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Bytes For All: Oct. 2001

October 23, 2001: This message was distributed by Papyrus News. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For info on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.

Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 09:02:01 +0530 (IST)
From: Frederick Noronha <>
Subject: BYTESFORALL: Oct 2001 issue

_/ B y t e s F o r A l l ---
_/ Making Computing Relevant to the People of South Asia

It currently costs (an investment of) Rs 30,000 to install a single telephone line. To cover this investment, you need a revenue of at least Rs 1000 per phone line per month. These rates are affordable to just 2-3% of the Indian population. But if you bring down the investment needed for a phone line to Rs 10,000, then affordability of telephones could immediately go up to 30 per cent or more of our population. -- Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala, pioneer in affordable telecom solutions, IIT-Madras, Chennai, South India.


In this month's issue:
* Digital Partners receives proposals
* Yahoo to speak to India in local tongues
* Poor man's computer to teach young
* Netaid to promote learning
* Open Source -- tech for sustainable learning
* Villagers access markets through the Net
* Papers on IT-in-development
* Multilingualism and UNESCO
* S-Asia-It, a mailing list on IT
* Info-systems in the Third World
* Women and IT, some concerns
* ICT and development, Manchester conference
* MITRA, leveraging ICTs
* Health with wireless
* Unesco and free software
* Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme
* Dr Jhunjhunwala's plans excite young engineers
* GNU/Linux group in Bangalore
* ICT international conference in Nepal
* HealthInterNetwork for India too
* IndLinux plans
* Current language situation in India
* Indianisation of Linux
* Software for water-levels in villages
* Free health information...
* Media, Internet and accountability
* Linux... in education
* Literature from South India
* Site on Syhlleti
* Ideas about projects that should be done
* Nepal supreme court to become cybersavvy
* South Indian language fonts mapped
* Educational content for computers in India needed
* Brazil's work on low-cost computers
* Computers to bypass the bureaucracy
* The Palung story, from Nepal
* Red Hat in India
* ICTs in Pakistan
* Discussion forum for BytesForAll
* eLetters in Pakistan
* What is Project Gutenberg?
* IT for Change -- site from Bangalore
* New mailing-list on education
* SOS -- another view of software
* Bhutan launches first Internet daily
* Volunteerism in IT
* Akashganga -- IT builds strams of milk
* India's social and dvpt sector online
* World Technology Net award
* Free software in India
* Linux documentation for India
* Telecom issues -- India
* World Computer Exchange...

DIGITAL PARTNERS' GETS PROPOSALS ON IT-FOR-THE-POOR: Digital Partners' this year's SEL application process yielded close to 40 innovative proposals for the use of IT in service to the world's poor. (Visit the website For more on the Social Enterprise Laboratory.) Proposals range from Children's Health Information SmartCards in India to Wireless Communications Kiosks in Brazil to Computer Training for Rural Youths in Ghana. Proposals selected, to move on to the mentoring phase, will be announced by end-October. Those who missed this year's SEL competition can submit proposals next year. Applications for the 2002 competition will be accepted from Fall 2002. Conceived at Digital Partners' conference Achieving Connectivity for the Rural Poor in India in Baramati, India (May 31 - June 3, 2001,) the nine-month Laboratory process will culminate with awards of up to $250,000 to be shared among several finalists at the next Baramati conference in June of 2002. Further details Akhtar Badshah Executive Director Digital Partners 2200 Alaskan Way, Suite 455 Seattle, WA 98121 V. 425-898-9739 F. 425-898-9649 email:

YAHOO.COM TO SPEAK TO INDIANS IN LOCAL TONGUE: Keeping in mind the wide linguistic variations in the country,, the India-specific Web site of, is planning to localize and host content in the nation's vernacular languages. Yahoo Web Services India Pvt. Ltd has also drawn up plans wherein messages using Yahoo messenger and e-mail can be sent in Indian languages. Hotmail already has jumped into the fray to launch e-mail services in Hindi, which will later be extended to other Indian languages. Yahoo is the second Web site after Hotmail to bet on Indian languages. Source: Thanks to for pointing to this and other stories in this issue of BytesForAll...

