Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Me, Kannada and IT

Me, Kannada and IT

Dear Shri Kumaraswamy,

Thanks a lot for your relentless efforts towards cleansing the mess created in Kannada software scenario. If I have to give the complete picture of my involvements with these, I need to start from my BARC days. Here it goes:

Scientist turned into computer expert

After my MSc (Chemistry) from Mysore Univ, I joined BARC, Mumbai, as a scientist in the year 1981. I started using computers there. I have used all sorts of computers starting from card-punching variety! Computer was a tool for a scientist. Very soon I got addicted to it. I wanted to use the computer but I realized that it is using me! Let me explain a bit of this. I was working in Chemistry Division of BARC. Scientists at the Physics Division were using computers. Chemists were away from computers. When PCs came in a big way in the year 1986, I brought in a PC culture to the scientist community of BARC. I was the first scientist to get a PC in the lab overtaking physicists and engineers. I interfaced many laboratory instruments to PC. I was almost like a computer scientist or electronics engineer. I wrote programs for automated experiments and then data processing. Those days, very few packages were available like the kind you see nowadays. I wrote programs for almost everything starting from simple X-Y plotting.

Kannada Sangha Anushakti Kendra

Kannada Sangha Anushakti Kendra is an organization by the Kannada scientists of BARC. It has about 600 members. I was an active member of the Sangha. I was also the secretary for one period. We used to conduct science seminars in Kannada and publish a science magazine in Kannada by name “beLagu”. There were some Kannada printing presses in Mumbai. We used to get our magazine printed from them. It used to be very tough for the press people to get the magazine come out without any errors as ours was a technical magazine. Sometimes the number of proofs given by them were as high as 11! At that time I had bought a PC at home utilizing the home PC loan of BARC (1989). We decided to do the DTP of our magazine ourselves. We bought the Akruti Kannada DTP software from ACES consultants. This is when I came to know S K Anand who owned ACES along with M S Shridhar. Now they own Cyberscape Multimedia. I was their first customer for the Kannada DTP package. I started doing the DTP of our beLagu magazine. My wife, Usha, helped a lot in typing Kannada text. Her typing speed was more than mine. Even now she types faster than me in Kannada. I was just composing and making artworks and drawings using CorelDraw. I also created the logo for our Sangha. beLagu is still continuing to use the layout and design originally made by me.

Kannada thrills on computers

Even before I got the Kannada DTP software at home, I used to do lot of experimentations with Kannada on computers. I used to digitize my name, feed it as X-Y values and then plot it on Calcomp plotter. Imagine the thrill I could derive by seeing my name plotted by computer -in the year 1984. We were using a scientific word-processor by name ChiWriter. It had a utility called fontdesigner. This utility was meant to add some symbols which were not found in the software. I created a complete Kannada font set using this fontdesigner. It used to take about one hour to type one paragraph in Kannada using this. This was not used by anyone other than me. Only meaningful use of this was the notices that I made for Kannada Sangha programs and one letter I wrote to my wife! I never claimed anywhere that I made a Kannada word-processor as back as 1988. That package was discarded as fast as it was made. That’s how things work in computer field. The average life of a technology in computer field is 3 years.

Turning the fate into meaningful use

In the year 1993, I was met with a scooter accident. I was bed-ridden for almost 7 months, thanks to the experimentations of BARC doctors :). Lying in the bed, keeping my PC by the side, I learnt Visual Basic (version 3). To learn a new language one has to make use of it, ie, speak in that language. Likewise to learn a programming language, one has to write programs using that language. In my case, being a hardcore Kannadiga, I did write my first Kannada program in Visual Basic. That was a game for small kids to learn Kannada alphabet. My son, Ninaada, learnt Kannada alphabet by playing that game. That game was later enhanced to include multimedia. This game called Kannada Kali is still available for free download at my web-site (http://www.vishvakannada.com/common/tantra.htm ). Many Kannada Sanghas all over the world are using this software.

Became a Netizen at Taiwan

In-spite of all my computer and Kannada activities, I could finish my PhD, publish research works in International journals, present papers at International seminars, etc, and could obtain a post-doctoral research fellowship at Taiwan! I went there in the month of Nov.1995. As soon as I went into the lab they gave me a PC. When I switched it ON, everything appeared in Chinese! I had to wait two weeks for the English version of Windows and other software to arrive for me from USA. That made me to ponder -”if Chinese can have everything on computers in Chinese language why can’t we have it in Indian languages?” I was the only Kannadiga present in Taiwan in that period (1995-96). If I have to listen to Kannada, I had to record my voice and then play it back! I was alone for almost six months as my family joined only for the second half of my stay there. During that period I became a very active Kannadiga on the newsgroup soc.culture.indian.karnataka.

First experiments on putting Kannada on the Net

There was a web-site by name Kannada Saahithya Puta put-up by Daththathreya Kulkarni, who was doing his PhD at Canada ( http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~kulki/kannada/kanindex.html ). This web-site was in Kanglish, ie., Kannada in English script. I contributed a lot for this site. I had carried the Akruti Kannada font with me but not the keyboard driver as it belonged to Kannada Sangha and it was needed at Mumbai for Kannada typing. With great labor, I could create some Kannada words as images for the web-site of Kulki. Even now you can find them there.

Myself, Mahesh Rao, Kulki, Holla, etc used to chat once in a week. I had already put up my web-site on the lab’s web-site. In that web-site, I put up a word “namaskaara” in Kannada script. I sent the Kannada font to Mahesh Rao while chatting and gave instructions on how to install the font. He installed the font and could see the word properly in Kannada script. When he informed me this, I felt like shouting eureka! (1996).

First Internet magazine and web-site in Kannada

I returned to India in Nov 1996. I was mentioning my experiment of putting a Kannada word on Internet to S K Anand. He, along with Ninad Pradhan, had already put up a Marathi web- site by name Maiboli. He wanted me to make a sample Kannada web-page to put up. Putting a Kannada web-site was already in my mind. I suggested Anand, that I will make a Kannada online magazine. He agreed. World’s first Kannada online magazine and Internet site, Vishva Kannada, was born in mid-Dec, 1996. Anand was supporting the magazine till the year 1999.

