People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 07

February 15, 2004

Another Software Is Possible

IN the progress to another world, alternative software to the propriety software was used at the media centre. GNU/linux was the buzzword around the media center with 140 computers working on free softwares, with volunteers always at hand round the clock to help. The director of FSF India, G Nagarjuna, who is also a scientinst in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) was instrumental in executing the project. 

With an initiative of developing a software for WSF, the Gnoware project was started six months prior to the World Social Forum at TIFR. A 30 member student team from TIFR was working in networking as well as on the website required for the alternative media. While the total number of volunteers working in the media centre were 60, a 30 member GNU/Linux group (GLUG) from Mumbai worked for the successful running of the media centre.

The slogan at the WSF being another world is possible, an alternative to the proprietary software’s was actually implemented making Another Software Possible, and resulted in a hassle-free solution. Most of the journalists accustomed to proprietary software’s like Microsoft Windows were working with great ease even with GNU/Linux, Open office replaced Microsoft office, Mozilla replaced Internet Explorer and there were more than 800 packages installed which replaced the proprietary stuff. Though with a very few hassles the volunteers configured the digital cameras, the interviews and speeches recorded were converted to digital files by the journalists themselves. There was a complete solution even for video editing and transmission. This project has proved how IT professionals can show an alternative to the corporate dominated globalised world. Where free in free software doesn’t speak about the cost but to use, modify, change and distribute software’s in freedom.