'POOR-MAN'S COMPUTER' TO EDUCATE YOUNG INDIANS: The first assignment of a poor man's hand-held computer, developed in Bangalore, is to bring basic education to tribal children in central India. At the request of the Paris-based charity South Asia Foundation (SAF), the creators of the Simputer, together with digital broadcaster World Space radio, are giving the device its first field application - an interactive education program for rural children in the remote Bastar district of central Chattisgarh state. Expected to be operational in six months.

NETAID TO PROMOTE LEARNING: NetAid and its partners are more determined than ever to promote learning, and through it, global understanding. It has just announced a major new initiative -- the NetAid Global Schoolhouse -- designed to make education a reality for thousands of children living in extreme poverty around the world. Check latest projects in Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Somalia, Peru and India

OPEN SOURCE -- TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABLE LEARNING: The debates about harnessing the benefits of information technology (IT) in the public interest have centred on issues such as Internet connectivity and computing hardware. To date minimal attention has been paid to the central role of software. Open source software is being seen as a way of providing tailor-made software to help civil society organizations achieve their goals and to contribute to meeting the needs of developing countries (From Alliance / Allavida).
For further information about open source software:

ACCESS TO VILLAGERS OF MARKET-BASED OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH THE NET: TARAhaatIndia will provide access for villagers to a variety of information resources and market-based opportunities through the Internet. The pilot phase concentrates on the villages of Madhya Pradesh and the rural belt of Uttar Pradesh. A house-to-house survey, covering 20,000 households in 131 villages, is providing information on rural life and livelihood practices. E-mail, on-line connection and chat rooms will be the major components, connecting local users to each other, and to their friends and family in the cities. TARAhaat will provide access to low income users by setting up local TARAdhabas (TARAkiosks - the rural version of cybercafes) where they can get connected to the Internet for a small fee.

PAPERS ON ROLE OF IT IN DEVELOPMENT: Some papers on the website of the Institute of Information Scientists (IIS)/ Information for Development Forum (IDF) Joint Seminar entitled Impact Evaluation of Services and Projects (held at London Voluntary Sector Resource Centre on 6 June 2001) are available at
* Role of Information in Development by Chris Zielinski, Health Information for Development Project
* Beyond Circles in Square Boxes: Lessons Learned from Health Communication Impact Evaluations by Dr Robin Vincent, Learning Co-ordinator, Exchange Programme
* Rural Info Shops by B. Shadrach and Ron Summers, Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, UK [in PowerPoint format] etc

MULTILINGUALISM: UNESCO prepares recommendation on multilingualism and universal access to cyberspace. areas touched on include facilitating access to telematics services, promoting multilingualism; faciliating access through development of public domain content; access through application of exemptions to copyright.

S-ASIA-IT, MAILINGLIST ON SOUTH ASIA: One of the most useful mailing-lists reporting on IT in South Asia is run by Irfan Khan <>. Some weeks back (Aug 2001) this list had 232 subscribers.It's an open list, and members can post all IT-related news relevant to South Asia. Says Khan: "Around 10 percent of our subscribers are active in one way or the another. This should change to active participation of a greater number of subscribers." To join, contact Irfan Khan.

INFO SYSTEMS IN THE THIRD WORLD: The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC) strives to become the foremost international forum for practitioners, teachers, researchers and policy makers to share their knowledge and experience in the design, development, implementation, management and evaluation of information systems and technologies in developing countries. Manuscripts are invited.

