The Battle for Bangalore

The latest “Our Man from Mozilla” column in The Times Online is now available. Titled “The Battle for Bangalore“, it contrasts two recent events in the city in terms of the battle for the hearts and minds of legions of Indian software developers.

10 thoughts on “The Battle for Bangalore

  1. unfortunately I dont see India contributing much to the floss movement for exactly the reason that article states. I studied under the Indian system (Kerela) until 6th grade, the only way to pass is through rote memorization and not through understanding the matierial, and the biggest problem was creativety being stifled, this was ofcourse in elementry grades when creativety is supposed to be encouraged. I have no idea what goes on in the secondary or post secondary level of education but I am assuming the same continues due to the prevelance of standardized exams.

  2. Gerv:
    I couldn’t figure out if your article was a commentary on the state-of-affairs, a call for Indian software developers to contribute to OSS or call to action for OSS folk to take on Microsoft in recruiting Indian software developers.

    Having studied in India, I have a few comments about your article:
    > “Code4Bill” – a recruiting exercise dressed up as a competition
    In India, Microsoft’s image is one of a world-class software company, not that of an evil monopoly. (It could have something to do with the rampant software piracy). Therefore a microsoft recruiting exercise would not turn off potential developers, like it would either in the US or UK.

    > not much code is making its way back to the major projects
    Plenty of reasons:
    – Lack of decent internet connectivity (its changing, but only in the last couple of years)
    – Financials: An intern in US probably makes more than the starting salary of a full time software developer. How can one expect young developers to start contributing to OSS.
    – Like you mentioned, a large part of the Indian Education System is still geared towards the colonial, creating assembly line workers – a legacy of the british rule. That is changing, albeit slowly. What is needed is for OSS people to engage with professors in primary educational institutions. If CSE coursework in IITs and other places encourages work on OSS, you’ll see the tables turning.

    > The event’s sponsor list reads … Intel, Google, Sun, HP
    This is excellent. There’s two ways to show the benefits of OSS to Indian developers:
    1. Educational Institutes
    2. Corporate Sponsorship. Something like Google promoting employees to work 20% of their time on favorite projects.

  3. Nitin: My article could be all of those things, but it’s primarily the former. If I want to issue a call-to-arms, the Business section of the Times Online may not be the best vehicle :-) Thanks for your comments – very interesting.

  4. When even many OS programmers from developed countries are jumping to corporates such as Google, I don’t think programmers living in India can afford to stand on the OS shoulders.

    (Though I live in India, my comments are Secular humanistic).

  5. That was a good article.

    The BLUG has been debating about the same thing, and some of the thinks that has come up is the hack fest that Shreyas came up with.

    Although, in general, I do see many Indians contributing, the problem is that it is generally not that visible or publicized.

  6. Interesting observations. However, it seems like the cultural barrier would be broken only if small amount of grants are directly paid to source contributors in India that would pick up some momentum.

    Meanwhile, be happy with folks who contribute on their own time :-) and these could be the ones who could have been guided by those who were spared of the formal Indian education system or might have got their enlightenment when they left India to work elsewhere.

    Be assured that the future of “Open Source development is in India”. Believe me, at least in Healthcare we will take care of that. We do not contribute source, we contribute projects for Indian needs.

    > second most populous country leverages the widespread knowledge of English, a legacy of its colonial past.

    One of the reason is already mentioned by you. It is a education system that is framed by Lord McCaulay exclusively for the subjects to serve their masters without questioning or owning up. Our leaders continued with the same as it came handy for them too.

    Hope this will change gradually. At the end of day one should afford to buy food and pay for basic bills :-)