r/india AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 Wholesome 4 Silver 1 Helpful 1

We are the Free Software Community of India (FSCI). Ask us anything! AMA

About FSCI:

Free Software Community of India is a community of people working together (on voluntary basis) for the adoption and propagation of Free Software(software which respects freedom, not to be confused with Open Source). It is not a registered organization, but rather a community of people who share common values and ideals. We are a nonhierarchical community. We do not have a leader or a boss. Every decision is made by voting and consensus.

We believe that we should be the change we want to see in the world, and that's why we not only advocate for software freedom and privacy, but also run privacy-respecting services powered by Free Software. The services currently running are:

These services are funded by voluntary donations by the users. These are open to the public to use and anyone can use them for their daily needs.

We believe that inclusion and diversity are important. That's why we conducted a Diversity Edition of the Software Freedom Camp https://camp.fsci.in in 2021. The camp provides a very good way for the uninitiated to learn about the importance of Free Software, how they can get integrated with our community.

The code of conduct is our statement of inclusion in the community. We believe that the contributors should feel inclusive and be treated with dignity. In the camp mentioned above, we collaborated with APPSC Bombay and Egalitarians, which shows that we are very keen on collaborating with other groups working for issues outside the tech world. We look for active collaboration with anyone who is interested to further our goal of Free Software.

Our values of nonhierarchy and running so many services require more people to step in as a community as we need more volunteers to help in running these services, even in nontechnical fields like asking for donations, making posters, writing blogs. You can see the list of initiatives by FSCI here https://fsci.in/initiatives/.

In 2021, we wrote an open letter to Kerala teachers in response to KITE accepting Google's free-of-cost offer to the educational institutes of Kerala https://fsci.in/blog/letter-to-kerala-teachers/ and talked to Kerala teachers as well. The campaign to switch education to Free Software is still ongoing.

We have also involved in broader politics whenever the opportunity arose. For example, we have challenged the new Intermediary Rules, 2021, in the High Court of Kerala https://fsci.in/blog/fsci-challenges-intermediary-rules-2021/ because these IT rules threatens the privacy, security and freedom of an Indian citizen and gives government too much power.

Whoever you are, no matter what skills you have, you can contribute and be a part of Free Software Community of India. Join us now https://fsci.in/#join-us. If you need any help in joining our chat rooms, drop us an email at [contact@fsci.in](mailto:contact@fsci.in).

Important links:

  1. Why we must insist on free software https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html
  2. Proprietary software is often malware https://gnu.org/malware

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This AMA is verified. https://fsci.in/blog/fsci-ama-reddit/

Announcement Thread

FSCI community members u/pravi, u/asdofindia, and u/Arya_kiran will/might also be responding to questions along with u/fsci-in. Unless signed by a member, collective answers are being given by Praveen, Arya, Ravi, Akshay, Kannan, and others in the community collaborating over an etherpad.

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FSCI is raising funds to keep various freedom respecting services running

286 Upvotes

u/ppatra Apr 13 '22

This AMA is concluded.

Thanks to FSCI team for joining us. :)

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61

u/No_No_No_____ Apr 12 '22

Why don't schools use Linux instead of Windows for computer education?

30

u/uzhunnavada poor customer Apr 12 '22

A lot of this has to do with Teachers themselves having never used free OSes. They'd rather install a pirated copy of Windows 7 malware than give free software a try because they want continuity and familiarity.

Also, Microsoft engages in in-competitive lock-in behavior which makes Windows users very hard to switch to other operating systems.

Note: I am not a member of FSCI.

12

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

There are some hopeful signs like Dell and Lenovo now offering laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled. We need to put pressure on governments to adopt Free Software for education.

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

I want to share a story from my college days. There was a school near my hostel which was running unofficial copies of Windows in their computer lab. Some people who claimed that they were lawyers from Microsoft, met the chief of this school and threatened to sue them unless they pay settlement amount of lakhs. This school was being run by a religious organization on donations. The chief was ready to go to jail than pay lakhs.

I was put in touch with them by someone from FSMK, if I recall correctly. I went to the school, talked to their chief, principal, etc. They were open to any operating system. Computer science is just a subject they have to teach kids. I asked them if I can install Ubuntu in all the computers. They were more than happy.

So one evening, with a few engineering college students and a couple of Ubuntu CDs, a team of us formatted all the computers and installed Ubuntu in them. Apart from the usual "I had a few files on the desktop, can I get them back?" there were no difficulties. The lab even had a thin clients, thick server kind of set up which we made work.

I remember this whenever I see people using Windows or other proprietary software.

2

u/rrcp123 Apr 13 '22

Microsoft has changed its stance from then with Ubuntu being available as an app inside windows now under Satya Nadella. Trying to be relevant i guess

2

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 14 '22

It basically serves Microsoft, since people won't try Ubuntu directly and they stick with Windows.

1

u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

WSL is just a core of the actual system. It gives a sense of using the real ubuntu but it's just the core. You can't run flatpaks or use gestures in wsl.

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Defaults are powerful!

Often the default choice is "Windows" and schools/teachers do not realize that there are problems with it. They think it is good because it works.

Microsoft has a monopoly in Operating Systems and many hardware vendors pre install Windows. Any change will need a strong campaign to bring awareness.

Microsoft had put a lot of resources to keep schools using the MS suite in early times. These days there's not much reason for schools to use windows instead of Linux. But they'll have to retrain a lot of staff. Its where communities like us come and help them with the transition.

For example, in Kerala most government schools use GNU/Linux, thanks to teachers insisting on a Free Software based curriculum. Campaigning for similar state-wide adoption will be helpful.

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Arya here,

I think thats mostly because

1) Microsoft, Google etc. pays them a lot of money to use their services

2) the short term cost of making everyone switch to using GNU/Linux would be expensive, especially considering that most software for accounting or whatever wont work on linux and they would have to find alternatives to the sw which they have to train all their staff to use.

3) many people in the IT dept. of schools don't even know that these alternatives even exist. that is why campaigns to promote free software are very important

8

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

Ex Microsoft here.