Programming languages in Indian languages

There is a scientist by name Dr S K Kataria in BARC. He was interested in putting Hindi on computers. He translated all the keywords of BASIC, C, FORTRAN and Pascal into Hindi. By the help of two students and technical help from M S Shridhar of ACES, he made Hindi versions of BASIC and Pascal. I got involved with him and made Kannada keywords for BASIC, Pascal, etc. But I had no students to make Kannada versions of these packages. But these words helped a lot during the creation of the first Kannada computer glossary which was published by Kannada Ganaka Parishat. I carried these works to the meetings that were held for making the glossary.

Return to home land

I was getting more and more addicted to computers. I decided to quit BARC and come to Bangalore. I had paid a lot of money (almost Rs. One lakh) to BARC to get relieved as I had executed a bond to go to Taiwan. S K Anand introduced me to Mohan Tambe of Innomedia at Bangalore who were into interactive TV. This Mohan Tambe was ex-CDAC man who was the brain behind the GIST card. I joined Innomedia as content head (June 1997). But I had to quit the company as it is impossible to work anyone with Tambe (1998). Anbarasan also had worked at Innomedia at the same time and quit due to the same reason.

First dynamic font for Indian languages

During Feb.1998, I added dynamic fonts for Vishva Kannada. I had to do a lot of experiments before achieving the success. Vishva Kannada is the first Indian language web-site to use dynamic font technology. Thanks should go to S K Anand who supported me in this endeavor.

Seeds of KGP

In Jan 1995, a seminar was conducted at BARC Training School Auditorium on computers. The seminar was in Kannada. I was the convener of this seminar. At that time itself I declared that Kannada language will remain as a spoken language if we don’t put Kannada into computers.

I had visited Udayavani office at Manipal and Prajavani office at Bangalore during last week of Dec. 1996. My objective was to explain them about the possibility of putting their newspapers and magazines on Internet. I showed them the printouts of Vishva Kannada. On Dec.29, 1996, there was a meeting of some Kannada enthusiasts at Bangalore, who also had realized the importance of putting Kannada on computers. S K Anand took me for that meeting. I met Shrinatha Shasthry, G N Narasimha Murthy and some more people there. The seeds for Kannada Ganaka Parishat were sowed that day. As a follow-up, people at Bangalore conducted their first seminar on Kannada and IT in the month of Feb 1997, which I attended and gave a lecture on Kannada on Internet. I came down from Mumbai to deliver that lecture.

Part-II: About KGP and myself (separate write-up will follow)

Thanks and regards,

Pavanaja

——————————

Dr. U.B. Pavanaja

CEO, Vishva Kannada Softech

Think Globally, Act locally
__________________________

Dear Kumaraswamy,

Here is the second part of my mail about my association with Kannada and IT. In this part, I will detail about KGP and Good, Bad and Ugly of it.

Many aspects of KGP, especially the wrong doings by it, have been detailed by Sathyanarayana, Anbarasan, Muthukrishnan and S K Anand. I will add more here. I am vomiting many things already written by these people.

As mentioned in the first part, the sowing of Kannada Ganaka Parishat (KGP) was done on Dec.29, 1996 at Bangalore. I came to Bangalore to settle down in June 1997. KGP was inaugurated in Aug 1997 by then CM of Karnataka, late J H Patel. I was very actively involved with KGP for majority of its good days. I was the one who did the welcome speech on the day of inauguration of KGP. I got B V Jagadeesh to inaugurate the web-site of KGP in the year 2000. I created the logo for KGP. I created the web-site also. Even the domain name was registered by me. KGP didn’t have even an Internet connection and I used give my account for the boys working there to use it.

Initially KGP did good work and everyone was happy. The executive committee had 18 members that included C V Shrinatha Shasthry (CVSS), G N Narasimha Murthy (GNNM), myself, Sathyanarayana, K G Chandrashekhar, S K Anand of Cyberscape (makers of Akruti software), Yathindranath, Sheshadri, Prakash, Udayashankara Puranik, Dr Panditharadhya, Subbanna, M A S Rajan, Shriganesh, etc. In reality there were two kinds of members -committee members and committed members. I was a more of a committed member than of a committee member. Only Shrinatha Shasthry and Narasimha Murthy used to run the Parishath in reality with occasional backing of Panditharadhya. Other members were not attending all the meetings. Even when they attend, they never used to ask any questions to these two persons. Everyone was approving the actions of these two persons with the assumption that they are doing something good to Kannada. I was also under the same impression. But it took a long time to realize how wrong this assumption was.

Sathyanarayana wrote the bye-laws of the Parishath and got it registered also. Initially people have paid the money assuming that is for the membership fee. CVSS and GNNM very conveniently and cunningly converted this money into donation and did not make the people who are not liked by them as members. Sathyanarayana, Anand, Chandrashekhar and Anbarasan fall into this category. These people realized this cunningness of these two people only when the elections for KGP were declared in 2003. Fortunately or unfortunately I escaped this and became a member due to my insistence that KGP should follow the procedures. It is like this: I had registered the domain name for KGP while I was at USA during Oct-Dec. 1999. I had paid 70$ for that. After I was back at Bangalore, I mentioned to CVSS that KGP should pay me about Rs.3000 for the domain name registration and I will pay Rs.1500 back to KGP as my life membership. CVSS was eager to pay me Rs.1500 by cash. But I insisted that I will give a cheque for Rs.1500 and KGP should give me a cheque for Rs.3000. Since this was followed at my insistence, I became a life member; else I also would have been a non-member by this time.

 

Initially everyone was concerned with the chaos and haphazard way the things were in the field of Kannada software. Even the developers like Aanand, Anbarasan, Muthukrishnan, and some more, were eager to see that the usage of Kannada on computers increases. It is quite natural for them. They wanted more and more usage of Kannada on computers and thereby increased business and profit. I don’t find anything wrong in the declared intention of making profit by Kannada software development and making a living by that. Everyone wants to make a living. But CVSS, GNNM and Panditharadhya have a different notion. According to them all activities for betterment of Kannada should be voluntary. CVSS and GNNM gets paid by the Govt. CVSS is a scientist at NAL, GNNM was working at a nationalized bank and Panditharadhya works as a Reader at Kannada Dept of Mysore Univ. I used to ask the question to Panditharadhya that if every work of Kannada should be voluntary how come he is getting paid for teaching Kannada.

