This article illustrates some examples of how the Indian government deals with (Information) Technology.
Some of these projects are unheard of while some generated unnecessary hype.
- CDAC’s Indian Language Software and font CD
I got a copy of it within the first few months of its release, turned out to be full of semi-polished unusable software where you have to learn weird key-mapping to type[why not use transliteration instead]. Some of the software even used non-Unicode formatting[why is non-Unicode bad].
Suggestion: Why not make good regional language Unicode-based fonts? [what are the prime reasons for the non-adoption of Unicode in India as explained here]
ISRO’s BhuvanISRO Bhuvan is now a web application, just like Google Maps.
With minimum system requirements much more than that of Google Earth, being based on age-old insecure ActiveX technology, only available for Internet Explorer users, having unnecessary registration requirements,s and an ill-maintained and slow website. It never really took off.
Suggestion: If ISRO has better [and finer] views of India than Google Earth then they should contribute them back to Google Earth unless ISRO can really make their software as usable as Google Earth
- Sibal’s 35$ tablet
Interestingly, the report says that PCB was fabricated by IIT Kanpur PCB Lab, never heard of this project going on in IIT Kanpur[I was in IIT Kanpur till the summer of 2010, and I was aware of nano-satellite, lunar rover, and Boeing project, though].
Also, the report has an emphasis on how many different formats can be read with no details of the hardware. Is it really designed in India or made by Hivision Speedpad repackaged as if it’s made by premier institutes of India?
And when IIT Rajasthan is doing “extensive field and laboratory tests“, something looks fishy for sure.
(Readers please note that IIT Rajasthan was established in 2008, was running inside the IIT Kanpur campus till recently and now running at MBM Engineering College, Ratanada, Jodhpur.)
On a side note: The report also mentions NPTEL videos which are pretty much useless in most of rural India due to poor last-mile connectivity and bandwidth issues, but it was at least partially successful wherever the bandwidth was available)
Suggestion: Stop making such weird claims better buy a lot of old (new and second-hand) laptops (~100-200$) and distribute them to children. (yeah, I know the deal does not look attractive but it is realistic)
- Boss (Bharat Operating System)
Linux distribution developed (or repackaged?) by NRCFOSS, even endorsed by media, but what is special about it from a user’s perspective?
It looks like it is just a repackaged version of the software from the GNU/Linux repository, you can make yours here.
To make matters worst, There is no public code versioning system for BOSS[as discussed on Chennai LUG] which imply that practically no FOSS developer can contribute to the codebase.
Suggestion: Contribute to localizing a popular release like Ubuntu rather than repackaging existing stuff.
- DRDO’s operating system
“There are many gaps in our software areas; particularly we don’t have our own operating system,” said Saraswat, Director General of DRDO and Secretary, of Defence R & D [source]
But wasn’t BOSS released just a few months ago? never mind, in fact, read further “[for your own operating system] source code is with you and then nobody knows what’s that“, now anyone with basic knowledge of security will call this security through obscurity which never works.
Suggestion: Please verify the claims.
- India’s own processor chip [Zerone Corp.]
The same security argument was given to develop India’s own processor, criticized by EETimes, but never heard about this processor again.
But DRDO has ANUPAMA from ANURAG labs, isn’t this a general-purpose processor?
Suggestion: If the government is really worried about processor chips from international companies, they can manufacture their own processor around OpenSPARC core but why spent effort on reinventing the wheel?
- This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.
- The article is only about the Indian government(and public sector companies), it in no way reflects any negative views towards private sector companies in India.