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I am teaching them about internet. I am enjoying a lot.

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When was the last time you lent few hundred rupees to your best friend without thinking of getting it back in return? When was the last time you showed your collection of Coins or Stamps or DVDs to your nephew without being tensed of they spoiling it? When was the last time you lent your car to your dearest friend without hoping that he will return it without an extra bump or scratch on it?

Long long time ago, probably when you were kids. I guess not, kids especially are possessive about their toys and stuff.

Now again, when was the last time you shared a hilarious video link with your friends? When was the last time your shared an idea with your friend and other who follow you on Twitter? When was the last time you kept a movie on torrent even after it was fully downloaded so that others could download it from you? When was the last time you wrote a nice poem or a story or an experience on your blog so that others can enjoy it?

I guess, the answer for almost all the second set of questions is “Today or yesterday”.

Why such a difference? Why is sharing much more easier on Internet but not in real world?

Well, no prizes for the right answer. Because the obvious answer is that sharing on internet does not mean that you are loosing something. You will still have the video with you to watch again, you will still have the idea with you and you will still have the poem or the story or the experience with you. Which means, things on internet are growing as you share  them.

A perfect example is “Wikipedia”. While an Indian match goes on, the score of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar keeps getting updated on his wikipedia page after every run he scores. I can understand why cricinfo guys do it, for the ad money but why is a person sitting in some remote place in front of his T.V. watching the match updating the wiki page simultaneously. Because he just wants to give the most updated information to his set of readers whom he does not even know. He is just contributing to it so that others also do the same for the contents which he reads on the internet.

So the obvious answer for the question was that on internet things grow as you share them and that is why we share them. As long as we do not loose the stuff we have, we are quite happy to share it others.

Then, how about software? Shouldnt they be also shared? I mean, even softwares grow as we share them with others without loss to the source.

Similarly, what about knowledge? Havnt we reached this wonderful world of technology with Iphones and 3D movies and aeroplanes because our predecessors shared the knowledge that they had without restricting it? Zero was discovered in India and it travelled all the way to Persia from where it reached all the corners of the world. Havent we been sharing knowledge from long long time.

So here are some more difficult questions for you.

In the world of sharing of knowledge, where does patents fit in?

In the world of sharing of softwares, where does licenses and proprietary softwares fit in?

And does it makes sense to put any type of restrictions on people sharing over internet?

Please share your views.

P.S. I thought of writing this blog when I read few lines of a junk article in a newspaper by Arindam Chaudhuri where he condemned internet and said that internet was full of articles that were written to spread wrong news and justifies the latest policy of Indian government to put restrictions on internet bloggers/contents.

On 28th May, I attended Ilug-Bengaluru meeting. Deependra had called for the meetup and he had asked if FSMK office could be used as the venue. Since there was no other event planned in the office at the time, we were glad to provide the venue. Since the event clashed with the samudaya campaign event, only me and Prabodh sir from FSMK could attend the meetup. We were joined by Hobbes, Deependra and Harish from the ilug-Bengaluru. From FSMK’s side, we informed about the different events that we were conducting in the colleges, especially the success we had in St. Joseph with a course on free software technology.

Later, the discussion turned towards the importance of having a noname.conf again this year considering the success it had last year. Last year, the conference had got around 50 attendees and it had diverse topics for discussions ranging from startups to localization to discussion about various distributions. It also featured the screening of the Blender movie, Sintel.

Clearly, for a city like Bengaluru, which has been hosting almost all the major conferences in FOSS domain, like, National conference on Free software by FSMK, Pycon in MSRIT, FOSS.IN in Nimhans Convention Centre, GNOME Asia in Dayanand College, KDE conf in RVCE, Ubuntu Developer Day by Canonical, there is a need to organize regular meetups to keep the people connected apart from just during the events.

Hobbes proposed to conduct second noname.conf on August 27th, which is considered as the anniversary week for Linux. The plan is to target around 150-200 participants during the noname.conf. Like last year, noname.conf will be open to anybody and everybody to come and discuss anything associated with FOSS technology.

The noname.conf will then be followed by a major FOSS conference in Novemeber which will target audience and speakers from all over India.

For such a plan to get implemented, it is necessary that before noname.conf, FOSS evangelists regularly meet. Hobbes gave the example of meetups in 2003 which managed to get around 50 participants every meetup. Clearly if in past when there was little awareness of GNU/Linux amongst people, if the meetups managed to get an attendance of 50 people every single time, managing the same at present time shouldnt be a difficult task. The only bottleneck we identified was the current split in the community in Bangalore. The split makes sense as each group have their own way of seeing FOSS technology and its impact. However we also need to make sure that the split does not inhibit new comers to join. Currently there is a lack for a local platform for new comers to come and learn the technology. Even though the groups are individually trying to make such platforms, if we get together, the impact will much more profound.

