[PLUG] The Deadly Microsoft Embrace

Praveen A pravi.a at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 18:52:39 IST 2011

The Tamil Nadu government is adding costly MS software to laptops
meant for poor students. It could cost Rs 10,200 Crore and hamper
student growth

Sai Manish
New Delhi

"Diplomatic observers point out to the stopover of US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton in Chennai on July 20-21 when she met
Jayalalithaa before flying out to Indonesia on a state visit."


"Two cables, one originating in the embassy at Hanoi and the other at
the embassy in Tunis, throw enough light on the scale and nature of
the government-corporation nexus in the United States and its
influence on world governments.

According to one of the cables, the US government ‘intervened’ to
force Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung to sign an agreement
with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that would require Hanoi to pay
Microsoft $20 million for 3 lakh licences. This even though the
Vietnamese PM wanted to hold the Microsoft deal as a deliverable till
he met the US president later that year.

Now put that deal in an Indian context where 68 lakh licences would be
required under Jayalalithaa’s ambitious free laptop scheme and the
business of diplomacy becomes clear. The Microsoft deal of 3 lakh
licences was dubbed in the cable as ‘the most significant agreement
Vietnam has ever signed with a US business’."


Even the special adviser to the Prime Minister, Sam Pitroda, believes
that in a scheme like this there is no scope for burdening students
with stifling software that would eventually become a liability for
students. “I would strongly recommend going in for open source
software since it gives students the capability to innovate, improvise
and be creative. There is no difference between using expensive
proprietary software and open source platforms and students who fear
that their job prospects might be hurt because of using free software
are completely misplaced in their fears,” Pitroda told TEHELKA.


പ്രവീണ്‍ അരിമ്പ്രത്തൊടിയില്‍
You have to keep reminding your government that you don't get your
rights from them; you give them permission to rule, only so long as
they follow the rules: laws and constitution.

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