 

The first hurdle for using Kannada on computers was the lack of standardization in various aspects. CVSS was all the time harping on keyboard standardization. He took the keyboard design of K P Rao and modified it slightly. He could convince the Govt of Karnataka (GoK) and get it notified as a standardized keyboard layout for Kannada. I was not very keen on the keyboard standardization. I am more interested in the data portability between applications. It was virtually impossible to use the Kannada text typed using one software package of a particular vendor in another vendor’s software package. But CVSS had the notion that keyboard standardization is everything. I had to convince him about the data portability. CVSS did not have any iota of knowledge about the whole issues concerned with Kannada computing. In fact, it was S K Anand, who explained CVSS the basics of keyboard, font, encodings, ISCII, etc. CVSS used to trouble S K Anand, sitting with him late nights, sometimes, even up-to 12:00 midnight. Later on it was me who imparted CVSS with the knowledge of Unicode.

 

With relentless follow-up by CVSS with GoK, they constituted a committee to look into the standardization of Kannada on computers. Myself, CVSS and Panditharadhya were members of this committee apart from many other luminaries. This committee did standardize a monolingual truetype font glyph set for Kannada. The committee did not take up Unicode. This was in the year 2000 when Unicode was still in its nascent stage w.r.t. to Indian languages. On the last day of the committee meeting, late Chandrahasa Gupta, Chairman of the committee, asked me when we shall take up the standardization of bi-lingual font for Kannada. There was a demand from developers for the bi-lingual font which was needed for developing applications using VB 6. I replied him that it is better to go for Unicode rather than bi-lingual font. Unfortunately, these discussions were held at the fag end of the meeting while everyone was getting up, and hence was not recorded in the minutes of the meeting. GoK accepted and notified the report of this committee as the stipulated features to be present in any Kannada software to be bought or used in GoK departments.

 

Then there were deliberations and discussions between DIT, GoK and CVSS on how do we check whether any software has followed the standards stipulated by GoK. CVSS used to brief me on daily basis and take my advice on various aspects like what DIT people said, what he replied, what he should tell them next, etc. I was suggesting a methodology for testing the software submitted by any vendor for certification to the GoK. As per my suggestion, there should be a certifying committee working under DIT, GoK, which should meet at DIT and test the software. But CVSS went ahead and grabbed the certification process for KGP itself and got the notification from GoK that KGP is the certifying agency for Kannada software. Myself and Sathyanarayana were against this move. But in the true democratic manner, we buried our differences and continued with the association.

 

Once KGP was declared as the certifying agency for Kannada software, CVSS started keeping away from S K Anand and other developers. He started branding them as the villains for Kannada software developments. He painted them as the people with the sole intention of making money and not having any concern for our language. Look at the irony. CVSS learnt everything about keyboard, font, encoding, etc from S K Anand. Now S K Anand has to get the certification from CVSS.

 

I was working at Tally Solutions as the Technology Architect in charge of localization. My task was to localize Tally into Indian languages. I used to visit the KGP office almost every alternative day. One such day, CVSS and GNNM introduced K M Harsha, who is a distant relative of GNNM, to me. He is from N R Pura and had come to Bangalore in search of a job. By discussing with Harsha, I could make out that he is extremely good at C++ programming. I took him for Tally and got him appointed there as programmer. His initial task was to develop a keyboard driver for Indian languages, starting from Kannada. I guided him on various aspects of Indian languages -the font, joining of glyphs, interpreting the keystrokes and converting them into proper glyph sequences, etc. But it was decided by the bosses at Tally that they will not spend time and resources in doing basic R & D for Indian language. Instead they decided to use off-the-shelf toolkits for using Indian languages. The order was given to CDAC for the necessary toolkits. The development of keyboard driver by Harsha at Tally was shelved.

 

[While I was at Tally, I had participated in the Unicode seminar at San Jose, California, USA (Sep. 2000). There I had my first interaction with the core members of Unicode consortium and those who were in charge of Indian languages. I explained them the flaws of Kannada in Unicode. As per their request we (myself and CVSS) made a document detailing Kannada Unicode. I gave the skeleton for the document and CVSS put the words. The document is in his name. This was sent to the consortium members directly and also to Ministry of I.T., GoI, thru GoK. I did continuous follow-up with Unicode consortium and now Kannada is perfect in Unicode. But it is a different story that after CVSS broke out from me, much later, when he was sent to Delhi as the representative of Kannada to MIT, GoI, he distorted the document by including a codepoint for arkavattu. This inclusion of arkavattu in Unicode character chart by CVSS clearly shows his limited knowledge of Unicode. Unicode is a character standard and not a font glyph standard. Arkavattu is a glyph and not a character. His knowledge stopped at the point where I stopped feeding him.]

 

By this time KGP had become the certifying agency for Kannada software. They did not have a clue how to test whether the given software was following the GoK standards. I told CVSS that there should be a testing software. How to go about it? I mentioned to CVSS about the expertise gained by Harsha in keyboard development. Harsha was given a PC by KGP at his residence and Harsha worked late nights to create a testing software. He used to give me a version of the software everyday, I used to test and give him the feedback, give him the directions go further, etc. Finally a working software was ready. A demo of this testing software was given to Prof. Baraguru Ramachandrappa, then President, Kannada Development Authority (KDA), Shri Vivek Kulkarni, then Secretary, I.T., GoK and Dr E V Ramana Reddy, then Director, DIT, GoK. They all appreciated it and requested to make this testing tool into a package to be used by all GoK departments. On the same day, Vivek Kulkarni suggested that KGP should come out with a roadmap for Kannada software to be developed which are needed for GoK use. He offered to sanction enough grant to KGP for these developments. He also mentioned that the amounts to be asked by KGP should be on par with industry standard. He suggested that the salaries to be paid to programmers should be on par with the industry. He also suggested that KGP should have a good office, good staff, 24 hours support telephone, web-based support mechanism for the software, etc. similar to any professional software company. What Vivek Kulkarni wanted was that the software developed by KGP for GoK should be of international standards. But CVSS threw all these suggestions into the wind.