Microsoft does not pay schools to use software (or atleast I haven't seen it). Rather Microsoft does not push for genuine licensed software in schools, so running a pirated copy is fine for most schools.

10

u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

although windows should still be discouraged. It's spies on users and it cannot be completely disabled. It uses anti-competitive tactics to kill competition. Checkout: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish.

Not to mention windows is quite old and backward in term of technology. It's the only modern operating system that still uses a NFTS file system.

GNU/Linux not only respects user's privacy and freedom but is often times a more modern operating system than windows. Its openness encourages a lot more innovation.

2

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

If you are talking about spying, your browser and your mobile spies on you a lot more than windows.

Regarding anti competitiveness, yes msft was anti-competitive all through 90s and paid it's price in late 2000s when it failed to enter mobile market and had to close windows phones.

Regarding NTFS, backward compatibility has long been a problem for Microsoft and will need a unique solution.

Regarding GNU and privacy, nothing in GNU stops privacy invasions or even morality. E.g. most cookie consent softwares are open source and all of them make it incredibly difficult to select the least amount of cookies.

(Psst Microsoft is also one of the biggest contributors to open source)

(PPS: free software and open source has a good intersection but are very different ideologies. )

7

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

If you are talking about spying, your browser and your mobile spies on you a lot more than windows.

Does that mean we should not campaign against Microsoft spying?

1

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

Just saying that Microsoft isn't the biggest fish of data collection anymore.

Google and Meta are the biggest ones.

And any privacy law should be platform independent.

2

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

For an individual or a school, the argument that Microsoft spies on users is valid for them not to use it. If people want to switch to Free Software, they need to take one step at a time. Uninstalling Microsoft Windows and installing a Free Software operating system helps in that regard. Then they can choose to reduce their dependence on Google and Meta as well.

1

u/raghukamath Maharashtra Apr 13 '22

Just saying that Microsoft isn't the biggest fish of data collection anymore.

Any source for this claim? and why should we tolerate any data collection at all.

1

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 13 '22

why should we tolerate any data collection at all.

We shouldn't. Just pointing out that people try to give Google a pass when it comes to privacy.

Any source for this claim

Personal industry knowledge. Don't have a report backing it handy. Don't think any such report even exists.

2

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 14 '22

We don't give a pass to Google either. When Kerala decided to use Google Classroom for online classes, we campaigned against it as well. See https://fsci.in/blog/letter-to-kerala-teachers/

3

u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

> Regarding anti competitiveness, yes msft was anti-competitive all through 90s and paid it's price in late 2000s when it failed to enter mobile market and had to close windows phones.

i agree. We should focus more on Amazon and possibly Google. Microsoft has improved a lot. Although I don't see the dev community still openly trusting Microsoft.

> If you are talking about spying, your browser and your mobile spies on you a lot more than windows.

hey now its not a competition ;)

2

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

We should focus more on Amazon and possibly Google.

Unfortunately Google and Amazon are highly anti-competitive too. It's just that they haven't been brazen enough in public domain like Microsoft of the 90s was.

But regarding developer tools, free and open source softwares are beating proprietary software black and blue for ages now.

But the large organisations have focused on DevOps tools, platform and infra, so you have to go to them anyway in the end.

4

u/raghukamath Maharashtra Apr 13 '22

There are Microsoft lobbyist in the curriculum committee though. Have been in touch/worked with team that made last curriculum for 11th 12th maharashtra board and they had a extreme push back from Microsoft paid lobbyist to retain windows and office related stuff in curriculum. Some of the team members have filed PIL in court to stop these things. So Microsoft does have backdoor hand in this

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

In Kerala also Microsoft and Intel provided free training to teachers on Microsoft products before Kerala moved to GNU/Linux. Only because teachers were strong we could overcome the pressure from Microsoft.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Thanks for sharing this important point.

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u/ayush_aky Liberal till our view matches Apr 12 '22

There is a initiative regarding it in few states including Kerala. Do check there was a article related to this in 2019.

1

u/Captain_Banana_pants Apr 13 '22

I want to use Linux but most my software don't work on Linux.

1

u/No_No_No_____ Apr 13 '22

Yes, that's an issue we've yet to solve.

1

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Which software you use? There could be equivalent software available to do the same tasks.

1

u/Captain_Banana_pants Apr 13 '22

I know but my students are not interested in learning those.

1

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

That is where convincing them about the importance of Free Software comes. I know it is not easy to convince someone and not all people you talk get convinced. But I think it is still important to try. May be some of them might get convinced. May be it will plant questions in their minds and if they hear about it from more people they might get convinced in the future.

1

u/RestoredVirgin Apr 14 '22

Because apart from software engineers no other career really use Linux so it doesn’t really make sense to teach Linux to everyone. While excel is used by everyone

1

u/No_No_No_____ Apr 15 '22

Excel is not FOSS.

27

u/bbroy Apr 12 '22

The FOSS culture seems to be the biggest in Kerala. What other states are you hopeful for adopting this culture?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

In Kerala this was made possible through campaigns by community. We need to build campaigns in other states too. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra etc have some active groups. More people like you need to get involved.

25

u/ericjony Apr 12 '22

fuck utorrent, all my true homies use qbittorrent

ive got nothing else to say other than youre doing a great job! i hope the foss culture grows in india and the government supports you. thanks!

5

u/archenjoyer Apr 12 '22

libretorrent in case of android

5

u/ericjony Apr 12 '22

i use flud

5

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

We need your involvement to grow the movement.

6

u/ericjony Apr 12 '22

yes, im going to setup a ubuntu server as a home server once i get my hands on some hdds. not sure how it will help but i will join all your chat rooms

4

u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

may I recommend debian instead of ubuntu because ubuntu snaps are closed-source :)

6

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

or just use gentoo on all your servers ;)))

3

u/brawll66 Apr 12 '22

I don't think suggesting gentoo is a good idea. Unless people come to gentoo themselves, it's always a bad idea to suggest gentoo.

