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Monday, October 20, 2003

:: India ::

MP opens windows to Linux ANIL SHARMA

NOVEMBER 19, 2002 01:42:20 AM

Madhya Pradesh has shut the door on Bill Gates. The state government schemes will use Linux software. Chief minister Digvijay Singh personally conveyed this to Microsoft boss Bill Gates during an interaction last week in New Delhi. "For us it is not a question of Microsoft versus Linux. It is just a matter of choosing between a free software and a monopoly. We feel that when we are putting public information out in the open, then it should not be through a proprietary software," Mr Singh told ET. Nor is it merely a public vs private ideological battle. Germany and Latin American countries, particularly Peru and Brazil, have opted for Linux rather than proprietary software to bring down costs, which keep mounting with successive upgrades in the case of proprietary software. Madhya Pradesh has two significant programmes that reach out to people in a big way: Gyandoot e-governance, which covers 26 out of 45 districts and won the Stockholm Challenge Award for 2000, and the Headstart programme for computer-enabled school education. For the Headstart programme, the state government is now committed to use Linux. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has shown an interest in Gyandoot. According R Gopalakrishnan, state coordinator for the Rajiv Gandhi missions, the first phase of the Headstart did use Microsoft software, but the next will use Linux. "This should set at rest any fears that we are anti-Microsoft as such. But we have opted for Linux in this phase, because of the cost factor, and the fact that it avoids costly upgrades and improved versions that are an inseparable element of Microsoft packages," he said. "It is a considered decision taken by us. We have noted that several governments in the west and other countries too have opted for the Linux software instead of Microsoft because of a host of considerations," Mr Singh said. --- End forwarded message ---
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