Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

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Log out of Microsoft tie-up, say open software advocates

Log out of Microsoft tie-up, say open software advocates

Bageshree S.

http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/12/stories/2007101254810600.htm

Bangalore: The Letter of Intent signed by the Karnataka government with Microsoft to establish paperless offices is drawing criticism from advocates of Free and Open Source Software (Free as in freedom). They have started a campaign against it on the on the web page, http: //savekannada. googlepages.com.

The argument of the propagators of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is two-fold. The first is on what they call Microsoft’s “blunders in Kannada utilities in its operating systems,” which have resulted in inaccuracies in language usage. The second and larger argument concerns the ideological question on allowing a monopoly software giant to grip “the government in its stranglehold.”

Hari Prasad Nadig, an engineer who has worked extensively on localisation of software to the Kannada context, says that Microsoft provided buggy Kannada font in its earlier operating system “XP,” and the new edition “Vista” had several problems. “The Language Interface Pack (LIP) provided for Kannada on XP was filled with inaccuracies. Language inaccuracies had been pointed out by thousands of Kannada software engineers from several on-line communities, but Microsoft did not take up enough corrective measures,” he adds. “For example, the rendering is broken for words like ‘software’ or ‘pratishtita’ even in ‘Vista’. Vista also comes with DRM (Digital Rights Management), an access control technology which virtually spies on the users.”

N.A.M. Ismail, an avid Kannada blogger, says that using a “lock in” system such as Microsoft creates a long-term dependence. FOSS allows access to the source code and permits users to use, change, and improve the software. “Once a consumer uses Microsoft products for generating, collecting and processing data, it is difficult for the consumer to migrate to another software and has to spend a lot of money for upgrades. The government will find it hard to transfer the data onto other operating systems and would also be spending substantial amounts of taxpayer’s money on upgrades,” says Mr. Ismail.

November 14, 2007 - Posted by | Govt. of Karnataka - GoK

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