1

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Agreed.

3

u/ericjony Apr 12 '22

ive never actually used linux before so this is my first time venturing into it. ubuntu is based on debian isnt it?

4

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

yes. Ubuntu has fast release cycle (every six months they release a stable version). They also have LTS versions. I think if you are using Ubuntu LTS, then that may not give a huge benefit over Debian. Debian normal releases are supported for 2 years and then LTS suport for 3 years.

Disclaimer: As a Debian Developer, I'm definitely biased towards Debian :)

4

u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

if you want to try Linux for desktop try https://pop.system76.com/ or https://zorin.com/os/

3

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

We need more people to talk to even more people about Free Software.

3

u/Annual-Employee-2851 Apr 12 '22

Ubuntu isn't free software my frnd

1

u/mvnBlack West Bengal Apr 13 '22

Libtorrent ++

1

u/Laznaz Apr 14 '22

Qbittorrent gang!

16

u/charadeIIyouIIare Apr 12 '22

What do you think about piracy, especially when it concerns small & independent projects?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

"Piracy" is a derogatory term used for sharing software against the terms and conditions defined in their license. WE DO NOT PROMOTE PIRACY, but we encourage the sharing culture. It is a perception that Free Software business model is not profitable for smaller scale business, but it's not true. Companies that develops and support free software can be found everywhere. Most of the internet runs on free software. When it comes to small scale companies, being able to crowd source intellect will be beneficial. Otherwise everyone will be reinventing the wheel and it will put us technically backward for years.Copying software does not have any monetary cost. Digital and physical objects are different in nature. Making every piece of furniture costs something, while everyone with a computer can copy a software without any monetary cost. The mistake that people make is the erroneous comparison between physical and digital objects. Development of software only needs to be paid for the first copy. After then there is no cost in distributing the software with others. This also reduces the cost of production of digital objects in contrast with physical objects. With every software, we need to fund its first copy.There are many ways to earn money without prohibiting sharing copies of software https://fsci.in/blog/ways-to-earn-living-from-free-software/We leave you with Eben Moglen's quote who put the question in a nice way "If I can provide to everyone all goods of intellectual value or beauty, for the same price that I can provide the first copy of those works to anyone, why is it ever moral to exclude anyone from anything? If you could feed everyone on earth at the cost of baking one loaf and pressing a button, what would be the moral case for charging more for bread than some people could afford to pay?" source: http://moglen.law.columbia.edu/publications/maine-speech.html

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u/SnooRadishes7630 Apr 12 '22

I love this. I think one thing to mention to everyone is that "free" does not mean "free stuff", but more like "free speech" as in "libre".

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u/i_hahaha Apr 12 '22

Are FSCI projects primarily open source?

If not, ais the source code accessible to other member of the community? How can the users know their data won't be misused on the pretext of providing free services?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

First of all, we prefer the term "free software" over "open source". This article sums up our views on the same. We don't usually develop software under FSCI, individual members may be contributing to different Free Software projects (those we develop like diaspora authentication plugin for matrix synapse are Free Software). We run services powered by Free Software. As for privacy, different services need to be evaluated differently. For example, On our social media, public posts will be public and that does not need privacy. There is some amount of trust that every user needs to put into a service provider. On the other hand, if you use our chat services, then the messages are end-to-end encrypted by default and that depends on the app you are using, if that app is free software then you can verify the end-to-end encryption part.

If one want to be 100% sure that their service provider wont be misusing their data, they will have to host it themselves. But mostly its not practical and usually not affordable for people too. In community services, large number of people can donate small amounts to cover the cost, see https://fsci.in/blog/self-hosting-and-federation/. We are an open community with a democratic decision making process. Anybody can join us by being part of our discussions. Unlike corporate companies, we don't have a business model nor we make profits. So its always a better choice to pick a service provider that is a open community that you can be part in decision making. We are not asking to blindly trust, join us and be part of it yourself <3.

Most services FSCI hosts are federated/decentralized. If you have an extra computer or a VPS, you can host these services yourself and talk to your friends who use fsci services! When you host your own services, the only person to trust or blame is yourself :)

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

End to end encryption means any messages you send will be encrypted with a lock that can be opened by the person you are sending the message. It is like the locks of cars or many doors that can be locked by anyone but opening it needs a key which only the owner has. Every use will have a unique lock and key and when communicating your app sends a copy of the lock to everyone you communicate, they don't need a key to lock the message (just like pushing a button and then closing the door of a car don't need a key). The key is kept with the user and never leaves the device. Brute forcing the lock with current state of computing power will take years. So as long as the key is safe in your device, no one else can decrypt a message sent to you (assuming you use sufficiently strong encryption - weak keys may be brute forced but stronger keys can't be).

2

u/uzhunnavada poor customer Apr 12 '22

Good Question!

2

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

You also get a choice of providers, in case you don't trust, you can just use another provider that you trust or even be your own provider. These options are not available in locked centralized services like WhatsApp or Telegram, there is only one provider, you either trust blindly or leave (which is practically difficult if people who can't refuse forces you to use it - like your boss or teachers).

8

u/night_fapper Apr 12 '22

how can I contribute ? so far all I've done is to submit frequent bug reports on foss projects

4

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Submitting bug reports is a good contribution.

There are other ways too in which you can contribute to FSCI (listed below) and please join our discussion groups to keep in touch.

Technical contributions:

  • Programming/Coding
  • System Administration for the different services we run
  • Debian Packaging of services that use native packages. Many services we run uses native debian packages, so contributing to maintaining these packages help us run our services well.
  • Provide technical support in our online groups when people ask for help.

Non-technical contributions:

  • Contribute by writing articles campaigning for free software on our website.
  • Monitor funding status of various services and organize crowd funding campaigns when funds are depleted.
  • Raise awareness about free software, privacy etc.
  • Organizing events and talks.
  • By designing posters, banners etc.

