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India Moves to Free Software, So Microsoft Fights Back with Gentle Bribes and Partners

Summary: Political parties in the country embrace FOSS, but Microsoft carries on with EDGI, gifts, and dumping of software

BEFORE we begin this long post, here is a must-read background story to those who are not aware of Microsoft's abuses against the Indian people. This is part of Microsoft's EDGI in India [1, 2].



Moreover, as we shall see later, Microsoft is assisted by corruptible professors. We already know that Microsoft is bribing professors to merely mention Microsoft software while at the same time bullying professors who do not agree with Microsoft's agenda. This happens even in India (we are still seeing such stories) where it appears to have bribed many local charities (for advancement of agenda).

How low can one stoop? Well, having somehow sneaked a Windows mail server (as in Exchange Server) into the prime minister's office, it turns out that it led to tremendous trouble. As with any platform that's a petri dish to crackers, the prime minister's office too had its server infected by viruses for several months.

E-mail system of the Prime Minister's Office was under the grip of a computer virus for three months last year forcing officials to replace the software.

The technical glitch plagued the e-mail communication system of the PMO, which was based on the Microsoft Outlook Express, from February to April in 2008.

Although the extent of damage was uncertain, the PMO said that most of the e-mails addressed to it were not received.


This article from the Times of India wrongly calls it a "computer virus". It's really a Windows virus. Computers don't have viruses. They are commodity hardware.

The good news (the fallout) is that as a result of this incident the prime minister's office -- or PMO -- will be moving to GNU/Linux.

Just read it this morning in TOI at page 7. PM Office has migrated to Linux based mailing solution. Its a great achievent for the Open Source Community in India.

Here goes the complete report

BUGGED Virus gripped PMO’s email for 3 months New Delhi: Email system of the Prime Minister’s Office was under the grip of a computer virus for three months last year forcing officials to replace the software. The technical glitch plagued the email communication system of the PMO, which was based on the Microsoft Outlook Express, from February to April in 2008.


But this is just a prelude to more good news.

“This article from the Times of India wrongly calls it a "computer virus". It's really a Windows virus.”Someone from Red Hat has just told us that "major Indian political parties support open source and open standards." Here is the relevant page and the vision of The Bharatiya Janata Party [PDF]. According to the person who sent this to us, this document "makes extensive reference to open source as an integral part of their IT plans. This was unveiled on Saturday, 14th March, 2009, by LK Advani who is their candidate for prime minister, if the BJP comes to power.

"The CPI(M), another major national party has been a long time supporter of free and open source software:

  1. We advocate usage of free software at all levels


  2. CPI(M) for free and open source software


"Even in the Congress, the other major national party in India, Prithviraj Chavan who is currently a minister in the Prime Minister's Office had advocated the use of open source in India in a TV interview which was conducted immediately after your party came to power in 2004.

"What this means is that there is a broad consensus emerging around open source and open standards in a market that consists of a billion plus people. The next five years are going to be very, very interesting!"

LinuxToday has a report about this too. In short:

Indian prime minister-in-waiting and Opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani of the BJP has come out with a stand that is seen to strongly favour Free Software and Open Source, released here today. While politicians are known to be lavish with pre-poll promises, Open Source campaigners were upbeat over the development.


Even Glyn Moody has just covered it.

Microsoft Fights Back with "Addiction" Ware



“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

--Bill Gates



A few days ago we found out that an entity called IDG Ventures, which is not related to another IDG that's in Microsoft's pocket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is helping Microsoft "addict" children and startups.

IDG Ventures, Microsoft India partners to aid startups



Bangalore: In a bid to provide to aid the technology startups, IDG Ventures India and Microsoft India partnered to give access to Microsoft suite and funding of up to Rs.25 crore by IDG Ventures. Under the program Early Stage Funding Program, Microsoft will offer suite at no upfront cost under the company's BizSpark program and IDG Ventures will invest up to Rs.100 crore in startups.


This was also covered in LiveMint.

Another person from India (not affiliated with any company) has sent us information about more of the plot which Microsoft organised to fight back against Free software adoption across the country.

