for teachers, and entire sets of clipart for business and home users.

The sponsor, WorldLabel had enabled OO.org to offer $5000 in prizes! Russell Ossendryver wrote in to tell me about the results. What is interesting is that he adds, later in the email:

I received C&D letter “without prejudice” from the power house lawyers of Microsoft Corporation telling me that
Worldlabel.com is misusing the Microsoft Office Trademark and it must be removed to resolve the matter. The Logo link was on a page with free resources linking to a page on MS Office with free resources and has been there for 7 years. I have been wanting to remove it in any case and did. It seems like the more I will do for FOSS the more my company will get attacked.

He then goes on to say that his resolve to champion Open Source solutions has not diminished one bit. Thank you for putting your money where your mouth is, Russell.

Can someone tell me why Microsoft, which is obviously such a huge market leader has to behave like a braindead school bully? I used to read Scobleizer, the blog by a now-former-MS-employee and used to enjoy some of his stories about advocacy. How do they think actions such as this one would help, in any way (little or big) to improve the image of the company or its products? Maybe I am spoiled by openness and freedom — I just don’t get it.

Ubuntu Cookies, anyone? December 11, 2006

Posted by Carthik in cookies, guides, news, ubuntu.

With the memory of the Ubuntu Cake War still fresh in our minds, let us turn to cookies.

Ubuntu Sugar Cookies

It doesn’t really surprise me that the best Linux distribution also has the logo that translates into the best sugar cookie. Let’s face it: Ubuntu is one sweet distro. I apologize now to Canonical Ltd. for unauthorized use of their logo. Let’s hope that in the spirit of Ubuntu, they will be as awesome in their forgiveness as they are in their flavor of Linux.

This one doesn’t stop at just the pics – detailed instructions on how to bake-get the cookies are included!

The OpenOffice.org Design Challenge – Fame, $5000 in Prizes September 29, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

The openoffice.org documentation project has announced a Template & Clipart Contest.

The total prize money is to the tune of $5000. WorldLabel, which has been long a strong champion of OpenOffice.org, has set aside the amount for the competition’s winners.

The goal is to increase the trove of templates and clipart. The current collection of template samples leaves a huge gap that needs to be filled. Step up and fill that gap – for a prize 😉 Winners will also have the option of including their winning entries in the OpenOffice.org installation sets available from the site.

If you are interested, visit the Documentation Project for more information. Everyone is eligible and everyone is encouraged to participate. The contest officially starts this week and ends 13
October 2006
, on our birthday. Winning entries will be judged by a panel of three and winners will be announced 1 November 2006.

For those of who want to get started here are a few guides to openoffice.org template design:
1. Instructions to create OO.org templates from openoffice.blogs.com
2. A .sxw openoffice.org document describing how to create and use templates.

Get started already, and good luck!

Credit: Russell Ossendryver for writing in to inform me of the competition. I edited his email and added some links and stuff to make it more useful to aspiring designers.

Ubuntu Thong Spotted on BBC website – Oh, and Bill Clinton talks about Ubuntu September 29, 2006

Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.

Imagine my surprise when I find a picture of the Ubuntu thong on BBC.

Ubuntu. That was what Bill Clinton told the Labour party conference it needed to remember this week. “Society is important because of Ubuntu.”

But what is it? Left-leaning sudoku? U2’s latest album? Fish-friendly sushi?

No, it’s a word describing an African worldview, which translates as “I am because you are,” and which means that individuals need other people to be fulfilled.

The operating system I love gets a brief mention (besides the thong, that is). It is good to see how the word (and hopefully the philosophy) is gaining currency. Ubuntu the OS has very high ideals to aim for, and very high standards to maintain.

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”.

lilo Will be Missed September 17, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

lilo aka Rob Levin was one of the key people behind the freenode IRC network, on which all of Ubuntu’s IRC chat rooms are offered. Its the first IRC network I ever used, and the one I use the most. Rob was the driving force behind freenode, and freenode is a free service. Ergo, he’s had to live a pretty simple life – not a “rich” life by any means.

lilo passed away earlier in the day. I came to know this through a friend’s blog. Looks like he was killed in a hit-and-run road accident while riding his bike.

I once chatted with him, and he came across as a very nice, humble guy. I even wrote on my blog asking folks to lend him a helping hand, and became a freenode donor myself. I strongly believe that every one of us should pitch in and help support those who dedicate their lives to making ours better.

Thank you lilo, and thanks to all the folks who work on Linux, Ubuntu, and everything that is free and good.

lilo will certainly be missed. My heartfelt condolences to his family. They too have paid a price for the freedom I enjoy, and they’ll be missing him far more than I do.

Free “Powered by Ubuntu” Stickers August 12, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

You can get four free “powered by Ubuntu” stickers just like the one shown below at the expense of a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Powered by Ubuntu stickers
This comes to you courtesy of the folks at System76.

TV Interview with Mark Shuttleworth – Video August 9, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

Mark Shuttleworth was interviewed on More4 News. The page mentions the fact that Mark does not do too many TV interviews. In the video Mark states the case for Ubuntu being a competitor to Windows, and talks bout how it is a wonderful oppurtunity to effect change during one’s lifetime. Talk of philanthropy and technology dominates the interview.

When you’ve made £400m before your 30th birthday -you’d probably want to spend the rest of your days living the highlife.
But not Mark Shuttleworth who made his fortune when he sold off his internet security company four years ago.
Since then, he has given half of it to charity and bought a £13m pound ticket to space station.
Now he’s working hard to create a free software – which he hopes will rival Mircosoft. He has given a rare interview to More 4 News.

He doesn’t look like a millionaire, or behave like one :). May his tribe increase.