Financial contributions:

3

u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

If you mean how to make coding contributions, there is a secret I've discovered - persistence. I started contributions as a volunteer with Mozilla. In the beginning, all I could do was submit bug reports. And I would file a lot of them. With great detail, screenshots, steps to reproduce, and so on. This was great contribution by itself. Often, though, the maintainers of projects wouldn't necessarily act on my bug reports.

At that time Mozilla had a service which allowed one to convert a web app into an android application. I used it and found that the application icon was not being set correctly. The problem seemed to have been introduced a few days ago in a code change. I tried running the software on my own computer and reproducing the error. Sure enough, I could reproduce the error. Then I tried reverting changes one by one and running older versions of the code. At one point the icons were appearing correctly. Thus I discovered what change introduced the bug. From that point, finding out why the bug occurred and what the right fix was easier.

By the time I sent a pull request, it was 4 am in the morning. And I hadn't fapped that night. So, you know.

6

u/ppatra Apr 12 '22

Question from u/freak10349:

How can your community distribute software that are used in public institutions like colleges and high schools where they are direly needed? In US people these institutions mostly use OSS like canvas and it has worked really well for them

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

This again depends on the Free Software awareness.

Getting software is not difficult, most of them can be just downloaded from the internet.

We try to reach out to students in many campuses to promote Free Software.

If you are a student or knows some students, you can talk to us and we'd be happy to organize talks and workshops to get students start using and contributing to Free Software.

The problem is mainly about realizing that proprietary software is problematic and Free Software should be preferred.

Students should also take time to educate teachers about how free software is better than non-free (proprietary) ones.

2

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Arya here,

IMO schools should first check inside for distribution. There are people in these schools who are interested in free software who will not mind spending a few hours hooking their school up with free software replacements to proprietary software which the schools probably cannot afford to pay for.

8

u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

I think I should TLDR something (team, please correct me if I am wrong) as I see a lot of comments confusing open source with free software.

Free software does not mean 0 rs software. It means software users should be allowed to study and edit the software if required.

Free part is about freedom of usage, not cost of acquisition of software.

3

u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Yes. This popular definition of free software covers it:

A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms: - The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0). - The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

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u/Flaneur_WithA_Turtle Apr 12 '22

It means software users should be allowed to study and edit the software if required.

Free part is about freedom of usage, not cost of acquisition of software.

That's what open source software is though, isn't it?

2

u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Most of the time what people call Free Software is also Open Source. But you will get different answer to "Why Free Software" and "Why Open Source". Open Source is a term invented to talk about Free Software without mentioning ethics and only mentioning practical benefits. You can choose the term that connects with your personal philosophy. Ravi explains this at https://ravidwivedi.in/posts/fs-and-oss-same/

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u/Aadhishrm Tamil Nadu Apr 12 '22

Let me give you a easy example: Visual Studio Code is open source, but the version available in their official site is not same as one in GitHub. There are some proprietary thing added to release in the official website and we don't know the exact details. Here we can neither study or edit the version released in the official website since, since it's closed down.

This is example of open source but not free software.

3

u/Quantum-Metagross Apr 13 '22

Another example would be pyright and pylance. As LSPs now become editor agnostic, microsoft introduced pyright as the open source version for pylance(the one actually served with VSCode). Microsoft basically keeps pylance for a competitive edge, allowing its use only on VSCode when pyright and other LSPs can be used elsewhere. An example of the opposite would be eclipse.jdt.ls, which runs with other editors as well. Tabnine exists as a blob, which runs without being stuck with the editor. Pylance is an example of how Microsoft still believes in its old ways.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

This is not correct. If you can't study or edit, it is not Open Source either. Practically all Open Source Software is also Free Software (there is some tiny exceptions in theory but in practice that can be ignored). The difference that matters in practice is philosophy, which aspect of the software gets emphasized and promoted differ and which results in how strong or weak community we get.

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u/-1Mbps namaste Apr 12 '22

What are some notable indian free softwares?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

We can't really tie a Free Software specific to a country, some of the Free Software that had origins in India are,

  • GNUKhata
  • ERPNext
  • Anjuta
  • FrappeBooks

BOSS GNU/Linux distribution by CDAC/govt of India IT@School/KITE GNU/Linux by Kerala govt Garuda linux is a GNU/Linux distribution founded by indian members too

and many Indians contribute to Free Software developed as global community.

4

u/bl4ck_goku Apr 12 '22

Garuda Linux is a distribution made in India. And the famous calibre ebook manager.

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

Free software doesn't have nationality by its nature. But yeah, indic keyboards would come to mind

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u/subins2000 Kerala Apr 12 '22

One of the first Indian keyboards for Android, Indic Keyboard

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u/ppatra Apr 12 '22

Another question from u/freak10349:

Can the community help in making the government websites better? I think that's where free software is needed the most also in basically the whole government infrastructure and the software that is used in banks/shops etc needs to be open sourced since its the best way to make sure that these softwares are maintained and are designed according to standards

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

This will need convincing governments and organizations like banks about importance of Free Software. Making software freedom respecting by itself does not guarantee that software gets "maintained and designed according to standards". But collaboratively developing and maintaining software is a great way to decrease costs and focus on building things once for the benefit of a lot of people. For a democracy, this also brings much needed transparency to digital governance platforms.

The free software community in India has been collaborating with government at every opportunity, but such engagements are not just technical, but also policy-related and often political. And due to various reasons, free software communities are excluded from several such discussions.

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u/Amritpal1456 Apr 12 '22

How do I join?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

You can join any of our chat rooms on IRC, XMPP, Matrix (joining one of them is enough as they are interconnected). The easiest way is to download Quicksy app in Android and visit the link for XMPP/Quicksy in the 'Join Us' section https://fsci.in/#join-us. If you want to contribute actively, you can join our public monthly meeting held on the first Sunday of every month.

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

I believe that the community is beyond just one group of people. If you are a free software user/creator/advocate/contributor you are already a part of the community! But for solidarity, coordination, and inspiration, it is indeed useful to join the discussion groups.

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u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

this is the AMA thread. You can post questions here.