WOMEN AND IT, SOME CONCERNS: Veena N of the Gender and Development Studies Unit, Asian Institute of Technology (Pathumthani-Thailand) says: "We are interested in the benefits women draw from ICTs. Also, if there has been a gender analysis of any project, it would be very useful to us. We find that despite all the hype regarding ICTs and the digital divide, women are yet to reap the benefits of ICTs. Even projects that address populations on the other side of the divide do not address women - the men and children get online, while the women stay out. Is this true? Or am I drawing conclusions based on lack of knowledge? I do hope it is the latter." Contact her at:

ICTs AND DEVELOPMENT: A one-day workshop on 'Information and Communication Technologies and Development' was held on September 11 in Manchester, England, as part of the 2001 UK Development Studies Association Conference. Or contact Dr Richard Heeks Senior Lecturer, Univ of Manchester. Email:

MITRA, LEVERAGING ICTs: "We are a group of graduates from the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) and has started an organiasation called MITRA with the objective of leveraging Information Communcation Technology (ICT) for development." Contact Rahul Barkatay, 4th Floor, 'A' Shangrila Garden Bund Garden Road Pune 411001 India Tel 91-20-6128221-5 (extn.413); 6140761 (direct) Fax: 91-20-6128226

HEALTH WITH WIRELESS:Rural doctors from South Africa are working to advance care with wireless. A pilot project lets a developer test under extreme conditions.

UNESCO AND FREE SOFTWARE: Free software faces difficult challenges and dangers In an article for UNESCO Free Software Portal, Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the author of the GNU General Public License (GPL), and the developer of software like gcc and Emacs, outlines the development in this area since 1984. "I'm grateful to UNESCO for recognizing that, in the domain of software, free software disseminates human knowledge in a way that non-free software cannot do" says Stallman.

ASIA-PACIFIC DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION PROGRAMME: Vijay Parmar <> gives an update us on APDIP's recent compilation -- with the assistance of Dr. Madanmohan Rao -- of "A Synopsis of Recent Discourse on the Developmental Potential of ICTs in a Globalised Economy". The synopsis includes UNDP's human development report 2001 on making new technologies work for human development; the Digital Opportunities Initiative; the Digital Oppunity Task force; and the report Spanning the Digital Divide.

DR JHUNJHUNWALA'S PLANS EXCITE YOUNG ENGINEERS: Anthony Lobo <> writes in to say: "(Recently in mid-October) Prof Ashok Jhunjunwalla was in Bombay and presented his ideas in the evening to a large group of Student Members of the IEEE Bombay Section in the Thadomal Shahani Engg College, Bandra. His talk was supported by a very interesting series of 49 slides. You could visibly see the interest and enthusiasm of the audience." BytesForAll recently wrote about Prof J's work on building low-cost Internet Kiosks in rural India and small-towns across this country. Here's wishing him and n-Logue all the best. Contact details: Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor and Head, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Chennai. Email or Tel (44) 235 2120 (OF) or 235 3202 / 445 9355 (R) PG Ponnapa, Chief Executive Officer n-Logue Communications Private Limited, Adyar Chennai. Email Ph 445 5210/12/21/23

GNU/LINUX GROUP FROM BANGALORE, SOUTH INDIA: You can join a group discussing GNU/Linux issues. This list caters to *NON-technical* discussions about Linux and the Bangalore linux User Group. To join, send a blank email to If you wish to participate in GNU/Linux discussions but are not interested in non-technical stuff, then we have several other lists to choose from.
Visit for more information about these lists.

ICT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN NEPAL: Nepal will play host to an international conference on IT, communications and development (ITCD 2001) on Nov 29-30. It aims to learn from one another and to draw up recommendations for better policies and better projects that benefit people, particularly in the Third World.

HEALTH INTERNETWORK FOR INDIA TOO: India is being built up as the first 'country pilot' for an ambitious United Nations-led international project, seeking to strengthen public health services by making use of the powerful potential of the Internet. "The Health InterNetwork (HIN) seeks to bridge the digital divide, as it affects health. Initially we're planning some pilots, and the first pilot is to be done in India," Health InterNetwork India project manager Ranjan Dwivedi told
Contact /Ranjan Dwivedi, Project Manager

INDLINUX PLANS: Venkatesh (Venky) Hariharan <> write, "IndLinux is a voluntary, not-for-profit effort to deliver the benefits of Information Technology to the Indian masses. The project is motivated by the realization that imminent technological advances offer a huge opportunity for developing countries to harness IT for the common man. We foresee an exponential drop in the price of computing and communications technologies in the next few years. In our opinion, these changes will make IT affordable to tens of millions of people within a three-five year time frame. A huge amount of work need to be done to take advantage of the imminent revolution in low cost hardware and communications technologies.... The lack of Indian language software is therefore one of the fundamental obstacles to bridging the digital divide in India. [Our] proposal deals with IndLinux's approach to bridging the digital divide in India and why we feel that this approach can pay enormous dividends from a social venture capital standpoint."