 

CVSS was very happy with the good appreciation of the demo by Baraguru, Vivek Kulkarni and Ramana Reddy. CVSS did not know how to make a roadmap. I made the roadmap on a spreadsheet. CVSS elaborated it with detailed writings in Kannada. I had put all industry standard figures while making the estimations. For ex., I had put Rs.50,000 per truetype font. CVSS showed the figures to GNNM and Panditharadhya. They were shocked at the figures. They have never heard or seen the kind of salaries people were getting in the IT industry. These three people reduced all the amounts to almost one-fifth of what I had put. Thus the amount requested from GoK per font became Rs.10,000. It is impossible to get some professional font designer to deliver a font for Rs.10,000. I was not consulted CVSS while submitting the final figures to GoK.

 

I was of the opinion that KGP should be an organization working for standardization and proper implementation of Kannada on computers. I was against KGP becoming a software development company. Many people in the executive committee were also had the same opinion. But CVSS used to act like listening to them, promise to them that KGP will not do any software developments, and then continue with the activities. Everyone in the executive committee of KGP knew that things are not going on in the way it should be going. But people were allowing CVSS to continue to function in his own style with the sole assumption that the end result will be good for Kannada. In every meetings I used to tell that it is not the aim alone which has to be good, the means also has to be good, on the lines of what was preached and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi.

 

The testing software was finally converted into a software package. It was released by B K Chandrashekhar, then I.T. Minister, GoK, in a function. It was called Kalitha, a name coined by me, meaning Kannada Lipi Thamthraamsha. Baraguru did not like that name and changed it to Nudi. The first version of Nudi had just one font, a keyboard driver, a simple editor and a software development toolkit (SDK) for programmers. One could use the Nudi SDK in his VB, VC or Foxpro program and develop applications for Kannada. All software developers became unhappy with the release of Nudi. CVSS pacified them saying that Nudi is only a benchmark software. In one of the meetings, vendors asked what they will do if GoK makes its own software. Then they were told to shift to application development using Nudi toolkit. But soon they have to be disappointed as KGP started making applications also.

 

I had suggested CVSS a method to implement the roadmap submitted to GoK and approved by GoK. According to me, KGP should have a list of empanelled software developers who were actually into software development much before KGP came into existence. KGP should award the contract of developments to these vendors. KGP can keep some percent of the allocated money for its running. This model was appreciated many in the meetings. But CVSS and GNNM never formulated any mechanism for implementing my suggestion. Instead they got some amateurs and part-time developers to develop the software. This resulted in many unprofessional products. The fonts that are bundled with Nudi are the best examples. Try running Micorosft Font Validator, which tests a font, on the Nudi fonts. Then run the same test on any professionally developed font like Akruti, ShreeLipi, CDAC, etc, and see the difference yourselves.

 

Look at the turn of events. GoK made KGP as the certifying agency for Kannada software. Now KGP itself started making software for GoK. Who is going to certify these? There was no agency or person in GoK competent enough to understand or certify. Whatever KGP made was considered as perfect and standard. This kind of undeserved power given to KGP was the beginning of downfall for KGP. Any kind of monopoly is not good. KGP is no exception. Once they became the de-facto standard for Kannada on computers they thought that they can get away with any kind of whims and fancies. When I say they, it is CVSS and GNNM, who were and are running KGP like their personal fiefdom.

 

GoK issued a notification saying that everyone in GoK must use only Nudi and not any other software. Version 2 of Nudi had come out by this time. This notification became problematic for software developers. It was painful to develop Kannada applications using VB employing the monolingual font of Nudi. Majority of the applications for GoK were developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), a Govt of India (GoI) undertaking. These people were using the SDK from CDAC, another GoI undertaking. CDAC’s toolkit had bi-lingual fonts meant for programmers. NIC people informed GoK that they will not touch Nudi SDK unless it contains bi-lingual font for development. By this time Windows XP, Office XP and Visual Studio.NET from Microsoft with Indian languages (including Kannada) support was available employing Unicode. One day GNNM mentioned to me at the KGP that they are working on the version 3 of Nudi. I asked him what are the specifications and who wrote them? He replied that there is nothing called specifications and only new feature will be bi-lingual fonts. I was taken aback. KGP came into existence for standardizing the usage of Kannada on computers. This KGP is now going to create a bi-lingual font which is not as per any standard. I told him that I being the originator and the person who was guiding the development of Nudi will not allow having a non-standard font being added to Nudi. GNNM asked me to provide a solution for the problem faced by software developers. I replied that they should use Unicode and not bi-lingual fonts. But there was a problem. Majority people were using Windows 98 and rendering of opentype fonts which are needed for using Unicode was not possible on Windows 98. I suggested that we should write a opentype font rendering engine using the Uniscribe APIs for Windows 98. This is really a tough job but not impossible. KGP did not have a full-time expert programmer to accomplish this task. Instead of implementing my suggestion, GNNM told me that they will go ahead with making of Nudi 3 with bi-lingual fonts. I opposed that move. GNNM told me that in that case they don’t need me any more. According to him only Harsha was needed for programming and I was no more needed for guiding. CVSS supported GNNM. That was my first major difference with these two persons. They went ahead and made version 3 of Nudi which had the non-standard bi-lingual font. This was released at the house of S M Krishna, then CM of Karnataka. CVSS and Harsha are the only two people went for that function. CVSS neither invited nor informed anyone at KGP about the release function.

 

After this, I became a trouble person for CVSS and GNNM in every meeting of the executive committee. Earlier I used question CVSS and GNNM personally and now I started questioning on each and every aspects in the executive committee meetings also. For ex., I wanted transparency in their actions and spendings. The detailed balance sheet was never placed in front of the committee. I was asking how KGP can go ahead and take many software development orders which were not part of the roadmap sanctioned to KGP. My point was that CVSS should discuss everything in the executive committee meetings prior moving forward with any of these projects. After my insistence, a software development sub-committee was formed to look after the software developments. Even though I was the originator of Nudi, KGP got all name and fame due to Nudi, got the money sanctioned from GoK, I was kept out of this sub-committee. Nobody in this sub-committee had any actual hands-on experience of Kannada software development. No one person from that sub-committee has ever used the Nudi SDK meant for programmers. Their lack of expertise is evident in the outcome, ie., Nudi versions 3 and 4, which have come out with so many bugs.

