04.14.10

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India Chooses Life Over Patents; Microsoft Chooses Poorly-Paid Labour in India

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

Beautiful entrance

Summary: India is unloading the yoke of patents while Microsoft takes its business to India, where it is patenting software and paying people a pittance to develop software that is limiting the Indian population rather than enabling it

BIOLOGY THE “OPEN SOURCE” way is one area where we find the applicability of Free software to humanitarian efforts. We wrote about the subject before and offered many references in this old post. The gist of it is that more and more companies decide to share their findings in drug development in order to make drug discovery more rapid, less wasteful, and beneficial to the population. Exclusion and isolation can make one company very rich, but it’s neither good for the industry as a whole nor for the population which would suffer more deaths (slower response to pandemics and higher cost for essential remedies).

“The population understands the impact of being dependent on expensive drugs from abroad (or from multinationals).”Solidarity in India seems to be improved by the fact that the local population understands imperialism (some have experienced it “first hand”). The population understands the impact of being dependent on expensive drugs from abroad (or from multinationals). This probably contributes to the fact that, as an official record at least, there are no software patents in India (in reality, loopholes are being exploited to bypass the law).

“Open Source Drug Discovery” has just received a good shot in the arm with the news that Indian researchers won’t patent tuberculosis genome, unlike some of their peers in the West. The news is rather massive and it got covered in the following sources (mostly from India):

1. Indian scientists decode TB bacteria genome

Scientists said that though 1.7 million people die of TB every year globally, there has not been any new drug discovery for last the four to five decades.

“OSDD is a completely new formula across the world. Here we are making all our progress available to public. Anyone can take advantage and develop a drug based on our research. The aim here is not patents but drug discovery for a neglected disease,” said Rajesh Gokhle, a senior scientist associated with the project.

2. Indian Scientists Refuse To Patent Tuberculosis Genome, Encourage Anyone To Make The Drugs

So it’s nice to see that even now that India does allow patents on pharma (and, as we noted in the original story, Indian patent laws have been abused by foreign pharma firms in order to jack up prices on commonly used medicines), some Indian scientists have mapped out the tuberculosis genome, which should help creating new drugs that can help respond to that disease.

3. Sreelatha Menon: The gene of sharing

Here is the Tim Berner Lee of medicine. He is right here in India and is the latest hero of science students and drug researchers across the world. Samir Brahmachari, director-general of the Centre for Science and Industrial Research and founder and mentor of the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) programme initiated by India, dreams about making drugs for poor man’s diseases. He also dreams of making these drugs available to the poor, just as Tim Berner Lee, with his larger-than-large heart, made world wide web freely available to the world at no cost.

4. Scientists map TB genome

The TB gene map, developed under the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) initiative of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will be available in the public domain for drug makers.

5. Findings of C2D project

At a conference on Sunday, the Government’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) initiative released the findings of its ‘Connect 2 Decode’ (C2D) project to re-annotate the biological and genetic data concerning the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) genome.

6. Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome mapping released

7. Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome mapping released

8. India decodes TB bacteria, paves way for new drug

9. Mapping of TB genome

10. India creates a new formula across the world

11. PU student researchers awarded for contribution to genome project

12. CSIR seeks corporate help for TB drugs

13. Can Open Source Defeat the Scourge of Tuberculosis?

14. Detailed map of TB genome to help treatment

15. India maps TB genome

16. CSIR seeks corporate help for TB drugs

This news from India demonstrates healthy doses of ethics, but there are still some multinationals in India and “local” companies which work on behalf of monopolists from the West. “Slavery” (unacceptable labour conditions) is an accusation commonly thrown at Infosys, which acts like an offshoot of Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. Infosys is also a patent nuisance in India, as we have shown before. Here is the latest patent shame of Infosys:

Infosys Seeks U.S. Patent On Offshoring U.S. Jobs

theodp writes “It’s interesting to see that famed offshoring firm Infosys is now seeking U.S. patent protection for its Framework for Supporting Transition of One or More Applications of an Organization, which Infosys explains ‘relates generally to the field of outsourcing or offshoring of one or more applications of an organization.’ Prior to this invention, Infosys says it was necessary for a vendor organization to incur hefty visa and travel costs to allow a ‘significant number’ of employees from its offshore location to ‘visit the client’s location to interact with the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)’ before returning ‘to the offshore location to transfer the knowledge to the offshore team.”

Guess whose workforce Infosys is offshoring? From the news in Australia we have:

Software giant Microsoft has outsourced the global management of its internal IT software infrastructure to Indian outsourcer Infosys for the next three years.

In a bizarre move for the Redmond-based software giant, Infosys has been contracted to help Microsoft manage a deployment of enterprise software coded by Microsoft in the first place.

As our reader Marti put it this morning, “Windows is so hard to manage, even Microsoft have to get outside help!” A lot of Windows is being developed in India since the days of Vista. We wrote about it before and cited the mainstream sources (including the press).

“When it comes to Free software, Indian developers are at least given independence as freelancers.”Here at Techrights we point out that technology companies have too many rights*, whereas technology users typically have none (we seek liberation for the users). The same goes for developers. The balance ought to be changed such that developers are paid better and their superiors feel afraid, rather than those poorly-paid developers always being afraid (of being sacked) while their superiors are paid obscene amounts of money and can get away with anything.

When it comes to Free software, Indian developers are at least given independence as freelancers. Here is a new report about Joomla development/setup in India.

TIS India has become a preferable choice all around the world for specialized Joomla Development outsourcing services at competitive pricing.

At least they distribute Free software which their clients are free to modify as they see fit. This is how development used to be some decades ago and this is how it ought to be.
___
* In this modern world of technology, companies are sometimes treated like organisms with feelings and thus with rights and securities.

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