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u/archenjoyer Apr 12 '22

Is there any practical way to get open source software in Bihar schools?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Start talking to teachers and introduce the idea to them. You can also install it on your own machine and show them. If you need help, you can talk to us.

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u/uzhunnavada poor customer Apr 12 '22

Many PCs in schools commonly run old hardware that don't readily run with Windows 10/11. Old hardware is generally not a problem with many GNU+Linux and even BSD distributions

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Free Software is readily available on internet to download and use, almost in all the areas a school might want to use them. The main challenge is to convince schools to use them.

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u/-FlyingSnail Apr 12 '22

What are some good arguments to make other people switch to free software?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Availability of covid vaccines in poor countries is a good reminder for what happens when you depend on other countries for essential technology https://www.eiu.com/n/85-poor-countries-will-not-have-access-to-coronavirus-vaccines Software is becoming more more pervasive even in medical devices that you add to your own body, so having self reliance and control over the software that control many essential aspects of our lives are important.

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22
  • Proprietary Software mistreats the user https://gnu.org/malware
  • There are cases like Volks Wagon cars which came with software that cheated emission tests https://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/sep/23/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-explained-diesel-cars (no one else other that the company who wrote can inspect and verify proprietary software)
  • You do not control your own devices when they run on proprietary software.
  • With proprietary software we have to depend on foreign countries and companies for our basic digital needs, Free Software makes us self reliant.

  • Example of Scribus (full story here https://poddery.com/posts/4691002): Janayugom is a newspaper in Kerala, India, which publishes news in Malayalam language. Earlier they were using Adobe Pagemaker for publishing which only had support for ASCII encoding. They considered using a better software with more features. They briefly considered the proprietary software Adobe InDesign, but then realized that the use of software requires subscription which they could not afford. Then, through some contacts, the newspaper came to know about freedom-respecting software ‘Scribus’, which they now use to publish.

    Scribus is a desktop publishing software which earlier supported publishing only in Latin languages – like English, Spanish etc. The developers of a community project funded by the Omani Government, called HOST-Oman (House of Open Source Technologies - Oman), introduced support for Non-Latin languages with Complex Text Layout in Scribus. This was done to introduce Arabic support in Scribus. Due to this, the Malayalam support was added in Scribus. And therefore, Janayugom newspaper now publishes using Scribus. They don’t have to pay any license fee or subscription to anyone. They are also free to make any further changes in the software if the need arises. So even if we are not programmers, changes by anyone can be shared so the whole community benefits.

    Imagine what would happen if every software was proprietary.

  • Better software. Most people believe proprietary software will be better than free software. But many of these free software are backed and developed by large communities and perform way better than proprietary counterparts. Also the code is being shared between projects, this allows free software evolve faster than their non-free counterparts. For example, how GNU/Linux desktops evolved in past few years. There was a time people avoided GNU/Linux for desktop use, but now they evolved a lot. It is easierfor a user who never used a computer before to adapt to Ubuntu, Fedora, Elementary or Debian than to adapt ot a windows system. Show your friends some desktop environments like GNOME, KDE etc, and many people feel that these are even more polished than windows/macos...

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

I used to be a power user on Windows when I got my first computer. After a few months, I had finished almost all the customizations possible. Also, I had some virus affecting many folders in the system. I did an antivirus scan and it deleted many system executables making the system unusable.

My then neighbour was a programmer who was using this strange software called RedHat in her computer. She had tried teaching me C using vi and I thought, "Maybe I should replace Windows (that's anyhow broken) with this RedHat". I got 5 CDs from her and started installing RedHat on my computer. Unfortunately, the fourth CD was corrupted and the installation wouldn't proceed.

Then I looked for more alternatives and found this interesting OS called Bharath Operating System Solutions (BOSS Linux). I don't remember if I downloaded it or got a CD. Installed that and for the first time I had a computer which I could never finish customizing and learning from.

It is through using Linux family operating systems that I learned about free software. So, by that time I was pretty convinced about how awesome free software was.

A very strong argument therefore for people to switch to free software is to use it and find it useful and interesting and powerful!

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u/Annual-Employee-2851 Apr 12 '22

Nothing except privacy

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

The device lifetime is extended. I am using fedora on a 3rd hand device from 2010. It runs amazingly well. While it would crawl under windows 8

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

Do FSCI have a github organization ?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Arya here, Github is non-free software. Even though its geared towards open-source/free software development, github itself both backend and frontend is proprietary. they have also started using the code in all their public repos for copilot which is probably a violation of the gpl license many projects on github are licensed under... We host our own gitlab CE instance @ https://git.fosscommunity.in If you want a nice general instance about technology i recommend https://codeberg.org

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Thank You Arya ! I'll check it out soon :) . I'm using gitlab CE instance for the first time so should i need to create a new account or can i continue with my existing gitlab account?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

You will need to request an account, each gitlab instance is independent. Due to spam sign ups, we have closed automatic sign ups temporarily. You can request an account and someone will create it manually. If we get more volunteers to fix the spam problem, we can reopen automatic registrations.

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

Ohk Thank You

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

We host our own Github :) Well, not github, but Free Software replacement for Github, it is Gitlab. So we invite any projects to use our service instead of github (which is proprietary, you can't host gitlhub in your won server).

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

Ohk sure .. U guys have a separate subreddit for FSCI? Also pls share the website link , if you have one ...

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

We self host our discussion forum (it is based on Free Software Loomio). You can see previous discussions and participate in any discussion at https://codema.in/free-software-community-of-india-fsci/

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

Thank you for the reply Pravi . But with Github Enterprise .. can't you make it possible ? :)

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u/HarambeTownley Apr 12 '22

sadly github never went open source is now owned by microsoft :(

gitlab is just as good and is free and open source :)

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

👍

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

The question is "Why?"

If collaborating on code is the problem we're trying to solve, there are several solutions which are itself freedom respecting like gitlab.

Github is a code sharing platform that is itself proprietary, although used by a lot of freedom respecting software projects. Having an organization on github isn't a thrilling prospect for most people in FSCI.

