Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Tejasvi and Kambar Memorandum to Shri S.M.Krishna regarding Kannada Software

Memorandum to Shri S.M. Krishna regarding Kannada Software:

October 21, 2004

Shri S.M. Krishna,

Former Chief Minister and
Senior Leader Karnataka Congress Party,
Bangalore.
Respected Sir,
As you very well know, Kannada is a language with tremendous richness and antiquity and
resilience with over 2000 years of spoken and written history. There has been an
uninterrupted growth of its literature and art in various mediums like stone and metal
etchings, palm leaf inscriptions and on paper. In keeping with the modern times and
technologies, the latest medium on which it has adapted itself is the computer and electronic
mediums as evident in the usage of Kannada in electronic publishing, multimedia and
educational content, internet websites and emails, discussion groups, e-books, government
administration, word processing and office applications.
There are however some dark clouds hovering over Kannada in these newest electronic
mediums and it faces grave danger due to some harmful developments over the past few
years as a result of which, independent software developers for Kannada software have
virtually been eliminated and a stage has been created for the subservience of Kannada
language to some elements who may not have the interest of Kannada as their prime focus.
Background:
a. A passionate bunch of entrepreneurs had for over two decades pioneered and
provided the facility of using Kannada on computers, when even operating systems
vendors like Microsoft had not provided such a facility.
b. These developers also enabled book and newspaper publishers to avail of the latest
facilities like DTP and Electronic pre-press facilities to produce quality books and
periodicals in Kannada. (Refer Appendix for details)
c. Survival was always a challenge for these developers, for they had to fight piracy,
obsolescence and restricted market volumes but they fought on with love for
Kannada as their main inspiration hoping that some day when Kannada is used
widely on computers their pioneering efforts would pay back.
d. Three key developments have completely shattered the morale and the finances of
these developers and they are reduced to the state of despondency, looking to clutch
on to something else for survival. If the situation persists, the few who remain may
vanish.
These developments are:
·  A so called free software called Baraha was released by an NRI having appropriated
some key Intellectual Property vested in Kannada Fonts developed after great effort
and expense by one of the developers. This has completely killed the potential NRI
Kannadiga market and also the one for casual users of Kannada on computers.
·  On the pretext of standardization and development of a bench marking software,
Government of Karnataka (GOK) encouraged a group of private individuals and
amateurs to develop (or rather dubiously misappropriate and re-engineer) a Kannada
software called NUDI and this against all norms was allowed to monopolize the
Government departments and undertakings thus completely cutting off the main
source of sustenance for these developers.

·  The major operating system vendor, Microsoft has now announced the embedded
Kannada in their Windows XP / 2003 operating system and their Office productivity
suite. The GOK as per the e-Governance Secretary has clearly indicated a
preferential switch to this new system (based on the global standard called Unicode)
even if it means a huge expense in upgrading the existing non Win XP/2003
compliant systems like Windows 98 based systems.
With the independent software developers in a precarious condition and the Microsoft
emerging as the major Kannada software provider on the latest Win XP / 2003 systems, the
vast majority of Kannadigas who cannot afford switching over from Win 98 based computers
will be left high and dry. For many of them the current hardware and software procured by
them at substantial expense are more than adequate for their needs and they have no
pressing need to changeover unless forced to because of incompatibility with the emerging
global standard of Unicode in Kannada.
While Linux may have a sobering influence on Microsoft, considering their global dominance
in the desktop and server operating systems market, it can be reasonably expected that
whatever Microsoft does will greatly influence the future course of usage of Kannada on
computers.
It should be borne in mind that unlike the proliferation of the IT industry in Karnataka (driven
mainly by a flourishing export market and primarily in English), IT usage within Karnataka
and especially the Government will have a deep influence and impact on the culture and
heritage of Karnataka because it hits at the very root of culture, its language, Kannada. Also
the welfare of the masses is at stake if their main medium of communication is in danger.

Recognizing the great danger this development posed to the Kannada language and hence
its cultural and artistic roots, visionary writers and litterateurs like Dr. Purnachandra Tejasvi
and Dr. Chandrashekhar Kambara and others have recognized the grave threat that these
alarming developments are posing and called for some introspection and correction of the
slow poison eating away into the vitals of our state by threatening to destroy its source of
nourishment, the beautiful and expressive language Kannada, which forms the very core
and reason for Karnataka to exist as a separate cultural identity.
The solution:
The future of Kannada is too important for bureaucratic GOK departments or a few
individuals or corporations to mess around with and so it is imperative that an academic
institution like a university working in partnership with technologists be entrusted with the
proper development considering all factors like language, culture, aesthetics, technology
and heritage.
It is essential that a group of individuals passionately concerned about Kannada and having
all the above sensibilities be in charge of guiding the flowering and growth of Kannada in the
new age of Information technology.
It is also important to find funds to ensure that technological problems, which are peculiar to
Kannada in the computer and electronic devices, are researched upon and solutions
developed for them to stimulate and further the growth of the language.

Like for many other computer related areas a very strong Open Source Group needs to be
created and nurtured which will suggest and work on Kannada related technologies without
commercial or financial constraints.
Summary:
There is little time to lose and hence we request Shri S.M. Krishna to persuade the GOK to
constitute a standing group comprising of interested and eminent Kannadiga litterateurs and
technologists to set up a mechanism along with the various universities in Karnataka and
academic institutions like IISC, IIIT and to work towards the noble goal of ensuring that
Kannada flourishes for years to come in the electronics and computer mediums like it has in
the traditional mediums for over 2000 years.
Some of the immediate measures required are:
1. Ensure that Unicode based solutions in Kannada is made available to the existing
base of computers without need to upgrade them at a huge cost and that the
switchover creates the least amount of discomfort by ensuring portability of existing
content.
2. Constitute a two-tier group to look into all aspects of Kannada development in
computer and convergent electronic mediums. The guiding group will look after the
overall development for Kannada software and also ensure funds and right
conditions are created for the same, while a technical group can go into the technical
details and give technical advice.
3. GOK Departments like Department of Information Technology and e-Governance
Secretariat should correct their policy towards Kannada software development by
modifying any G.O. or notification, which stymies competition or favours a particular
group and should stop funding them and withdraw any unutilized funds given without
following proper procedures.
4. Ensure that the existing developers of software for Kannada are given due support
and market access and a level playing field is created for Kannada software
development so that more developers are encouraged to enter the field both in the
commercial area as well as the Open Source Groups.
5. Developments like Nudi, which were funded by GOK can be put in Open Source for
further development.
6. Taxes and levies on Kannada software should be removed.

Submitted on behalf of:
Dr. Purnachandra Tejasvi,
Handpost Mudigere,
Chikkamagalur – 577132
Dr. Chandrashekara Kambara
BSK 3rd Stage
Bangalore – 560085

by Anand S.K.
Managing Director,
Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd.
941, 21st Main, 22nd “A” Cross.
BSK 2nd Stage,
Bangalore – 560070

November 6, 2007 - Posted by | Baraha, Kannada Software Development -KSD, Sheshadri Vasu

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