Bonum Certa Men Certa

Since When is Bill Gates an Indian Official?

Bill Gates and Nasscom
From NASSCOM, add the caption



Summary: Sachin Pilot (centre) answers questions about the government's policies on Free software and open standards; Gates' lobbying revisited

LAST NIGHT we wrote about NASSCOM, which has a track record of fawning over Microsoft lobbyist Bill Gates and his interests [1, 2].



In one of our previous posts we showed how NASSCOM had sold out to Gates and bragged about it in its Web site (that's where the photo above comes from).

A reader of ours who recognised the guy in the middle, Sachin Pilot (Union Minister of State for Communications and Technology), has also found some revealing text, which he describes as "questions and lame answers from Indian parliament on Free software and open standards adoption in the Government of India."

Therein, OpenOffice.org is described as "public domain", which shows serious misunderstanding of what Free software is about and how it works. Anyway, here is the text in full:

Question : P Rajeev ( CPI-M MP )

(a) whether Government has issued any order for using public domain software such as open office in Government offices instead of proprietary software;

(b) if so, number of departments/offices that have complied with the order; and

(c) if not, would the Government consider ensuring the use of public domain software that are conforming to open standards as it provides advantages of user freedom, lower cost, vendor independence, and as such beneficial to the users?

ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SACHIN PILOT)

(a): No, Sir.

(b): Does not arise.

(c): Government has set up a National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software to carry out Research and Development, Human Resource Development, resource centres creation in specific areas and their deployment with the primary objective of building awareness and culture of Free and Open Source Software uses, thereby helping users to take informed decision.

GOVERMENT OF INDIA MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY)

RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 1339 TO BE ANSWERED ON 16.7.2009

OPEN STANDARD FORMATS

1339. SHRI P. RAJEEVE

Will the Minister of INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:-

(a) whether there is any Government order issued to use open standard formats for official communication and web interfaces;

(b) if so, the departments that has implemented it; and

(c) if not, Government's stand on using open standard formats in Government offices and institutions?

ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SACHIN PILOT )

(a): No, Sir.

(b): Does not arise.

(c): Open Standards help building e-Governance solutions that are interoperable. However, it is a very contentious matter and requires wider consultations with Industry, academia and other stakeholders.


Translation: open standards are not something we have looked at.

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