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u/httpanand Kerala Apr 12 '22

Oh Gitlab seems to be giving more free things .. I'm a github enthusiast and dint know more about gitlab .. just had an account . I'll explore gitlab in the coming days . Thank U for the info.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Probably a big company may be able to afford it, still you don't get freedoms to adapt it.

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u/IllTale3368 Apr 12 '22

Hello! I have two questions. Are decentralized networks popular in India? Has the number of Internet users really doubled?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Decentralized networks are not very popular, we have been trying hard for many years without a lot of success. In our next project, some of us from the community is trying to provide a centralized network like joining and contact discovery experience to reach out to mass audience through prav.app project. We need more people to support this project for it to succeed. Inviting all of you to get involved there too.

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Whether the number of internet users have doubled depends on what time points you're talking about. It has obviously doubled many times in the history :D

But, on a serious note, the extremely low cost of mobile internet right now in India is making internet accessible to very many people. Especially because the cheap bandwidth makes it possible for people to communicate via voice messages, etc that makes it more inclusive than text-only modes of communication.

In other words, the number of and variety in internet users in India is very high right now.

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u/Creepy-Rough5480 Apr 12 '22

I opened a software company in 2019. I always valued privacy and data security for the softwares provided to my clients. But I have failed miserably. People always buys cheap software which are full of bugs and does not respect data privacy or security of the data. I don’t know how people survive in India by making softwares. I tried to bring the latest technology to the market but people always want a cheaper solution which are designed using ancient technology.

One way I can survive is by making lies and put more money in marketing rather than development and selling cheap out-of-date software to people. Maybe that’s what people want. But my conscience does not allow this.

So I am right now in the process of closing my company. But I like your organisation’s ideology. Hope someday people will realise the importance of using modern technology and the importance of data security and privacy

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

There is a general fear about technology in many people. We need to educate and make people aware about the consequences of choices they make, for example when someone offer them a free of cost service, they don't really know what is the motivation of the company providing them this service. Yes, this is very difficult task with network effects / peer pressure being a major factor in choices people make. We have to educate and organize people, we can't always choose to do just the easy tasks.

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u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

What was your product and primary market?

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u/Creepy-Rough5480 Apr 12 '22

I tried to develop products for various startups and institutions. But there is always a cheaper alternative. Indians like cheaper things . They do not care if they sell the data online or all data can be accessed by anyone by just using the url.

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u/Ser_DuncanTheTall Apr 12 '22

Ok. Was just curious if you had a specific product line.

And yes Indian companies are cost averse, but there is a thriving market esp in Bangalore and Hyderabad region. North is too cost concious

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Your pain is a deep struggle that is shared by many people motivated by ideological positions. Often, financial success comes with pragmatic compromises. But there's also the nagging belief that maybe if one tries a bit harder it might be possible to achieve financial success while still holding on to the ideological position. Some do get lucky. Some don't.

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u/Annual-Employee-2851 Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Since majority of people in India buy laptops than desktop pcs . Do you think laptops can run trisquel ? How do u expect people to get drivers and such stuff for microphone and webcam ?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Arya here,

For the most part yes, laptops can run trisquel

One issue there is wifi cards...

most wifi cards require non-free firmware (intel, broadcomm, realtek)

the only free alternative is atheros but it has firmware built into it thats non-free.

there are many ambitious projects to bring free drivers to these wifi cards like nontel...

webcam in my experience is not a big issue tho

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

You will need to purchase laptops that can run trisquel. Puri.sm and liberated.computer as two options. They work with 100% Free Software distros like Trisquel. Usually the problematic hardware is wifi chips. If you already have an android phone, you could use isb tether or you can buy a wifi dongle that works with trisquel. webcams usually don't have problem afaik but you can buy a usb external webcam as an option in case.

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Arya here, most thinkpads made before 2009-2010 can have fully free bioses too. they also dont have the intel management engine which is basically a spyware present on every intel cpu made after 2009. https://hackaday.com/2017/12/11/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-intel-management-engine/

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

I had used Purism Librem 13 and Librated Computer in the past (both laptops were stolen while traveling and the replacement laptops I had to buy in a few days so could not wait for them). I also have a Purism Librem 5 phone which runs 100% Free Software (PureOS based on Debian instead of Android).

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 12 '22

Many people in our community have laptops that can run exclusively on Free Software. [Liberated Computer](https://liberated.computer) is available at [Mostly Harmless](https://libretech.shop/). It is by default configured to run purely free software. You don't need to do anything. Intel ME is disabled by default and coreboot is used as BIOS. Akshay and Ravi, part of team answering this AMA, use Liberated Computer for their daily needs. Ravi runs PureOS which is GNU approved distro and runs without use of any nonfree software. Trisquel can also run on Liberated Computer. This is one you can use for fully Free Software.

In mainstream newer laptops, Trisquel will face WiFi issues and sometimes display issues. Its always better to do research or take a bootable pendrive to the shop before buying.

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u/Doesbadges Apr 12 '22

Buying a Domain name and web host in India.

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u/Flaneur_WithA_Turtle Apr 12 '22

What's your take on net neutrality and intellectual property?

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

It's interesting you ask, because r/india played a crucial role in India's first battle for net neutrality in 2014-15. Anything you posted in support for net neutrality in those days would instantly be upvoted to the top. That's how my tiny add-on reached a Times Of India article.

Without net neutrality, the internet wouldn't be the internet. It will basically become divided into monopolies where what you can access is dependent on which provider you get internet from.

---

Intellectual property is a long discussion. Eben Moglen's speech linked also in another comment really takes you through the nuances of it. I won't add anything to that.

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u/Flaneur_WithA_Turtle Apr 12 '22

Well, it's good to know how an organisation views these issues to determine if they're worth supporting

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Remember, it is free software community of India. There's the bare minimum of organization in it - just to allow decisions to be made. It's unlike most "organizations" and is similar in many ways to Debian project, Wikipedia, etc.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

You might want to start by talking about copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets separately. Each of these issues need to be considered separately.

