Now here’s an wiki post on the oft-discussed issue of Why there is so little (or is it nothing at all) contribution to FOSS from India ? One has discussed this at so many forums or read so many mailing list threads that by this time there’s not much one can find new. So here’s my response to some of the points raised in the wiki.
Contributions will come only if people are aware of what is happening in this field. Now a days it is very easy to get a job in IT field for engineering graduates. After getting job, I am seeing a big problem among our IT professionals. They are only interested(?) in doing their projects in their office. And not at all bothered about what is happening in the tech world. They are only interested in salary.
Too many prejudices in the catch all statement. The very fact that the awareness is lacking is something that I kind of feel strongly. The country has the second largest number (second only to USA) of RHCEs/RHCTs and Linux awareness (or lack of it) is not really the case in point. There are far more number of magazines (including business ones) which talk about/on Linux/FOSS than there were even 2 years back. Come to think of it, it is on TV : both CNN-IBN and CNBC cover FOSS with regular frequency as does CNN (mainly Portland,Oregon/Intel) and BBC. If still it is felt that awareness is lacking – what stops folks from putting up weekly spots on FM Radio to talk about FOSS. I am game for it – one can start off a conversation which will appeal to the end users. If engineers are not bothered about what is going around them and they choose to be unaware then obviously they are in the wrong company and being groomed wrongly. If you know only the well in which you survive – then you will never be able to appreciate how others live. For better or for worse the movement has seen interpretations and explanations using various hues of economic theory – what is needed right now is defining the ground rules so that contributions happen more often and in a much more streamlined manner.
Big IT boom in India gives people jobs easily; and when you do a cosy job, you lose half of the motivation. It is a case of innovation being killed due to complacency.
If being complacent means that you lose your coding skills then the skills were not honestly obtained.
The whole atmosphere around is counterproductive to innovation and risk taking
I would say that the infrastructure and the social environment that encourages the high wire act of risk taking is not really in place. Folks invest in stocks nonchalantly, yet figuring out how to strike out a business venture is still that arcane art of black magic.
We also are not trained to think in a creative manner and Our education system does not encourage free thinking
What happens is that the education blithely ignores the basics and teaches what the market perceives to be the current hotness. I might have written someplace else about the lacunae of the system and sometimes I talk about it. What is required is actually a revisit of the syllabus and teaching basic facts which would equip the students to learn on the job. The training courses which the big companies (Infosys, Wipro, TCS etc) put their new recruits through can be taken as either they don’t expect the system to output required knowledge or they don’t expect the system to be up to the mark when it comes to educating the students.
Secondly getting exposure in the various international forums is not cheap. What I mean by this is, there is only some extent to which you can learn from books. To learn more, you need to first do something, understand what happens, why it happens, interact with experts. This happens by writing research papers, participating in various conferences. Most of them are very expensive by Indian standards.
This is somewhat stilted. The one good thing FOSS does is democratize the process of inclusion. Sure enough there are barriers to entry in some aspect but nowhere is the entry barred.
We should encourage people develop a producer culture.
Develop a “Good User” culture.
(a) A good user reacts to all glitches by filing a “Good Bug Report” — (need a link here on how to write good bug reports).
(b) A good user reacts to inactivity on her bug by the maintainer by providing a fix 🙂
(c) A good user does not hesitate. If you fear that you will make a mistake and do not speak that will be a mistake.
Good points all of them. One can go through the various GNOME mailing lists to understand and appreciate the lament for good feedback.
The lack of contributions is not because we have bad students – it because we have a bad system that needs fixing. And needs to be fixed in an evolutionary way. One of the things that happens when you wish to change a monolithic system that was created to serve a different need (read: create an army of clerks and later on administrative service boxwallahs) one would like to understand the ramifications of the manifestations of change. The short and sweet story might be to look at the following points:
- Revision of the curricula at the high school level
- Encouraging more “relevant” industry interaction (and not “lip service”)
- Establishing local mirrors for various FOSS operating systems