Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Discussion on IT Policy 2008 Draft

Today, an interaction program for discussion on Draft of IT Policy 2008 was held at HLCIT. Me, Shankhar, Hempal dai, Jitendra, Dadhiram Dai and Sharad ji were Present from FOSS Nepal.

The program was well conducted. I think we were able to do for what we were there. The program discussed on every point and issues related to ICT and policy making. Mr. Manohar Bhattarai presented the draft policy and draft action plan to follow that policy. The discussion was over his presentation i.e not only policy but action plan as well.

Well, I cannot write what everyone said but will definitely write what we said/discussed.

Since there was very short time to analyse both the policies(2000 and 2008), i somehow managed to give at least some input. thanx FOSS Guys present at IRC yesterday ....

After much huddles to grasp the microphone, I talked on following things.
  1. In action Plan presented, in point 3.4 of Human Resource Development section, It was said ..implementing body for IT in Education will be MOEST and MOE(Education). I highlighted on what FOSS/HENN and other NGO are doing so asked to add "concerned NGO" as well in implementing body.
  2. In IT policy of 2000, there was defined role/work of NAST(National Academy of Science and Technology) which was lacking in new draft. So I put the point that NAST should be transformed to attractive place/center for ICT and Science.
  3. I also talked on Importance of government's ICT Laboratory, research center and FOSS research/development center. To backup, I also cited the importance of making entire government website uniform and secure through the content management system and other possible ways which can be done only through the establishment of R&D center.
  4. It was said that Government will promote FOSS and Open Standard in public as well as Private sector. Citing examples of how ICT is hampered by US political blockade in various countries, how Russia's teacher was penalized for using pirated windows and how Brazil is doing with FOSS,etc, With all these examples I defended the point that the point written in policy about FOSS was not enough. For this government must keep FOSS in top priority and not only will government promote FOSS but also keep it in priority and not only in public and private sector but also in government sector.
  5. Regarding Open standard, I strongly talked about its implementation- "All Government offices and public sector must at least adapt open standard". To support it I cited the problem with election commission website and its font.
With this much of points from my side I handover the microphone to Shankar. he added the examples how various countries are taking and leading with FOSS; What they are doing. Later Hempal dai added few more things like-
  1. There was written "We will take step for strong implementation of IPR". He suggested to change the line to "we will take appropriate step for IPR implementation". Because all govt. offices are using pirated softwares till date. Is Government capable of purchasing softwares for each machine or migrating to FOSS suddenly/in no time?? So the point was asked to be made more flexible.
  2. Importance of Open Content to preserve language, cultural informations and all things of traditional/cultural importance. Its imprtance was highlighted.
With this and other discussion program ended.

I was not able to put some more things due to limited time.

  1. Open Hardware whould also be promoted.
  2. Open content should be in government's most priority work when we are talking about ICT for education and ICT based education.
  3. Good brains are flooding to developed countries. How can we catch this. Its very serious problem for the country. Need of creating job opportunities and increasing ICT education is top level education sectors, its establishment.
  4. E-governance... training and workshops are being conducted for e-governance application implementations. It should be made FOSS/ Linux centric and as these are/must be web based applications, there is always flexiblity. To reduce ICT cost and promote Freedom...FOSS must be there.
  5. Localization must be continued and its development must be supported by government. Now when words of federal states are being spelled out, Localization will play one major roles. Along with this Standard Localization glossary must be maintained which must be revised every year and it should focus on making localized software readlable and usable easily and not to focus only on linguistically correct words and phases.
  6. Taxes on development , export/import of FOSS projects/ softwares should be exempted to promote its use in every possible sector of the State.
I think we can put forward these points as well in future meetings and programs.

I feel very proud to be in the place where i am participating in the making of IT policy of my country.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

SFD 08: How good!!!

Its been 4 years we as FOSS enthusiast of Nepal are celebrating Software Freedom Day. I remember my first SFD in 2005 organized in Yala Maya Kendra where i came as a coordinator of KUOSC team. We had collaborative program with Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya. I was unaware of the kind of program we will be having as i for the first time was visiting such event. It was very informal and friendly.

Similar trend continued...

In 2006 we had a very long event planning and had very good event on SFD.. upto our expectation...

In 2007, we did the most well organized SFD till then(till 2007). We also achieved the title of one of the best SFD. Few of new things on SFD 07 were Freedom Toaster, Live tux...

In 2008 , with just a week of massive preparation we most successfully conducted the Software Freedom Day. In many way this SFD was better: Our energetic guest: Hon. Minister Ganesh Shah, expert session, discussion on SW design pattern, Open source hardware and robotics presentation, launching of our own initiative "nirvikalpa",initiation of web portal "Prasfutan"- for local creative minds to share their creativities- poem, art, songs,music, article and whatever to the e-community and e-audience, best documentaries, open art, signature campaign, same live tux, visit of all apex body under Nepal Government we are concerned to. and what not......

The tshirt was also cool. also the posters and all artworks seen all around the venue. I really enjoyed the event. I appreciate the work of all volunteers. It was very informal. I enjoyed the documentaries and was happy to share my small documentary on LTSP deployment.

Three things I loved most:
  1. Overwelming response and appreciation with round of applause while mentioning the name of my/our initiative "Nirvikalpa". How the name was flipped from "Vikalpa" to "Nirvikalpa". First we named it Vikalpa as a collection of s/w alternative to proprietary softwares. But later we realize that its not the alternative but the way to go. Thus We named it "Nirvikalpa". Thanx Bibek Paudel for giving it the final name which everyone appreciates.
  2. The Minister's speech and his response. His eagerness to be close to the peoples. I really got influenced with his speech. I have never seen such active person as minister in Nepal.
  3. The Kathmandu Declaration 2065 with the reason why we are compelled to launch the declaration. I remember the discussion on the site of election commission in our general mailing list....- for the people absent, the reason was: election commission's website says "please use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view this site" while we use any other web browser apart from M$'s IE. With the Money we are paying as tax, govt. office like election commission is not allowing all citizen view the election results and other informations. It violates the right of access to information of we citizens.

Apart from all these things, we did a brilliant citizen-journalist (amature journalist) work. we captured the videos and were able to make a news report/release. We dropped the footage and news at avnuesTV, Sagarmatha TV and channel nepal and news to annapurna post, the himalayan times and gorkha FM. Gorkha FM did a best job by announcing the news in every hour's news bulletin.

I really like to write more but..... i am very very tired......

thats all.....for now.