 

KGP did develop a software called vethana for DIT. This is meant for making and printing salary slips. CVSS’s son worked for the development of this package at DIT. The development of this package was never discussed at any of the executive committee meetings. Nobody knows what was the criterion of selecting CVSS’s son for developing this software. CVSS’s son had just come out of the college at that time and had no experience in professional software development. Even the software sub-committee was not aware of the development of this software. Dr Ramana Reddy announced in the press meet during the release of this package that they have given Rs.3 lakhs to KGP for developing this package. How much was paid to individual developers, CVSS’s son, etc. was never disclosed to any of the members of KGP. There was no quality control for this software. If the software is really good then why is that education department of GoK is getting a salary package made from Azim Premji Foundation? I was also opposing KGP doing some font conversions for others. Conversion of font encodings is violation of intellectual property rights and hence I was against such an activity by KGP. But CVSS went ahead and did the font conversion. He also got Rs.15,000 for KGP for doing this job. The money was shown as donation.

 

Another major issue was of fonts bundled with Nudi. Myself and Harsha were opposing the release of Nudi without our own professional fonts. Making a font is an elaborate process. Artists have to draw each character (glyph) on paper, they have to be scanned, digitized, hinted, etc. It takes months for each font. CVSS told me that he got the font made from someone before submitting the final package to GoK. In one of the executive committee meeting S K Anand and myself questioned CVSS about who made the fonts, how much was paid to him, etc. GNNM gave a reply that someone at Koppa made the fonts. I mentioned that KGP should have the complete record of making of the fonts like original drawings by the artist, first raw digitized data, the final font, etc. GNNM promised to get all these from Koppa and show to us in the next meeting. He never bothered to do that.

 

I came to know about the entire story about fonts much much later. Initially I used to believe the statements of CVSS about the fonts. But it took almost 2 years for me to accidentally discover the truth. While experimenting with opentype font creation, I was studying the glyphs of all Kannada fonts. When I opened Baraha, Akruti and Nudi fonts in a font editing software, I found that they all have the same glyph sets, even though their ASCII values are different. As Sathyanarayana has detailed in his write-up, the glyphs from Akruti fonts were used in the first version of Baraha, which was then used in the first version of Nudi. As per my knowledge CVSS got this conversion of font encodings done by someone here at Bangalore itself. The fonts were not made from scratch at Koppa. This is clear violation of intellectual property rights. I had a strong and heated argument with CVSS and GNNM about one or two months before the elections to the executive committee of KGP. I blasted CVSS for misleading me and telling lies to me that the fonts were developed at Koppa. CVSS and GNNM have told lies to me and cheated GoK by supplying them with pirated fonts. Definitely my position became very awkward that I being the mentor and the person in charge of Nudi in the initial stages was not informed of these backdoor activities by CVSS. I fired both CVSS and GNNM left and right. At that time GNNM even challenged me to prove these in the court along with S K Anand who had already threatened to sue KGP for violation of intellectual property rights. Due to all these fights by me in favor of truth, CVSS and GNNM decided to throw me out of the executive committee of KGP. The once in three years election, which was never conducted earlier, came handy for them. KGP was formed in 1997 and the first election was conducted in 2003. S K Anand, Sathyanarayana, and Chandrashekhar, who were not liked by CVSS and GNNM, discovered that they were not even the primary members of KGP. The money given by them initially while KGP was being constituted was shown as donation. The new executive committee consists of 13 persons. KGP had 65 members at that time. 14 nominations were collected by CVSS and GNNM. Many people were not at all knowing what exactly was going on. CVSS and GNNM went to their houses and got the nomination papers filled. For ex., Yathindranath, was not even present on the day of election and the general body meeting. But his nomination was there. 18 persons came for voting and selecting of 13 persons from the 14 nominations. Hail demo-crazy! Finally CVSS and GNNM got rid of me from the executive committee.

 

I had suggested that KGP should have a list of empanelled software developers of Kannada which can be submitted to GoK. GoK can give orders to these developers for Kannada software developments. My philosophy is “live and let live”. But the philosophy now followed by KGP is “live and let die”. I am the person who had foreseen the situation regarding Kannada software developments. KGP can not supply software to entire Karnataka. Hence it should not venture into application developments. This task should be left to professional developers who will be able to offer professional support for the product and services they offer. Kannada software developmental opportunities start with the GoK. If these are fully grabbed by KGP, the Kannada software industry will die. Then there will be no industry left to supply Kannada software to entire Karnataka. Supplying Kannada software to entire Karnataka is definitely beyond the capabilities of KGP. Unfortunately, in every meeting this fact was accepted by everyone but software development orders were undertaken clandestinely by KGP without informing the executive committee. It is a different story that none of the projects undertaken and executed by KGP are of any professional quality and people are not really making use of them to any good use. The workflow automation software developed for Kannada Univ., Hampi, is one such example.

 

CVSS and GNNM along with Panditharadhya are running KGP like their personal fiefdom. They never used to discuss all the details of what is going on in the executive committee meetings. The differences voiced by members like S K Anand were never recorded in the minutes of the meetings. There were 18 members in the executive committee (which was reduced to 13 in the new committee). CVSS used to inform/invite only 6-7 members for a meeting. For the next meeting he will inform/invite another 6-7 members who did not attend the previous meeting. He will tell in the meeting that he informed everyone but others who did not attend were busy and have informed him that they will not be attending. Nobody ever doubted his words. As mentioned above, the differences voiced by some members were not recorded in the minutes of the meetings and the set of people who were actually not present in the previous meeting used to approve the minutes written by GNNM.

 

CVSS and GNNM are visiting each and every dept of GoK and threatening them by dire consequences if they don’t use Nudi. They will show the notification by GoK wherein it was made mandatory to use Nudi. Simple usage of Nudi for typing jobs has no problem. Using Nudi bi-lingual fonts for software developments has some problems. Many people have reported them to me personally and they have posted them in mailing lists also. Unicode is the world standard. Some private companies have developed Kannada application for some department of GoK employing Unicode and VS.NET. But they have been told by that GoK department that they should go back to Nudi, apparently by the blackmailing tactics of CVSS and GNNM. They ended up having problems. These were posted in Kannada computing mailing list (I have the mails with me).