CURRENT LANGUAGE SITUATION IN INDIA: Hariharan describes the current situation thus, "Commercial software vendors, in their wisdom, have ignored the Indian language market under the argument that the purchasing power of the non-English speaking market is limited. Microsoft has limited itself to enabling Windows at the operating system level for Indian languages but has not yet taken the initiative to create Indian language user interfaces. The current set of players in the Indian language market are small players who are focussed on selling fonts, word-processing applications and web localization tools. None of them are focussed on building the underlying infrastructure for enabling Indian language computing since there is no commercial incentive for them to do so." IndLinux, he says, proposes to use a collaborative approach to create Indian language user interfaces to the Linux operating system, and distribute these free of cost.

INDIANISATION OF LINUX: Venky also argues that "the Indianisation of Linux is probably one of the most practical ways of making information technology available to millions and millions of Indians. It is now upto linguistic and technical groups to collaborate and make things happen."

SOFTWARE FOR VILLAGE WATER LEVELS: Vikram Vyas <> writes in to say that Jal-Chitra -- the software to predict water levels in drought-prone rural areas -- is likely to be tested in the village of Toddganj, Rajasthan. Says he: "I am busy with translating Jal-Chitra into Hindi.I have also started with the preliminary steps for porting Jal-Chitra to Linux."
Vyas has been working on modelling of water sources and the related development of the software "Sim-Tanka" and "Jal-Chitra" for helping communities to drought-proof their villages. "At present "Jal-Chitra" is being tested,fairly systematically, in a group of villages in Silora Block, of Ajmer district. This is being done by the Barefoot College Tilonia,"says he. He informs that Jal-Chitra has been received very positively by various voluntary organisations working in developing countries. "I have just send some copies of "Jal-Chitra" to Pakistan," he adds.
Contact: Dr. Vikram Vyas Scientist The Ajit Foundation, Jaipur & Associate, International Centre for Theoretical Physics Trieste, Italy Email

FREE HEALTH INFORMATION: Informania Ltd, the world's largest electronic publisher of biomedical journals from the Third World, announced that it would provide the ExtraMED full-text database to developing country users for free or at very low cost, under the same terms as those announced last week by six leading medical publishers. It would also enable the distribution of this information through a new network of health information resource centres. Zielinski offered the use of the recently established Information Waystations and Staging Posts Network ( to distribute the publishers' offline material, as it already links the largest collection of health information centres in the developing world, and is set to expand rapidly.
CONTACT: Chris Zielinski, Chief Executive

EARLIER INITIATIVES ON HEALTH INFORMATION: On 9 July 2001, six of the world's leading medical publishers (Blackwell Science, Elsevier Science, Harcourt International, John Wiley, Springer Verlag, and Wolters Kluwer) joined forces with WHO in a unique venture in which they have put profits aside to enable more than 100 of the poorest countries in the world to access vital scientific information free of charge through the Internet.

MEDIA, INTERNET... AND ACCOUNTABILITY: The 2002 Human Development Report will be on the theme of voice, power and accountability. One aspect of this discussion is the role of the media and the Internet in advancing the causes of the disadvantaged people, and in providing tools for them to exercise accountability. Through disclosure in the media of occurrences of abuse of power, elected and non-elected officials are forced to answer for their actions. Examples of media and the Internet being used as tools for exerting accountability within the three areas outlined above are welcomed from journalists all over the world. Please e-mail your story to Jenny Berg at the Human Development Report Office:

SEUL/edu -- FOR LINUX IN EDUCATION: SEUL/edu is the discussion group for those interested in using Linux for education. This covers all aspects of educational uses of Linux, by teachers, parents, and students.SEUL/edu is a sub-project of SEUL, the Simple End User Linux. Thanks to for this link.
SEUL/edu Home Page

LITERATURE FROM THE INDIAN STATE OF KARNATAKA: is a web site which provides Kannada literature which is supported by University of Pennsylvania for archival purpose. Major Kannada writers like U R Ananthamurthy, Chandrashekhara Kambar have supported this web site by providing exclusive rights to publish all their works. It is non-profit making venture which is trying to provide reference works for academical and general purpose for who ever may have interst in Kannada literature. The Kannada documents require downloadable Baraha Kan New fonts.

FREE ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO JOURNALS: Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications are to offer free electronic access to journals for institutional subscribers in countries of "low human development" as defined by the Human Development Index. We hope that our new pricing policy will encourage other publishers to adopt similar schemes to support academic activity in the developing world. Libraries wishing to take up this offer should contact: Email:
For further details see:

SITE ON SYHLLETI: Thanks to Sarai for this information: There is a new website on Syhlleti dialect of the Bangla language, based in Silchar. You could surf Contact the webmistress of this site at It is trying to build a global cyberspace devoted to Syhllet and Syhlleti words,culture.

IDEAS ABOUT PROJECTS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE: Brendan Nyhan is the product manager for new ventures at Benetech (, a new Silicon Valley social enterprise non-profit that develops and markets socially beneficial technology ventures. He writes: "Our focus has been in IT for disability, education and human rights, but we're now looking at environmental products/services as well as technology specifically targeted at the developing world." Nyhan is keen to hear of ideas about projects that should be done that no one is doing, or people who have good concepts that they want to pursue in the non-profit realm. We're interested in helping concepts that have high social value get developed and brought to market. In general, they're looking for concepts with a high social return that are based on established (or at least proven) technology with low to medium technical risk and a reasonable amount of execution risk.
The Benetech Initiative

NEPAL'S SUPREME COURT TO BECOME CYBER-SAVVY: (Thanks to Deepa Rai/BytesForAll for sending this through.) Nepal's Supreme Court has finally decided to become web savvy. It is soon posting its all-important "cause list" on the Internet, including the daily and weekly roster of cases to be heard by the highest court. "We have registered a domain for the purpose and the proposed address will be The research section is working for further developments," said joint-registrar of the Court Ram Krishna Timalsena. [Courtesy: The Kathmandu Post on Sunday]

SOUTH INDIAN LANGUAGE FONTS MAPPED: Rajkumar Buyya (BytesForAll/Australia) informs us of an impressive page which has extended English character set and which are then mapped to Kannata fonts. All happens transparently.
This text can be cut/pasted like normal English text.

EDUCATIONAL CONTENT FOR COMPUTERS IN INDIA NEEDED: Tia Sircar <>, of Bangalore, is working on a plan to put together creative educational content for the computer, for underpriviledged primary school children. She writes: "(Our vision is) to bridge the Digital Divide by producing child-centric, interactive educational computer content for the underprivileged children of India, in the Indian context and language. The material will be in the form of interactive games and activities, in the local language and context. The application-based software will encourage the child to apply his knowledge of material taught by conventional methods in schools. As of now, there is almost no planned effort to do this, and there is a recognized need for an agency to identify, create, and disseminate such material, and evaluate the benefits." Contact Sircar for details of her plans, and if possible, ideas of how you could take the useful idea forward.