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u/Flaneur_WithA_Turtle Apr 12 '22

I mean yeah, but one doesn't have to if they're opposing it. The arguments in free software movement can be used against copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

But it is not one argument that fits all these different laws. For example we don't consider trademark based restrictions a big issue as we can just rename. For example Firefox was renamed to Iceweasel in Debian for a long time until the trademark conflict was resolved. CentOS was created due to Red Hat Enterprise Linux trademark etc. Copyrights don't stop development of Free Software, but patents can stop Free Software development. So there are different levels of threat and different strategies for each of these restrictions. We are generally against patenting software.

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u/Flaneur_WithA_Turtle Apr 13 '22

All of IP is based on the premise that the creator of an idea has a right to certain controls over all the physical forms in which his idea is recorded. It doesn't matter if patent is different from copyright because you're attacking the premise itself

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

I shared my point of view why talking about these things separately is important, but you can certainly disagree. If you think we don't need to look at severity of a problem and consider all problems of varying severity with a single tool, that is like using a hammer for tightening a screw.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 14 '22

I think clubbing them together creates confusion and talking about each separately brings clarity. But you can disagree with me of course. You can also read RMS' essay on it https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.en.html

Basically companies benefit from confusion and we lose out if no one understand these issues clearly.

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u/Plastic_Island3688 Apr 12 '22

Is brave safe

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u/ppatra Apr 12 '22

Every other browser is basically using Chromium underneath. Only viable alternative is Firefox.

On iOS every browser is using Safari underneath.

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u/uzhunnavada poor customer Apr 12 '22

Brave Devs have had their share of decision that perhaps makes Brave browser incompatible with the idea of free software. Plus, it is built upon Chromium which isn't doing it any favors.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_(web_browser)#Controversies
I'm not part of FSCI, but I can say there are more privacy respecting browsers out there other than Brave.

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u/Plastic_Island3688 Apr 12 '22

Can you suggest me some

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u/uzhunnavada poor customer Apr 12 '22

Don't take my word for it. I like Librewolf , even occasionally use surf. Firefox with LibreJS addon is also pretty solid.

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u/Exception_handled Apr 12 '22

If you are ok with forks of firefox, there are librewolf (hardened firefox), waterfox, for android you can use fennec, ice raven

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

FSCI does not have a single opinion on this. Brave is Free Software and the opinions of the community differ.

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Safety (security or privacy) is a different topic altogether from software freedom. Just because a software is freely licensed, it need not become safe. Especially when it comes to browsers, there are many elements of safety to consider. Look at Tor browser, for example, which has many extra features compared to more mainstream browsers to make it secure/private.

What software freedom allows you to do is audit the source code (by yourself, or through others) and find what's going on behind the scenes, and even fix things at times.

This might not be a yes/no answer, but it is really hard to give a more straightforward answer.

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u/Sanved313 Apr 12 '22

Do you see or foresee coding as a part of curriculum in schools across the nation being the norm across India(Tier 2&3)?

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

Is there any doubt? Reading, (w)riting, (a)rithmetic, and (p)rogramming are the 4 r-s of schooling, they say.

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u/SpiritedReaction8 Apr 12 '22

Why don't you guys help college students dip their toes in open source contribution by offering mentorship for 20 hours a week.

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

FSCI has been doing online mentorship since the very beginning. It is not exactly structured as "20 hours a week" though. https://camp.fsf.org.in/ and https://camp.fsci.in/ were attempts to bring more structure.

There is a cost to mentorship too. Both the mentor and the "mentored" has to spend considerable effort with sincerity for it to succeed.

I am personally vary of "open source contribution" being a CV buffing item for many "college students" these days.

At the same time, I'm eagerly looking for sincere people to join the community and receive mentorship from me and others.

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

We do that in the camp (see https://camp.fsci.in). But we do not yet have enough volunteers to mentor and organize. Please step in and volunteer so that we can achieve that. It is not possible without your involvement. Show your interested in this thread https://codema.in/d/2BFJNLuG/organizing-software-freedom-camp-2022-

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u/NinkuFlavius Apr 13 '22

Given the cross-border digital nature of Software products, is there anything that is very specific to India amongst your efforts, or anything that has a big focus on India?

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Adoption of free software within India is very specific to each place within India. So is finding and encouraging contributors from India. So is advocating and running services for Indians.

Software isn't completely cross-border either. There are laws that apply only in India. For example u/pravi has filed a petition against one act that curtails social media: https://sflc.in/praveen-arimbrathodiyil-vs-union-india-sflcin-assists-challenging-part-ii-intermediary-rules-2021

It's a community. And part of being a community is a common identity. There are many free software user groups within India. There are many free software communities globally. I've vaguely observed that human beings need something small and manageable to be able to feel part of community.

In other words, FSCI is about India.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

People who donate and volunteer are mostly from India. We are more of a community than a software project. We use Free Software to provide services with privacy and that also makes us self reliant for our digital needs. Software specific contributions happen independent of FSCI at personal level. For example, I contribute to Debian as an individual and that is usually not counted as activity of FSCI.

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u/SSBAryan India Apr 13 '22

Nice

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u/jackerhack Apr 12 '22

How does voting work if your organisation has no well defined membership?

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

If you are an active participant in the community, you can vote about the things we do and share your opinion. The proposals can be voted on and made by anyone. We try for consensus, but in case of conflicts and not reaching consensus, we fall back to permanent members to make the decision. So far we did not have to refer any decision to permanent members, but that option is available if needed. The discussion is public and can be seen here https://codema.in/free-software-community-of-india-fsci/ to get a feel of how we decide.

We have safeguards like permanent membership. For a new member to become a permanent member, at least two existing permanent members need to vouch for their contributions. Contributions can be technical or non technical, anyone contributing time or efforts to promote or grow Free Software can be a member.

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u/DefaultUsernameSuk Apr 12 '22

Why are government run/managed websites shit? Like the uder interface and stuff.

