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"Piracy, a political response to monopolistic practices"

J. Malarvizhi

Duraipandi'sindianopensource.orgis scheduled for launch in a few weeks Duraipandi'sindianopensource.orgis scheduled for launch in a few weeks

CHENNAI: "Piracy is a political ethic of the third world," says Duraipandi of Intellect Indian Solutions.

He decries the so-called information technology boom, while talking about the need for open source software, rails against Microsoft and, of course, talks about intellectual property rights.

The assembly line production of software is what most `information professionals' in the country are involved in and there is absence of the work of the craftsman, he says.

Open source software such as Linux, which provides the code of the software to the user, is the product of a movement of `geeks', haters of the Microsoft monopoly, and sundry other public-spirited independent information professionals.

Open source movement

Piracy is the political response to the monopolistic practices of multinationals. Those who use pirated software are expected to feel guilty that they are not contributing `responsibly' to the economy, he says. Which is why he and several others are part of the open source movement that militates against intellectual property rights.

"We stand on an accumulation of knowledge. What happens to the digital world if India sought royalties on the use of zero?" he asks.

His indianopensource.org is scheduled for launch in a few weeks. The portal will contain around 300 software packages compatible with Windows, with interfaces in various languages. The Tamil and Telugu ones are ready. Open source equivalents of Corel Draw, Illustrator and tools of desktop publishing would be available. Most open source projects are not commercial, organised ventures. "The anarchy makes it lovable," he says.

In Tamil Nadu, though, he rues that even the open source movement seems to rest on the power of the privileged groups. The Government giving Panchayat union offices systems with Linux, though, is an encouraging sign.

Other projects he is involved in include the release of audio CDs of stories for children at costs lower than what replication would take under the `Dhammapaddha' banner.

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