Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

GNU/Linux on the Desktop Rolls in India

  • Oct 13 / 2011
  • 9
technology

GNU/Linux on the Desktop Rolls in India

Whereas there are several visitors here of the opinion that GNU/Linux does not make it on the desktop, there is news from India that the courts will migrate to Ubuntu GNU/Linux from RedHat. That should be an easy migration as they are distributing physical CDs and virtual help by SMS text messaging.

So, not only is GNU/Linux on the desktop doing well, people who actually use it for their living have become confident enough to switch distros without much fuss. Compare that with the German Foreign Office which found GNU/Linux brought complaints from users and was too expensive. What’s wrong with this picture? Instead of whining that users should go to M$, users are choosing the distro of their choice. No complaining about “compatibility” or “complexity”. Just getting on with it.

Read the checklist for confirmation of installation. The courts will encourage users to install the software themselves.

“I hereby acknowledge that:
(i) Ubuntu Linux Operating System DVD, as customized by the eCommittee, Supreme Court of India, has been installed in my laptop.
(ii) A copy of Ubuntu Linux DVD has been received by me.
(iii)I have gone through the ‘Important Notes’ given below.
Thanking you,”

Read the features of their customized DVD.

“More than 17,000 courts around India will now be switching over to Ubuntu from RHEL.”

see Indian Supreme Court Switches Over To Ubuntu; So Should USA

9 Comments

  1. oiaohm

    Really Munich was second wave they found where some were that we had no documentation about their existence or exactly how bad they were.

    The importance of education for migration is a good one. Most of the first wave the poor users were dropped in at the deep end so there was high failure rates.

    Munich tried some training. Now third wave this is perfectly normal third wave. Over reaction on training and some other disaster prevention items. Forth and Fifth normally is were you see cost rationalisation. Forth will see a few failures turn up normally. fifth is where the tech is truly 100 percent stable in the market place.

    Yes there is history here of taking up new tech it normally happens in 5 stages of adoption that I call waves.

  2. Robert Pogson

    oiaohm wrote, “Now most of the ways to screw up a Linux roll out is known.”

    Eloquently written! My first roll-out was screwed up for a few minutes until I realized I had to copy an image to the CD instead of copying the file to it… It was my first-ever burned CD.

    There are many things that can go wrong. We have seen Munich try and fail to eliminate them all before moving and India plan for months and work late nights (When the video was made it was 1030pm and +35C…) to produce lots of educational materials even a supreme court justice could follow, but I still prefer Extremadura rolling out GNU/Linux over the weekend. It’s just easier to get the job done and fix a few things that break.

  3. oiaohm

    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Paraguay-aims-to-switch-to-open-source-software-1361315.html

    There is another roll under way as well for Paraguay.

    Its now looking like third wave of roll outs in government systems is getting under way. First and second wave were mixed results. Now most of the ways to screw up a Linux roll out is known.

    Now more governments moving to Linux Less businesses having to use Windows to interface with Windows. Result long term Lower Microsoft Market share.

    There will also be effects on schooling why. Governments will want to train staff that fit into there system.

  4. Robert Pogson

    …or not. In 2012 or 2020 or whenever they can switch to another distro of their choice with no loss of productivity. That’s one of the things that makes GNU/Linux so great. Users’ files are easy to find and back up. Install a new distro. Restore the files and go, thanks to open standards.

    The video lists 10 reasons to use GNU/Linux and a bunch more for Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Only one or two of the points relate to Distrowatch. The move is a rational one. They likely could have been satisfied with Debian, too.

    The video shows that the customizations done centrally are carefully chosen for the unique challenges of such a diverse nation as India. The fact that they could do this is a testament to the flexibility of GNU/Linux. I am amazed that they could do such a neat transition while Munich could not. Clearly, they have done their homework and education/documentation is key.

  5. Robert Pogson

    Distrowatch is a very popular site for those choosing a distro as its major raison d’etre is comparing distros. I still visit occasionally as I sometimes am concerned about when one feature or another was adopted by distros historically. Distrowatch is a huge contribution to FLOSS. Distrowatch has a counter indicating some measure of popularity of distros. It is quite reasonable to try out distros that are more popular to judge whether or not that popularity is due to some desirable features or performance. Also, since GNU and Linux are at the heart of most distros, one can likely get the same performance or feature in any distro by reconfiguration. Users, however, tend to value the feature-set they get “out of the box” because they are not computer geeks. I doubt Indian Supreme Court justices are computer geeks, so it is quite reasonable for them to shop around for a distro that suits them on Distrowatch.

  6. ThoRa

    You misunderstand, Mr. Pogson. There is no “roll-out”. People are expected to install it themselves!

    Do you want me to predict the future? The “migration” will not even be half-complete in 10/2013. (Remember? That’s when the long term support is no more for the Desktop version, which this clearly is.) Most people in the courts will simply continue to use what’s there.

    If India weren’t so notoriously corrupt they could perhaps continuously afford RHEL. But switching to Ubuntu? What a joke. At least they have the decency to provide a customized DVD image.

    By the way: do you know what’s funny, Mr. Pogson? All official documents regarding this mess have been written using Comic Sans MS! What a poignant message that all of this is a big joke.

  7. oiaohm

    This makes perfect sence in fact. I have set up many Linux only computers for legal firms for accessing court records. These are livecd setups with updated version generated on a different machine automatically.

    Mostly because if you want the most virus containing network servers in Australia go to the court record related ones. Infections are everything from zero days no one has ever seen before to 20 year old virus still floating around in the legal records.

    Yes the zero days are designed particularly to allow remote access to case files and the like can be stolen from your lawyer or others.

    I would not be surprised if this problem is common world wide.

    Some of it is the stupid point of law. If user submitted an infected document and it end up on record it cannot be changed and has to be there for all time because it was the exact document they submitted removing the virus the document would no longer be the exact document they submitted(Yes law is an ass). So yes digging threw historic electronic case files on Windows without an anti-virus would be insane to the extrema. You know the place is infected.

  8. Contrarian

    I guess that the Indians are even bigger cheapskates than most FOSS fans, #pogson. The article says:

    “Prior to this move the courts across India were using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux”. So I guess they are trying to avoid the Red Hat “tax” by moving to a DIY version. I hope they understand one another better than Americans do when ending up connected to an Indian call center trying to get one’s Dell or HP working after encountering some problem! :-)

    That seems to be the only way that I have seen so far for motivating Linux migration, though. A court order, from the country’s Supreme Court no less, should be a strong force for getting people to adopt Linux. Nothing else seems to have ever worked.

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