 

GoK has sanctioned a huge amount for developing software as per the Kannada computerization action plan. Anbarasan has already given the breakup of this. Only Nudi and some unprofessional fonts have been made so far by KGP. They don’t have any expertise with them now to complete other projects. All technically qualified people have been thrown out including me. KGP is now spending time in typing Pampabharata and other Kannada classics and putting them in CDs. Very soon we can call KGP as KTP (Kannada Typing Parishat). I have no objection for KGP taking up typing jobs, but the core objectives should not be sidelined. KGP should actually be participating in all discussions pertaining Kannada standardization like the mailing lists of Unicode, Indic computing, Kannada computing, etc. I have never seen any mail from any one of the executive committee member of KGP in any such mailing lists. Only once GNNM posted a stupid message in Kannada computing mailing list saying that they are developing a Unicode keyboard driver for Tunga opentype font. This mail from GNNM shows very clearly his ignorance of Unicode. In Unicode, keyboard driver is never written for a particular font.

 

It is the time that GoK should amend the notification removing the compulsion to use Nudi. The notification should not be applicable if Unicode is used. This amendment is not possible as long KGP is being considered as the sole body in charge of Kannada on computers at GoK. GoK should immediately constitute a committee to look into the various aspects of Kannada standardization in the field of IT. I will write another mail on what GoK should do at this juncture.

 

In conclusion I can say these: KGP is not a representative body of entire Kannada population. It has hardly about 70 members. Only three members, viz., CVSS, GNNM and Dr Panditharadhya run the Parishat. These people have no technical competence. I will send some mails supporting these facts. People had lot of hopes from KGP and gave undue publicity for their activities. This went into the head of these three people and they started behaving as if they are the sole saviors of Kannada on computers. They have thrown out all the technically competent people who were initially with them got all the name, fame and money due to their works. It is the high time that Kannada should be rescued from the clutches of these three persons.

Thanks and regards,

U B Pavanaja pavanaja@vishvakannada.com

____________________________________________________________

 

Font issues -Akruti, Baraha and Nudi

 

by U B Pavanaja

 

Birth of Baraha

 

I had put up Kannada’s first web-site called Vishva Kannada during Dec. 1996 with the support of S K Anand of Cyberscape. Dynamic font technology was not being used by Vishva Kannada at that time. Akruti fonts were given for download at the web-site. Users have to download the font, install it in their PC and then they could read the Vishva Kannada web-site in Kannada. Sometimes in the first half of 1997, I got an email from Sheshadri Vasu who was at USA. In that mail he appreciated Vishva Kannada. He added that it takes a long time to copy characters through CharMap (an utility present in Windows to copy a glyph of a font into any application) and make a Kannada sentence. I explained him how to type in Kannada using the keyboard driver which has to be bought from Cyberscape. I gave the contact details of S K Anand and the approximate price of the software also. Then there was no mail from Vasu for some time. (Recently, during his visit to India in June 2004, Vasu wrote an article for Vijaya Karnataka, wherein he mentioned the discussions he had with me about the relation between font and keyboard driver). One day I got an email from Vasu saying that he has made a software called Baraha that can be used as an editor for Kannada. He wrote that he wanted to give this software free to everyone. The version sent to me was a beta version. He had actually written an editor for the font he downloaded from the web. I asked him about the copyright of the font. He had not thought anything about that. I explained to him the he need to take the permission of S K Anand of Cyberscape to use Akruti fonts in his software. He included the Kan Ballal font which was given to read Udayavani web-site with the first release of Baraha, which was given to some select friends only. Later on he changed the ASCII values of the glyphs of Akruti font and released the Baraha package officially. His idea was that just by changing the ASCII values of the glyphs, his font becomes different from Akruti font. But morally, ethically and legally, this amounts to violation of intellectual property rights. After a long gap of six years, recently (2004), Vasu admitted that he used the glyphs from Akruti fonts, in a mail to S K Anand.

 

Fonts used in Nudi

 

Now let me discuss the about the fonts bundled with Nudi. Nudi was initially thought as a testing software. This was made into a package later on. Myself and Harsha (the programmer who did the coding for Nudi) were opposing the release of Nudi without our own professional fonts. Making a font is an elaborate process. Artists have to draw each character (glyph) on paper, they have to be scanned, digitized, hinted, etc. It takes months for each font. C V Srinatha Sasthry (CVSS), Chief Secretary, Kannada Ganaka Parishat (KGP), told me that he got the font made from someone before submitting the final package to GoK. In one of the executive committee meeting S K Anand and myself questioned CVSS about who made the fonts, how much was paid to him, etc. G N Narsimha Murthy (GNNM), Secretary, KGP, gave a reply that someone at Koppa made the fonts. I mentioned that KGP should have the complete record of making of the fonts like original drawings by the artist, first raw digitized data, the final font, etc. GNNM promised to get all these from Koppa and show to us in the next meeting. He never bothered to do that.

 

I came to know about the entire story about fonts much much later. Initially I used to believe the statements of CVSS about the fonts. But it took almost 2 years for me to accidentally discover the truth. While experimenting with opentype font creation, I was studying the glyphs of all Kannada fonts. When I opened Baraha, Akruti and Nudi fonts in a font editing software, I found that they all have the same glyph sets, even though their ASCII values are different. As Sathyanarayana has detailed in his write-up, the glyphs from Akruti fonts were used in the first version of Baraha, which was then used in the first version of Nudi. As per my knowledge CVSS got this conversion of font encodings done by someone here at Bangalore itself. The fonts were not made from scratch at Koppa. This is clear violation of intellectual property rights. I had a strong and heated argument with CVSS and GNNM about one or two months before the elections to the executive committee of KGP. I blasted CVSS for misleading me and telling lies to me that the fonts were developed at Koppa. CVSS and GNNM have told lies to me and cheated GoK by supplying them with pirated fonts. Definitely my position became very awkward that I being the mentor and the person in charge of Nudi in the initial stages was not informed of these backdoor activities by CVSS. I fired both CVSS and GNNM left and right. At that time GNNM even challenged me to prove these in the court along with S K Anand who had already threatened to sue KGP for violation of intellectual property rights.

