ICT for development
So near, yet so far. Bangladesh is keenly looking forward to having an easier, more affordable and smoother ride into cyberspace, as APCNews staff writer Frederick Noronha finds out. In the eighth most populous country in the world (population 144 million), voices from civil society, the media and industry are increasingly surfacing, as this piece – filed from Dhaka in late April – demonstrates.
A brief report on the workshop I just attended in Switzerland, St. Gallen
Where the Government in Pakistan, Intellectual Property Organization, Federal Investigation Authorities and the Business Software Alliance BSA are initiating a crackdown on Software Piracy in Pakistan, there is hardly any awareness of piracy and its implications within society apart from members of the IT Industry. It is crucial to the basic Human Rights of the citizens of Pakistan that they first be provided Anti-Software Piracy Literacy and trainings on Free and Open Source Software as an alternative to pirated software. ICT Software Freedom is their basic human right in the Information Society!
Here’s an early initiative to flow out of the APC South Asia Consultation: BytesForAll has just launched a new mailing list, specifically focused on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS, or FOSS). Details of the group are below. We invite all interested to join.
“When a hammer is all you have, everything begins to look like a nail…
"Whatever is the state of localisation in India, the government is definitely responsible for framing the policies. We have dreams of software superpowerdom, yet basic tools are not in place. They have spent crores (tens of millions by Government of India organisations) CDAC and TDIL, and that too all in the name of undertaking work in Indic computing and benefitting the people," says Ravikant of New Delhi, who has been closely keeping track of Free Software localisation efforts in India.
It is assumed that everyone who buys a cheap illegally-copied ("pirated") copy of music or software CD would actually buy
the costly ‘official’ version. Links have been made by piracy and terrorism, which are actually quite ludicrous. ‘Intellectual property’ is used as a term, instead of ‘creative expression’. When something is called property, we are stealing, poaching and pirating. Instead of what we should be really see it as being — sharing, creating and enhancing cultural products.
As far as radio waves go, South Asia could perhaps call itself the dark continent. This part of the planet has an almost-uniformly unenlightened policy when it comes to opening up its airwaves. Voices from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal….
Remember the old joke that the doctor’s operation was a success, but the patient died? Free/Libre and Open Source Software (or FOSS) is a great idea. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out right. This was the cautionary message emerging from an ‘open space’ at the APC Regional Consultation on ICT Policy in South Asia (April 19-21, 2006, Dhaka).
Does civil society understand ICT policies at all? Take your pick….