Hence we call upon members of all the groups which share the idea of spreading and using FOSS at all levels to join us during our meetups. The meetup is planned to be conducted on every last weekend of the month. The venue and the exact date and time will be broadcasted in all mailing lists as soon as they are fixed. We hope to see active participation from all FOSS enthusiasts and veterans.

Trip to Malavalli village
Left at 8:00 am on Saturday from Kalasipalya, in a bus to Haleguru
Reached at around 12:00.
Directly went visited Boregowda’s house.
KrishnaGowda explained in detail what is happening in the silk market.
Mr. Shrinivasa, a sericulturist himself and a neighbor of Mr. Boregowda also joined KrishnaGowda and explained the scenario.
There was a lot of excitement amongst people and many inciteful questions unlike the questions that were being asked to KrishnaGowda and Boregowda by the media during Candle Light Vigil.
Meanwhile during the questionnaire, I moved out of the group and I chatted with Mr. Mahadeva. He is just around 21 yrs old but looks much older due to the toughness of the work in the fields. He is also the cousin of the deceased lady. He explains to me that he is the only male in his family and that is the reason that even though he has finished JOC(Finance and Banking) after his 10th with 68%, he hasn’t gone to city for work. He has 5 acres of land. He says they grow Sesame and groundnut during rainy season and mulberry leaves during other seasons.
Then had a very tasty lunch in the house of Mr. Boregowda. Village people were eager to serve us and even though it was about 3:00, not even the children of the house had had their lunch since we the guest, hadn’t had lunch.
Since our introduction to each other in the group had been postponed due to lack of time in the pre-lunch session, we start it after lunch. Each one also tells us how and why he/she became a part of the group.
Then we divide in two groups. First group which plans to stay during the night and second which plans to go back to Bangalore in the evening. As I was planning to leave in the evening, I join the second group.
The plan for the second group was to visit a nearby village and interact with sericulturist in the village. A farmer from the other village guides us to his village. It is around 1 km from_______ and as we walk on the straight road with fields on both its sides, he looks at the sky in the far and informs that it is going to rain heavily and we need to hurry. We ask him if we will be able to see any cocoons in his village, and he says that he knows a farmer who is cultivating it at this time.
As we walk, I discuss the various doubts I had with Jayakumar. The problem of the loan that Mr. Boregowda’s son had taken needed to be repaid. We had initiated a process to create FD for Rs. 10,000 each per child which will be given to the children only each of them reaches the age of 18 under the care of their grandfather. However, this money even though useful will not solve the problem of the loan that BoreGowda had to repay now. Jayakumar clarified my doubt by saying that we as a group cannot function as a charitable organization as we might loose focus to the main issue in that case. Even though the loan was an issue, trying to solve it will only misdirect the current focus which was to make the government to change the policy and get the import tax back to 30.66% instead of the current 5%.
Also, I had a doubt of why the farmers in India cannot group together and cultivate like the big farm industry in the West by using machines and other technology. To this, Jayakumar said that in India there were around 70% farmer population out of which 50% were farm laborers.

Interaction with Mr. Mahadeva
Being 21 year old, he is the only earning member in his house. He has finished his JOC(Finance and Banking) but did not go to city as he did not want to leave the land uncultivated. He has around 5 acres of land and cultivates Sesame and groundnut during rainy season and mulberry leaves for silkworms for the rest of the year.
Are many children going to school in the village?
Not till the present generation, but from this generation, nearly all children attend school. Infact most of the children actually go to convent private school which has a fees of about Rs. 3000 even when the government school provide free education and mid-day meal. In each class of the government school, there are hardly 7-8 children where as in the convent school there are around 20-25 children in the convent school. The parents are regularly informed in the convent school about the progress of the child and since even parents have paid fees, even they show interest.
What can you do if the government does nothing for the improvement of the farmers?
We can not do anything. We are hoping for people like you in the city to help us.
Do the villagers regularly meet and discuss regarding the present condition of the market?
No, they do not have any such meetings
What do you do when you require loans in case of emergencies?
We take loan mostly from friends and neighbors. MFIs have not yet reached this village but they are money lenders in Haleguru who charge them as much as 5-10% per month.
Have you taken any loans?
No
The present market price for 1 kg of cocoon is Rs. 192. How much do you think is the total investment in the complete production of 1 kg.
It takes atleast Rs. 120-130 investment per kg. We need to invest on the eggs, chemicals and then the irrigation water.
Why cant the villagers join and do farming together?
How can we do farming together. If it were relatives, we could have done it. But with others it is not possible.
I insist on creating a common place where each one of them can keep the worms and maintain the temperature using electricity.
He says it is not possible.