 

Vasu’s justification and the realities

 

With this background let me discuss a bit of what Vasu has written in a document and widely circulated in mailing lists. This document is also present in his Baraha discussion group (groups.msn.com/baraha). Let me quote from this document-

 

—————– Begin ———————————

USA courts have long back decided that fonts can’t be copyrighted AT ALL!  Here, the digital outline can never be protected. According to them there can’t be any original font style, because, every font is created by slightly modifying some other font, and there aren’t really “new” font designs! See the following excerpts from the law…

 

“The Copyright Office has decided that digitized representations of typeface designs are not registerable under the Copyright Act because they do not constitute original works of authorship. The digitized representations of typefaces are neither original computer programs (as defined in 17 U.S.C. 101), nor original databases, nor any other original work of authorship.”

 

So, in a font, the name, any programming code not describing the font design are all that can be copyrighted. This leaves the door open in the USA to have anyone pay for the output of each character from a typesetter and re-digitize it or extract the design from a font program (and rename it), easily duplicating the design. Most foundries have very similar fonts derived from work largely designed by others. More information about font/copyright can be found at http://ssifonts.com/Myths.htm

———————- End —————————-

Vasu is very cleverly and conveniently quoting from a web-site put up in the year 1997 and has not been updated afterwards. There is a reason for this site not being updated afterwards. This refers to the classic legal battle between Adobe and SSI. Southern Software Inc. (SSI) used to copy and rename fonts from Adobe and others. They thought they were safe from prosecution because, though they had directly copied the points that define the shapes from Adobe’s fonts, they had moved all the points just slightly so they were not technically identical. Nevertheless, in his 1998 judgment, the judge determined that the computer code had been copied:

 

The evidence presented shows that there is some creativity in designing the font software programs. While the glyph dictates to a certain extent what points the editor must choose, it does not dictate every point that must be chosen. Adobe has shown that font editors make creative choices as to what points to select based on the image in front of them on the computer screen. The code is determined directly from the selection of the points. Thus, any copying of the points is copying of literal expression, that is, in essence, copying of the computer code itself.

 

SSI lost the legal battle at the courts. Judgment was in favor of Adobe. Hence SSI did not update their web-site. Vasu is conveniently quoting from this web-site. One can read in detail about this case in the following web-sites:-

 

http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=UNESCO_Font_Lic

http://directory.serifmagazine.com/Ethics_and_Law/Copyright/judgement.php4

http://www.ipcounselors.com/19980309.htm

 

When we conducted a opentype font workshop at Bangalore during March 2003, there was a talk on IPR issues related to fonts by Lawrence Liang, who is an expert on cyber laws. He had discussed this Adobe vs SSI case.

 

Vasu’s interview to Deccan Herald and my comments

 

Vasu gave an interview to Deccan Herald during his visit to Bangalore in June 2004. Here are some excerpts and my comments on them:-

 

> “Then, I, along with Ganaka Parishad and the State Government worked to bring Kannada software for official use”, he (Vasu) said.

I don’t remember any of such efforts by Sheshadri Vasu. In fact Vasu was very reluctant to implement the GoK standard for font and keyboard. There was a heated argument between Dr Panditharadhya and K T Chandrashekharan, father of Vasu, in this connection. All along the time Shasthry, Narasimha Murthy and Panditharadhya were advocating that Baraha killed Kannada while Nudi saved it! Vasu did implement the keyboard and font standards after repeated appeals by Shrinatha Shasthry and Narasimha Murthy.

> Baraha 4.0 was the first software that was implemented in Government offices with font styles.

I don’t think this statement of Sheshadri Vasu is true. There were many Kannada software being used in state govt much much before KGP, Nudi or Baraha came into existence.

> But the Ganaka Parishad and the State Government have introduced Nudi software as a benchmark system.

If Vasu were to introduce the GoK standards much earlier than the release of Kalitha (Nudi), Nudi would not have come into existence.

> Unfortunately for me, the government is insisting the use of Nudi software.

Why should be unfortunate to him? He is not selling Baraha.

> While Baraha has fulfilled the terms and conditions put forth by the Government, including stipulations such as keyboard and transliteration, I wonder why they are forcing departments to use only Nudi”, he said. One of Baraha’s many advantages, according to Vasu, is that it allows a person who knows Kannada to type it in English fonts. He felt preference of software (Baraha or Nudi) should be left to end user.

Why the choice should be only between Nudi and Baraha, both of them are obsolete in the current and future time where Unicode is the world standard? Actually the choice should be between Windows XP/2003, Mac, Linux, Solaris, Java Desktop, Unix, etc. all are having Unicode compliance.

Meeting with Vasu in June 2004

 

Vasu was felicitated by Upasana in Bangalore during his visit in June 2004. I met him during that function. I discussed many things in general like Unicode features, facility needed in Baraha to convert RTF and HTML documents into Unicode, etc. Casually I asked him where from he is getting the fonts for his Baraha package. As per his answer, there is an artist in Bangalore who draws the shapes on paper and sends them to him. He (Vasu) scans, digitizes and  makes them into fonts. I did not discuss anything about the Akruti font issue.

Conclusion and request

Baraha has copied and used one font from Akruti software. This font is one of the many fonts bundled with current version of Nudi. 

I have written everything that I know about the font issues pertaining to Akruti, Baraha and Nudi. My intention is to bring out the truth, however bitter it is. I have no personal animosity with anyone whose name appears in this write-up. Please read this objectively and subjectively. That is, do a vasthunistha (objective) reading rather than a vyakthinishta (subjective) reading.

 

Thanks for your patience and time.

 

—***—

_______________________________________________________________

 

 

Dr. U. B. Pavanaja on BARAHA and VASU

—————–
Forwarded Message:

Subj:

Re: Fwd: Story of Birth for an Adult Man – How it happens and HOW it has HAPPENEND

Date:

7/7/2004 8:23:44 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From:

pavanaja@vishvakannada.com

To:

NovaMed@aol.com

CC:

anand@cyberscapeindia.comm, bhchandrashekara@hotmail.com

Sent from the Internet (Details)

namaskaara,

I think there is a factual error in your mail.