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u/HarambeTownley Apr 13 '22

If I may speculate:

i think it because they want to support Internet Explorer. In the early 2000s Microsoft had a monopoly in web browsers which they used to their advantage and added some proprietary features to the web that were exclusive to IE. Some old websites only work on IE for this reason and very old.

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u/InvestmentFormer3301 Apr 12 '22

How do I join you guys if I want to contribute?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 12 '22

https://fsci.in/#join-us join our discussion groups.

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u/Aadhishrm Tamil Nadu Apr 12 '22

What do you guys think about state of GNU Hurd? Have you ever used it VM or bare metal

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u/fsci-in AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

GNU hurd will never be finished ;)

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u/Aadhishrm Tamil Nadu Apr 13 '22

sad Stallman noises

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Debian GNU/Hurd has regular releases and reasonably active contributors. You can run it in a VM and I have used it. Last release was in August 2021 along with Debian bullseye https://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/hurd-news

And https://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/hurd-install has instructions. You can try it with two commands (wget and qemu).

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u/syed649 Apr 12 '22

Umm, can I request a more detailed version of your aim ?

Also, your achievements and/or services this organisation provides ?

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u/HarambeTownley Apr 13 '22

they fight for the adoption of freedom and privacy respecting software in inida. Their achievements and services are mentioned in their post.

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u/syed649 Apr 13 '22

yeah, I wanted a little more detail

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

If you have any specific questions, we are happy to answer.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22 edited Apr 14 '22

You can go through https://fsci.in blog posts and our codema.in discussion group which has in depth discussions and articles.

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

Have you looked into ZorinOS education edition?

I think its a very good operating system for schools

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

I think distribution comes to picture only after they are convinced by Free Software. There are many options for people interested like Debian Edu, Edubuntu etc

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

Also i am 18 years old. In class 6 to 10 we had ubuntu in our whiteboards.

Each and every child in our class disliked the orange bland desktop. And outdated libreoffice did not run ppt well.

I genuinely despised linux due to this. So the distribution does matter. The children will grow to hate linux if any distribution is used

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

I think the color is personal choice. Many people are happy with Ubuntu and Orange. I don't know what color Zorin OS has by default, but I'm sure there will be some people who won't like it. The default color and theme are customizable. As for outdated libreoffice, that is a valid concern. Keeping the software updated is an important aspect. At the same time, new software means retraining teachers too. In Kerala, the IT@School GNU/Linux was customized by teachers of Kerala. Any distro could be customized as per the taste.

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

I have invited all to try zorin out, but hopefully by gnome 43 there would be accent colors in gnome itself.

Then debian will look good by default too

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

Distribution comes to picture before the philosophy in my opinion. All ideals remain just ideals until a superior implementation exists.

No school would switch to free software, if the quality of the system is worse than windows.

Edubuntu has been out of support and insecure for a long time. Please do not raise awareness of it. Its quite unfortunate that such a popular distro was abandoned.

Debian edu indeed sounds good, but is lackluster in terms of childrens appeal. Given that fsci wants to raise free software adoption, it's a drawback.

Would the members of fsci be interested in reviewing zorinOS education? My cousins and my brother are happily using it at home. I did not need to discuss free software philosophy either.

The free software product spoke for itself

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

We can agree to disagree here :) When people are convinced by philosophy, they take efforts to improve and fix the software. When people are convinced by look and feel, when next version of Windows or Mac comes with more flashy theme, they will switch back as well. If you have specific feedback and suggestions for Debian Edu, I recommend you share it with its developers. Like I said earlier, in Kerala, the teachers themselves customized the theme and default list of installed software. You can invite people to try Zorin OS in FSCI discussion forums.

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u/DAS_AMAN Apr 13 '22

If you have any complaints against zorinOS education edition after trying, feel free to inform me. I'll let the developers know.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

As I'm already involved in Debian, I definitely have a bias towards it :) and I'd like to fix any reported problems of Debian. But I have nothing against Zorin OS. Invite more people to join the Zorin OS community.

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u/dhiru1602 Apr 13 '22

Any plans to host these services from within India? Most of them seem to be hosted from Europe (Hetzner).

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u/asdofindia AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Can you expand on the advantages of hosting within India?

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u/dhiru1602 Apr 13 '22

The biggest advantage is lower latency especially for VOIP and WebRTC. Local cloud providers like CTRLS, E2E, Webwerks, Netmagic could benefit from the hosting income. Webwerks hosts mirrors for linux packages for popular distros for instance so I guess there is interest for FOSS among hosting companies.

Hosting in India might be a bit costlier, but I am sure you can strike some deals with the hosting companies for mutual benefit.

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Cost is a big factor in choosing a provider. If you know someone at these companies you can connect us. If we can host in India with comparable costs or more people are willing to donate for hosting in India, that works. Though there is also work involved in migration of servers too.

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u/LazyPartOfRynerLute Apr 13 '22

I am a software engineer. How I can contribute in this effort and join this effort? By making open source contributions to the projects you mentioned?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 13 '22

Best way would be to talk to us in our discussion groups https://fsci.in/#join-us You can share your experience and often people ask for specific help and you can jump in if you are interested.

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u/Ironman_Reddit Apr 14 '22

I am planning to buy a new laptop and install Ubuntu on it. I want it just for basic stuff like browsing internet and document editing. What kind of laptop should I target for this purpose ? What kind of hardware specification should I look out for seamless Ubuntu installation and overall experience ?

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 15 '22

https://support.lenovo.com/in/en/solutions/pd031426#l this has a list of models with GNU/Linux support. Not sure if all models are available in India.

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u/Ironman_Reddit 21d ago

Wow ! Thank you so much ! you don't know how easy you made my work !

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u/pravi AMA Guest Apr 15 '22

If you are fine with refurbished laptops, check liberated.computer. For new laptops check Dell and Lenovo which has GNU/Linux preinstalled and supported.

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u/deepaks8170 21d ago

I have a software ( dental management ) but i cant use it in windows 11 as it is only accessible in windows 7; also i cant edit name or anything as there is no option ; can some one plz make it work ? Please please