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India's Silent Contribution To Linux Now Rapidly Getting Noticed

The better news is that the trend is changing dramatically. Contributions

to the worldwide GNU/Linux effort from South Asia are coming up virtually

by the day. But, on the other hand, the sad part of the story is that hardly

anybody seems to be noticing this... not even in India.

Young Indians from Nagpur to the North East, and those based in places

as distant as Mumbai and Melbourne are adding generously and often selflessly

to the powers of Linux. This talent-rich, resource-poor part of the globe

is beginning to make its contribution felt.

That's the way it should be. For GNU/Linux, after all, is the package

of computer applications and an operating system which has been cooperatively

developed by thousands of people all over the world.

Based largely on volunteer-power, Linux has grown to now function as

an alternative to Microsoft Windows (or Windows NT on your server) and Apple's

MacOS.

As this happens, LUGs are springing up across India. If you don't believe

this, a simple search on yahoogroups.com would collobrate. Some Indian LUGs

are small, others are ambitious and happening places to be at. (Linux User

Groups, the voluntary groups that take to evangelising for what has become

one of the most powerful computer operating systems in the world.)

Probably there are reasons for Indian code-warriors delayed arrival on

the scene.

Access to the Internet opened up for the average Indian only in August

1997. (Before that it was only the priviledged few of academics and officials

who had access to slow-connections onto the Internet.) This opening up has

unveiled new possibilities of code-collaborations across the globe. In under

five years of Net opening up -- first in the big metros, and then spreading

to smaller centres -- the contribution from India to Linux has grown vastly.

Could the months ahead see an unleashing of the GNUIndia power globally?

Take a look at what's already available.

On one extreme, there are examples like the Simputer -- inching its way

towards somewhat-delayed yet much-awaited completion. The project to build

a sub-$200 commanman's computing device is based on Linux. It has already

earned a lot of headlines. But, more interesting are the scores of

initiatives by little-noticed individuals across the country.

Dr Mahesh Jayachandra's Peacock Solutions in Bangalore calls itself the