You wrote: VASU the MAN in USA buys the AKRUTI FONTS of Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd. after talking Dr. PAVANAJA and now VASU thinks that he owns it and the VASU puts this AKRUTI FONTS into MOTHER’s womb and conceives it. Mother gave birth to NEW FONTS.

AFAIK, Vasu did not buy fonts from Anand (Akruti fonts). He just used the fonts available for free download at my web-site (www.vishvakannada.com). The fonts were given only for reading the web-site and not for any other purpose.

sigONa,

Pavanaja

—————————————-

Dr. U.B. Pavanaja

CEO, Vishva Kannada Softech

Think Globally, Act locally

————————————————————————————————————————–

Dr. U. B. Pavanaja’s email comments on Article in Deccan Herald / Re: Baraha Kannada, Nudi Kannada Deccan Herald June 24th 2004


Ø “Then, I, along with Ganaka Parishad and the State
> Government worked to bring Kannada software for
> official use”, he (Vasu) said.

I don’t remember any of such efforts by Sheshadri Vasu. In fact Vasu very reluctant to implement the GoK standard for font and keyboard. There was a heated argument between Dr Panditharadhya and K T Chandrashekharan, father of Vasu, in this connection. All along the time Shasthry, Narasimha Murthy and Panditharadhya were advocating that Baraha killed Kannada while Nudi saved it! Vasu did implement the keyboard and font standards after repeated appeals by Shrinatha Shasthry and Narasimha Murthy.

> Baraha 4.0 was the first
> software that was implemented in Government offices
> with font styles.

I don’t think this statement of Sheshadri Vasu is true. There were many Kannada software being used in state govt much much before KGP, Nudi or Baraha came into existence.

> But the Ganaka Parishad and the State Government have
> introduced Nudi software as a benchmark system.

I have answered this part in one of my previous mails. If Vasu were to introduce the GoK standards much earlier than the release of Kalitha (Nudi), Nudi would not have come into existence.

> Unfortunately for me, the government is insisting the
> use of Nudi software.

Why should be unfortunate to him? He is not selling Baraha.

>While Baraha has fulfilled the terms
> and conditions put forth by the Government, including
> stipulations such as keyboard and transliteration, I wonder
> why they are forcing departments to use only Nudi”, he
> said. One of Baraha’s many advantages, according to
> Vasu, is that it allows a person who knows Kannada to type
> it in English fonts. He felt preference of software (Baraha or
> Nudi) should be left to end user.

Why the choice should be only between Nudi and Baraha, both of them are obsolete in the current and future time where Unicode is the world standard? Actually the choice should be between Windows XP/2003, Mac, Linux, Solaris, Java Desktop, Unix, etc. all are having Unicode compliance.

Regards,
Pavanaja
———————————————————————————————
Dr. U.B. Pavanaja
CEO, Vishva Kannada Softech
Think Globally, Act locally

6 Comments »

  1. Thanks for telling us the truth behind Nudi and Baraha. Baraha 4 was very easy to learn and use. Baraha 7 may be a little more difficult but it is much better than Nudi. Ok we also now know that Nudi is not a complete and bug free product and that in developing Baraha Sheshadri Vasu has committed fraud. Where does that leave us the users?

    Comment by C.S.Vedant | January 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. Dear Kumaraswamy sir,

    After reading the whole article, I would really appreciate your efforts. what happened to Nudi was really bad.. This might certainly one of the reasons why Baraha is always easier and simpler to use, than Nudi, according to most of the users

    Comment by Sanjay Murthy | December 26, 2008 | Reply

  3. Dear Dr. U.B. Pavanaja
    really great sitting delhi i was wondering about whom to speak kannada with. i was actually browsing for maasti venkatesha iyengar website and fortunately i got this link no words can define your efforts.
    thx very much
    venkatesh

    Comment by venkatesh | August 7, 2009 | Reply

  4. Sydney Kannada Sangha ia serving since 27 years and has done many things for ht Kannada language.

    How to get involved with this forum of Kannadigas?

    Comment by Vijaykumar Halagali | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  5. So, basically what I see is the typical DEEP and VERY VERY DEEP JEALOUSY and HATRED. Unfortunate that the Intellectuals are doing it here.

    Vasu’s father is K T ChandraSEKHARAN….So that means he must be of Tamil Origin settled in Karnataka.

    Now, when the cow is not there, people complain of lack of milk. When a person adopts an orphan cow and feeds it, the milk it gives has many owners.

    when Aakruti was around, all these Anti-Vasu people were sleeping.

    when Vasu took it up and brought out Baraha, all the tongues of the sleeping kumbakarnas started moving.
    Just because Vasu has a tamil origin.

    So, same old wine in new bottle.

    Jealousy is the biggest obstacle.

    why dont we accept that the tamilians are way way ahead of us and extraordinarily brilliant.
    How many scientists can we boast of ?
    How many sports champions can we boast of ?
    How many noble prize winners can we boast of ?
    How many bollywood heroes and heroines can we boast of ?
    How many I T Giants ( spare that one poor NRN of Infy ), can we boast of ?
    How many Martial Arts champions can we boast of ?

    Medicine, Automobiles, Agricultural research, Space Technology, Mathematics and Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, ….etc etc everywhere the GIANTS are either Tamilians or Maharashtrians or Teluguites or North Indian Brahmins.

    While I was posted at Chennai for more than a decade, I realized that we are all still sleeping and the Tamilians and Teluguites are atleast 200 years ahead of us.

    Even the recitation of vedas, our people are more feminine while the tamilians and teluguites have so much of deep knowledge and without any fuss, they go about it. They have that resonance in the voice.

    One Vasu unfortunately gave his collar to you and all of you are unsparing in your efforts to thrash him.

    we are excellent in jealousy, avrekalu uppittu and sleeping

    Comment by XPSharma | March 30, 2012 | Reply

  6. nice

    Comment by sudatta jain | September 4, 2012 | Reply


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