LOW-COST COMPUTERS FROM BRAZIL (The Digital Beat): The Brazilian government recently announced a project that will make stripped-down desktop computers, known as "Popular PCs," available for about $300. Developers were able to save on licensing fees by using free, open-source Linux as the operating system instead of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows.
Related Web Sites
Brazilian Committee for Internet Administration

HYDERABAD TO USE COMPUTERS TO BYPASS BUREAUCRACY ( Hyderabad city in South India, home to a large proportion of India's thriving software companies, is planning to open a network of computerised one-stop shops that will enable "customers" to clear 18 separate bureaucratic hurdles in one visit. Services on offer at the "e-sava" shops will include payment of utility bills, applications for driving licences and passports and the registration of property. Up to now most bureaucratic procedures were a nightmare because they had to be conducted in person.;y=india+e-government&multiViewArticleId010827005259=010827005259

THE PALUNG STORY, FROM NEPAL: Thanks to Sangeeta Pandey/BytesForAll-Nepal <> for drawing this to our attention. Gaurab Raj Upadhya <> talks of an IT project in Makwanpur explores the possibility of getting young people talking and planning ×for their future, and that of their village.

RED HAT IN INDIA: GNU/Linux software major player Red Hat is to make India A primary business base

ICTs IN PAKISTAN: Zubair Faisal Abbasi has recently written on Information Communication Technologies in Pakistan: Infrastructure and Information Development -- Policy and Practice. Contact him for more details: Zubair Faisal Abbasi 0303-7759274

DISCUSSION FORUM ON BYTESFORALL: We have created a new and open discussion forum on 'ICT for Development and Social Changes' at This forum will be an open forum where anyone can subscribe and can post their messages (subject to slight moderation of message approval). To join the list, send a blank email to

eLETTERS FOR PAKISTAN: Pakistan Post Office has launched "eLetter", a service that dispatches letters written through the internet.They guarantee that letters are printed and delivered within 48 to 72 hours anywhere in Pakistan.

WHAT IS PROJECT GUTENBERG? Project Gutenberg is the brainchild of Michael Hart, who in 1971 decided that it would be a really good idea if lots of famous and important (book) texts were freely available to everyone in the world. Since then, he has been joined by hundreds of volunteers who share his vision. Now, almost thirty years later, Project Gutenberg publishes an average of one e-text every day!

IT FOR CHANGE, A SITE FROM BANGALORE: IT for Change has recently updated its web site ... do visit it and mail your comments to Contact: Gayatri Ramnath Program Coordinator ITfC 302 Ushas Apartments, 16th Main, Jaya Nagar IV Block, Bangalore 560 011

NEW MAILING LISTS ON JIVA EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND CULTURE: Jiva, an Indian institute working in education, health and culture, has split its mailing lists. Pragati (Progress) is from Jiva's Education department. Meant for teachers, principals, educators, parents, administrators, policy makers, and anyone concerned with the state of education in India and internationally. Aroyga (Health) is a newsletter from Dr Pratap Chavan. Samskaar(Impression) focuses on spirituality, Indian philosophy, Vedic arts, etc. If you would like to join, email or or

SOS -- ANOTHER VIEW OF SOFTWARE: Check out the State of Open Source (SOS) home page. Reports required from unrepresented countries, says S. (Sam) Kritokos.

BHUTAN TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST INTERNET DAILY -- The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will soon launch its first daily newspaper online in an effort to reach out to a global readership. The move is especially significant because of the nation's reclusive tradition. The online daily will be launched by the state-run Kuensel Corp., which also publishes the weekly Kuensel. In addition to expanding the global reach of the paper, the Internet version will also reach Bhutanese readers much more quickly, overcoming transportation and distribution difficulties.Bhutan, a landlocked nation of 600,000, first logged on to the Internet and launched a domestic television channel less than two years ago as part of an ongoing policy.

VOLUNTEERING IN IT: United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), a global volunteering effort to help bridge the international digital divide, has launched a new, expanded web site that includes a list of volunteering opportunities, activities already underway, and a resource center of applications of information and communications technologies (ICT) to human development.
Details from Manuel Acevedo
Alexandra Haglund-Petitbo,
Richard Nyberg

AKASHGANGA - using simple but appropriate information technology, to facilitate timely collection of milk and thereby generating, higher profits for the rural milk producers has won the ICT Stories Competition 2001 from India. This project was conceptualized more than four years ago, when IT awareness in the country was limited to big urban centers only. The fact that illiterate and semi-literate farmers accepted the system and are operating it confidently, is an achievement by itself. Computers are being used for a very basic activity like collection of milk for the past so many years and rural masses are comfortable with it and have reposed their confidence in it. Local entrepreneurs could spot the latent potential and have spread the system in the remote areas, through diligent work and timely support. They kept their system, without any monetary compensation for weeks together, for the DCS to try out and feel comfortable with it. The popular and widespread usage of AKASHGANGA breaks the myth that ICT will not help in solving the day-to-day problems of the rural masses. On the contrary, the farmers are very open to adopting new technologies (without being granted any kind of subsidies!), provided it delivers tangible benefits.