Silkworm to Cocoon:
Villages buy worm eggs from the market which has usualky 300

As always, this is my another new attempt to do some contribution to Free Software community. Hopefully this will give some result unlike all my previous ventures. So let me explain how to start.

I have taken up debian-installer package for localization. No specific reason other than that the person who introduced me to localization was already working on it and hence it was a good starting point.

So to start with, you need to get all the packages which help you type kannada in your system.

Packages that you need to install are:

  • Scim : Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) is an input method (IM) platform.  Input methods are needed to enter complex characters in many non-latin languages.
  • Scim-bridge-client-gtk : scim-bridge is a wrapper libray for SCIM, written in C.
  • Scim-m17n: M17N (Multilingualization) Input Method Engine enables SCIM to input many non-latin characters from the keyboard using libm17n library.
  • ttf-indic-fonts: This package merely depends on the various Indian language font packages available in Debian. Use this if you want fonts for every official Indian language.

This should get the system ready. To test it, Open Gedit. Right click on a new page and Select Input Methods as Scim-input-method. Now Press Ctrl+Space. You should see the icon of scim on the bottom right of the screen. Select Kannada in the list and in Kannada select Kn-itrans. Now type something in english and you will notice that it will get converted to Kannada while you type.

Different type of Kannada input methods:

There are mainly two types:

Kn-itrans: In this, you will be typing in english and that will be automatically getting converted phonotically in kannada. So if you type in english as “nanna hesaru vignesh”, you will notice in the screen as “ನನ್ನ ಹೆಸರು ವಿಗ್ನೆಶ್”. This is good for people who are planning to use kannada only occasionally and hence dont want to understand the complete keyboard layout of Kannada. There are problems also in this method. Like I have not yet been able to find a way to type in “swanta” the way it should come in kannada with a “n” circle. I am able to get “ಸ್ವನ್ತ” but this is wrong.

Kn-inscript: In this, you will be typing in kannada itself and hence you will have to know the exact layout of kannada keyboard. Obvious way is to replace the English alphabets with Kannada alphabets on the keyboard. This is useful for those who regularly use Kannada for typing and hence will soon get to understand and memorize the layout.

With this understanding you will be able to start typing in Kannada.

“We dont want to be a Nero’s guest” is what everyone had to say when around 130 people from various parts of Bangalore gathered to raise voice against Farmer suicides. It included software professionals, research scholars, students, professors and state government employees. All of them could have continued doing what they did on their weekends i.e. party with their friends, visit amazing places near Bangalore or just watch a movie and sleep. But they chose not to because how much ever you ignore it, you can not just feel it right to enjoy a happy life with your neighbours committing suicide. Especially when it is for around the same amount that you spend for your family on a weekend.

Just our saying that “We dont want to be a Nero’s guest” doesnt change anything. It wont bring the 200,000 farmers who have already committed suicide and it wont change the policies to stop more farmer suicides. But what it does is to let the government know that they cannot just get away with this. We cannot any more have the policies in favour of the minority of the people in name of development and let the majority starve to death. It is a perfect recipe to disaster and sooner or later we will trigger it if we dont do anything to change the current scenario.

As planned, we started the protest march at 5 pm from Mysore Bank Circle with around 60 people each holding a banner. We did manage to get the attention of the people who were travelling on the road and distributed the pamphlets too. Hope atleast some would have read them and will contact us back and join us in this cause. We raised slogan against the current reduction in silk import tax from 30.66% to 5% and the anti farmers policies that the both central government and state government having been imposing in every budget. We reached Town Hall at around 5:45 where around 40-50 people were already sitting with banners.

At the town hall, we started with a street play depicting the inequality between an engineer living in an urban area and a farmer. An engineer gets atleast a call per day informing him of the various loans that he can avail to buy luxury items which can be sanctioned to him without any security. Where as the same banks do not have any money to lend to farmers who have been working hard in the fields but do not have security for the banks. The play depicted the current scenario perfectly where in politicians are happy to subsidize electricity to malls in the cities on the cost of cut offs and load sheding for more than half of a day in villages. With banks and politicians giving no heed to the voices of the distressed farmers, they are forced to borrow money from wealthy money lenders in villages at an exorbitant rate of interest of minimum of 36% and which can go as high as 120%. With all doors closed the farmers are left with little choice but committing suicides, hoping they will not be reborn atleast as a farmer in their next life.

After the street play, Senthil gave a brief introduction of how the idea of conducting the vigil had come up and why it was such an important event. He thanked all the participating organizations like AID Bangalore, ITEC, Sugathi, Concern and many more. He represented the people who had all gathered when he said that we were all ashamed to face someone like Shri Boregowda who had lost his son and daughter-in-law due to the policies of the government that favoured us. He also mentioned the pathetic condition of the current media which had not covered the farmers suicides.