"They organize something called bootcamp. The software molester is trying to molest education now. In that boot camp they train (brainwash) students [and] provide them costly food and hotel suits (as bribe) […] [...] pre-grease tomorrow's gov and business leaders. Lots of groups try to be good to tomorrow's leaders, but the Microsoft case doesn't inspire confidence in me.

"I got a lot of pictorial evidence about how Microsoft is cheating engineering college students," wrote our source. Here are the pictures that he sent us.


[Picture removed at the request of the author]
Camp organised by Microsoft India




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
Guys and girls at this Microsoft camp




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
Part of the Microsoft-sponsored tour




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
Microsoft-sponsored tour




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
Microsoft-sponsored tour




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
The luxury hotel where Microsoft put these students




[Picture removed at the request of the author]
The train whose costs Microsoft covered



Here are the crude remarks sent later to accompany these photos:

Microsoft Bootcamp details

Microsoft runs something called "Microsoft campus club" in most of the famous engineering colleges in India (not only from Tamilnadu, there are participants from other states too ). The students of corresponding colleges are chosen to take care of this club, Microsoft calls these students as "Microsoft student partners" (shortly MSP).

They use these students to teach (brainwash/addict) other students with Microsoft’s technologies like Dot net, etc.

  1. These students mostly act as a ambassador of Microsoft in colleges
  2. They motivate students to take part in competitions like http://www.goalivechallenge.com/ (Web design contest by Microsoft, the only technology allowed is ASP.NET and Silverlight)
  3. They distribute free copies of Windows, if the academic institution has a academic alliance license (colleges have to pay 2laks to get this license... just heard from someone, not sure)
  4. Setting up Microsoft ELMS (details below)
  5. Recruiting the next MSP


About bootcamp: (Recently in Hyderabad, Andra pradesh)

It's a camp for these MSP's

Microsoft pleases/bribes the MSP's by providing them free copies of their DVDs, t-shirts, lots of small gifts... they take them to tour (like picnic :D see picture) They make the students to stay in luxury hotels (see pictures) and a lot more.

The main objective of this club is to get them addicted, get the education system in their control.

It's too bad... see how many students are getting cheated.

[...]

I haven't included any pictures that could show individual MSP's face for their privacy


This informant "wonders why they are doing this in India [and] also wonders if it only happens in India." But another readers of ours, who studies in the United States says that "there are professors at my school that push Silverlight [...] these are older professors [...] they use the excuse that it's what employers want these days (Silverlight, Adobe Flex, etc [...] I don't know if I told you but they teach VB.NET at this place too. [...] I have a friend that's convinced that ASP.NET is the way to go [and] considers other stuff "toys" [...] they also teach C# [...] information science majors must take a year of VB.NET based programming."

“They wrote cheques for $200 to people who just dropped names of Microsoft products publicly.”Look back at the beginning of this post where we referred to solid proof that Microsoft had bribed professors even just to mention Microsoft software. They wrote cheques for $200 to people who just dropped names of Microsoft products publicly. It seems to be similar in parts of Europe.

Going back to India, it ought to be added that they also exploit schools for their "addiction" that's directed squarely at students. We have this leaked letter about Microsoft ELMS, which is how Microsoft achieves a lot of the above.

Again it's worth stressing: For those who think it's an India-only issue, well... it's not. Just looking a few days back at the news, we find similar stunts happening in Thailand. It's worth remembering dirty tricks that Microsoft was pulling in Thailand because there are some large adoptions/deployments there of OpenOffice.org. Let's not forget the OOXML irregularities in Thailand and Microsoft's EDGI over there [1, 2]. Well, right now Thailand is being further manipulated by a Microsoft top executive who visits the prime minister. Microsoft is trying to extend an "e-Learning project" by another 5 years.

The commitments discussed with the prime minister included a five-year extension of the Partner e-Learning project, a re-training project involving 2 million unemployed workers in Thailand, and a three-year joint research and development project with the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec).


All these sudden "extensions" are very reminiscent of what we find in Finland. Informed citizens must not let them get away with it.

"As a supplicant to government, you cannot afford to bulls't! Government reserves that right for itself."

--Famous quote, Anonymous

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