INDIA'S SOCIAL AND DEVELOPMENT SECTOR: Virtual window to the Indian Social and Development Sector is at
Also vist

WORLD TECHNOLOGY NETWORK AWARD: AN Indian has won a prestigious world technology award for an experimental project that takes the benefits of information technology to poor fishermen. Venkatramann Balaji of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Andhra Pradesh led a project to bring the benefits of IT to 15 fishing villages near Pondicherry. The award was among 23 given out at the end of a two-day summit of the World Technology Network at the Science Museum in London2E

FREE SOFTWARE... IN INDIA: Some weeks back, India joined the Free Software movement. A group of government officials and Free Software practitioners and enthusiasts in India persuade Richard Stallman to establish an Indian Chapter of the Free Software Foundation. On July 20, 2001, the Free Software Foundation was inaugurate Free Software Foundation-India, [], an affiliate organization headquartered in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, at the "Freedom First!" ceremonies. FSF India will be the national agency for the promotion of the use of Free Software in India.
Free Software helps countries foster an indigenous software industry, because it encourages solidarity, collaboration and voluntary community work among programmers and computer users to create viable alternatives to proprietary software products, since it permits access to the software by all developers, not just a privileged few.

LINUX DOCUMENTATION FOR INDIA: Mahendra M from Bangalore <> tells us about a new Linux Localisation INitiative. Says he: "Our main aim is to translate all Linux Documentation, available from the Linux Documentation Project (, into Indian languages. We have just started the work, and are in the process of translating documents now." Volunteers needed from across India (and beyond!)

YOUHELPINDIA.ORG: Parag Bhargava <> from Kharagpur writes in to say: "We started work on development of the web-site 6-8 months ago and we now have it hosted under the domain name --

The site is dedicated to the cause of literacy and education of the underprivileged in the country. The web-site is absolutely non-commercial and will remain that way in the future." Parag is assistant professor of the Materials Science Centre at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

TELECOM ISSUES-INDIA: For a copy of the newsletter of the Centre for Telecom Management and Studies-India please contact or (Dr T H Chowdary)

WORLD COMPUTER EXCHANGE: Helping to bridge the digital divide one classroom at a time. This non-profit group based in Massachusetts, is actually collecting used computers in the US and sending them to schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America - helping to bridge the global digital divide for youth in the process. This year the Exchange is providing 3,800 donated computers to 500 schools and 200,000 students in Bangladesh, Benin, Cameroon, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Uganda. or send an email to

bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, 2001. bYtES For aLL e-zine volunteers team includes: Frederick Noronha in Goa, Partha Sarkar in Dhaka, Zunaira Durrani in Karachi, Zubair Abbasi in Islamabad, Archana Nagvenkar in Goa, Arun-Kumar Tripathi in Darmstatd, Shivkumar in Mumbai, Sangeeta Pandey in Nepal, Daryl Martyis in Chicago, Gihan Fernando in Sri Lanka, Rajkumar Buyya in Melbourne, Mahrukh Mohiuddin in Dhaka and Deepa Rai in Kathmandu. To contact them mail

Two years on, BytesForAll thanks all those who have volunteered their time, energy and motivation in taking this experiment forward, since its launch in July 1999. If you'd like to volunteer too, contact the above address.

BytesForAll's website is maintained by Partha Sarkar, with inputs from other members of the volunteers' team and supporters. To join or leave this mailing-list simply send a message to with SUB B4ALL or UNSUB B4ALL as the subject.

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Last updated: October 31, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0