After his talk, Senthil asked Shri Bore Gowda to come and speak a few words. He explained to everybody how both his son and his daughter-in-law were already in debt but were planning to clear the debt with the good production they had this season. However the sudden fall of cocoon prices became the trigger for them to take such a drastic step. The sad grand-father who had been left with 3 grand-children had only the future of his grand-children in mind. He requested everybody to come forward and help to give a good life to his grand-children. He also told how many local government authorities had visited them and promised compensation but none of whom had actually dispatched any amount till now.

After this, Mr. Krishna Gowda, a sericulture activist from Mandya, gave us the complete picture of the impact of the import tax reduction. Though the government currently has decreased the silk import tax in pretext of the move to help the silk weavers, he told us that it hardly actually helps the weavers. It actually help the bosses of the rich bosses of the weavers who will now be making huge profits. He told that the price fall happened due to the anticipation of the fall of silk price when the actual policy will be implemented from April 1st. Anticipating the fall of silk price, the dealers in the market emptied their stocks of silk thus causing such a huge crash in silk price. He mentioned that how both central govt and state govt had completely ignored the matter. If only the state government had inject money to support the price of the silk, such a fall in price could have been averted. He also mentioned that the actual repercussion of the reduction in silk import will be seen when  Chinese silk will enter Indian market with the meagre 5% import tax. This, he warned us, will actually lead to many more suicides if not acted upon immediately.

This was soon followed by a talk by B. Suresh, a popular director who is known to make more sensible kannada movies than his counterparts who believe in making movies with just songs and masalas. With twilight dawning, we simultaneously started the candle lighting event with Shri Bore Gowda lighting the first candle. Soon we had more than 100 candles lighting to show the solidarity for all the farmers who have committed suicide and to let all the farmers living that their neighbours in the city for whom they have been tilling the field and feeding with their hard work will do their best to help them lead a happy life.

With atleast, TV 9 and Samaya NEWS channel covering the event and reporters from The Hindu, we hope to see at least this burning issue of Farmer suicides reaching the National pages of the news papers and Breaking News tags of TV NEWS channels. However, one thing is sure, we are not going to stop and this is just the beginning. A group of people will be soon visiting the affected villages and understand the ground reality which will then help us to actually think of some concrete steps that we can take to help these sericulture farmers.

Do contact us if you would like to join us and help us end up eating the very own hands that feed us. We are reachable at,

http://www.itecentre.co.in/node/18

You can keep yourself updated about this issue by following the wiki page that we have created, http://farmer-suicide-and-it.wikispaces.com/

I always wanted to do something for him. Through out my life I had seen him sacrificing to keep me happy. These were small things but these were the things due to which I am whatever I am. Very often, there would be one apple and two of us. So to make me eat the full apple, he used to say that he did not like apple. Slowly, he started disliking more and more things for me. He also got too comfortable with his old clothes so that I could have new one. We were not poor but as most of the middle class families, we had limited budgets. I always used to think that when I grow up I will make up for it. After all I was a small boy at that time. What could I have done. I studied hard and got good marks and that was all I could do. Slowly I grew up to be a college boy but still I was small. I did not earn anything but I did spend a lot. We had grown from middle class to upper middle class, so I had the luxury. But I didnt observe the cut downs that he was making. He didnt buy a car so that he could sponsor my graduation.  Then the incident happened. He was diagnosed with a terminal illness. But somehow I had hope. After all he had been a good man through out his life, why would God punish him this way. If anyone had to be punished, it had to me for bullying him to agree my terms. But 2 years later, he passed away and I was left all alone with the huge burden of things I wanted to do for him. Now I dont know what to do with all the plans that I had made for him. I have money now but no one to enjoy it with. I make self sacrifice but that does not bring a smile on anybody’s face. I do not know how to reduce this burden. If only amongst so many things he disliked, I knew one thing he liked. But I never asked. It is now I realize that whatever you want to do for others, it is now or never.

Many of you must have heard about the farmer suicides. Almost everybody must have thought to do something for them. Probably as soon as you reach 40, each one of you want to be a politician or a social worker and change the policies in favour of the farmers. Or probably you are waiting to finish one last project that you are presently involved in. But please realize that it is NOW or NEVER. Inequality is the fastest growing sector in India and we need to arrest it as soon as possible. Farmer suicides have become so common that NEWS channels consider it as a information than a NEWS. Come join us to wake the people of India and save our farmer brothers. Please let us not have to carry the burden of things that we wanted to do for the farmers to our graves. Be there on 26th of March at TownHall at 5 pm. For more information, http://farmer-suicide-and-it.wikispaces.com


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