eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Archive for June, 2006

[Four NE Articles] MIZORAM , Centre to develop NE region, NE Tourisum Development Fund, NE IT Secretary Corruption,

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

 Mizoram has set an shining example to other NE states
Aizawl | June 30, 2006 4:44:24 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20060630/378414.html

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs S Regupathy today appreciated that Mizoram has set an shining example in maintaining 20 years of peace in the region.

Talking on the occasion of ‘Remna Ni’ (Peace Accord day) organised by the Mizoram government at Vanapahal here, the minister lauded the efforts of various political, relegious and NGO leaders for maintaining sustained peace and transquility in the region.

”Maintaining peace for two-days is something remarkable”, he added.

The other NE states, which are affected by the insurgency problem, should take example from the Mizo people not only for sustaining peace but also improving in developmental activities.

Mr Regupathy also mentioned the Centre has already released more than three crores as compentation for various churches and buildings, which were destroyed during the insurgency period.

”It also released more than two crores as compensation for those who lost their lives during various insurgency activities during early 70s,” he said adding ”apart from this, the Centre is also keen in helping the state government for tackling unemployment problems in the region by introducing new schemes.” While talking about the occurance of bamboo flowering in the state, the minster informed that the Centre is also ready to extend all possible assistance through the Bamboo Flowering and Famine Combat Scheme (BAFFACOS).

UNI SNR JYN KLC1517

 

Centre is keen on developing NE region : Regupathy
Aizawl | June 30, 2006 4:43:15 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20060630/378395.html

 

Union Minister of state for Home Affairs S Regupathy today said the Centre is very keen in its vision plan to develop the North Eastern region within a couple of years.

Talking to UNI at the Raj Bhavan here, the minister said the Centre has already shown interest in calling all insurgent outfits, especially in the NE region to the negotiaing table for a peaceful settlement.

Mr Regupathy, who was here on a two-day visit to the state, said that after visiting Asom, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura it was clear the people in the region are interested in developing their states.

”The on-going Centres’ peace process with ULFA would definetly lay a big platform for all development activities in NE,” he said, adding ”once the major companies start investing in these area, NE would be a major investment zone within a couple of years”.

The minister also mentioned that on an average per year, the NE region gets about Rs 90 crores from Border Area Development programmes.

He said ”About 63 new projects has been implemented in the NE region during 2005 Non Lapsable funds”.

Mr Regupathy also urged both the Centre and the state governments to work out various new plans and schemes for the unemployment problem in the region.

UNI SNR SP PA ND1516

 

Tourism Development Fund to dominate NE Tourism Ministers’ Meet
New Delhi | June 30, 2006 4:43:23 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20060630/378398.html

The proposal to set up a North-East Tourism Development Fund and review of the existing projects and plans relating to tourism and culture will be the focus of the meeting of Tourism and Culture Ministers of all the North-Eastern States, to be held in Guwahati on July 3-4.

The meeting, convened at the initiative of Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, will discuss the status of projects sanctioned by the Centre for the North-Eastern States, issues concerning project formulation and implementation and encouragement to the private sector and local entrepreneurs for development of tourism infrastructure.

The status and working of Hotel Management and Food Craft Institutes in the North-East will also come for deliberations, official sources said.

Some specific issues are also on the agenda for discussion.

These include programme for 2550th Anniversary of Mahaparinivana of Lord Buddha; issues relating to Restricted Area Permit/Protected Area Permit/Inner Line Permit regions in North East States; review of the working of North-East Shilpagram at Dimapur; and progress of the multipurpose cultural complex scheme of the Culture Ministry.

In addition, the ministers will discuss status of the cultural festival of the North-East and initiatives in the library sector, particularly infrastructure development and library strengthening programme of the Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation.

Tourism and Culture Ministers of all the North-Eastern States — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura — will participate in the meeting.

UNI SKS MSJ HS1438

 

Deputy secretary comes under audit scanner in Mizoram
Aizawl | June 30, 2006 1:38:27 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20060630/378232.html

State auditors have alleged the deputy secretary, Information Technology (IT) cell of planning department for misappropriating three crore rupees, allocated for the e-governance programme of Mizoram secretariat.

During inspection, the auditors of the state Accounts and Treasuries (AT) department found irregularities in the selection procedure. They also said that the IT wing deputy secretary had issued certificates to firms illegaly.

The auditors failed to trace out the selection procedure of two firms, M/s Comnet and ORG Informatics limited, who got the contract for installing the e-governance machineries at the secretariat.

Although a tender notice was issued, the concerned department was not able to produce a comparative statement of the tenderers.

The IT wing entered into a contract agreement of Rs 3,75,74,005, with the two firms whereas North Eastern Council (NEC) had sanctioned Rs 380 lakhs for the project.

The report also mentioned that the money was released in three installments of Rs 75 lakhs, Rs 300 lakhs and Rs 5 lakhs. However, the last installment could not be traced.

The auditors have demanded clarification from the deputy secretary regarding the selection of the two firms along with the comparitive statement of the different firms who applied for the tender.

UNI SNR PP SP SS1206

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Reform pill for health:The Tarun Gogoi government has promised to appoint more doctors and nurses for rural areas,

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Reform pill for health
A STAFF REPORTER

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060630/asp/guwahati/story_6417705.asp

Guwahati, June 29: The Tarun Gogoi government has promised to appoint more doctors and nurses for rural areas, equip all civil hospitals with mobile medical units and revamp existing infrastructure in a major overhaul of the state’s mothballed healthcare system.

The government has decided to rationalise postings of doctors in urban and rural hospitals to ensure that from now on, doctors cannot back out from working in rural public health centres.

Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the media today that the new regime had cleared all formalities and appointed 200 doctors in less than a month after taking charge. He claimed that around 100 newly appointed doctors had expressed their willingness to go to any part of the state to serve the rural people.

Walk-in interviews were conducted in the past two weeks.

“I am keeping my fingers crossed that all 200 doctors will now join their duties wherever the government wishes to post them. We are appointing 76 retired doctors at different hospitals, including some rural ones. As many as 53 new nurses have already joined duty. Interviews to select 1,000 more nurses will begin from July 6. Within a month, we will see a significant rise in the number of doctors and nurses serving in rural areas,” Sarma said.

The minister announced that all district civil hospitals would be equipped with mobile medical units especially to serve people living in the remote areas.

Each mobile unit will consist of three vehicles. A Tata Sumo will ferry doctors and nurses, a Maruti van will be used as a makeshift diagnostic centre and another van will double as an operation theatre.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to inaugurate the project on October 12.

Conceding that several aspects of the healthcare sector still needed to be streamlined, Sarma said the policy of rationalising postings would take effect within three months.

He said the government would pay a consolidated amount of Rs 3,000 as an incentive to each doctor serving in a rural area.

Sarma disclosed that the government has taken the initiative to renovate and improve infrastructures in a major way at rural hospitals. An amount of Rs 40 lakh has been sanctioned to each of 70 civil hospitals in different districts for renovating them. Under this scheme, at least three hospitals in every district of the state would be renovated and facilities revamped.

The project will include repairs of doctors’ quarters, outdoor patient units and operation theatres at the civil hospitals.

Sarma promised that funds would not be a constraint for bringing about a sea change in the health sector. He disclosed that the health department has received an amount of Rs 320 crore for the current financial year under the 12th Finance Commission. The department has also been awarded another tranche of Rs 80 crore under the National Rural Health Mission.

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Mizoram govt set up village level disaster management

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Mizoram govt set up village level disaster management

http://www.deepikaglobal.com/ENG3_sub.asp?ccode=ENG3&newscode=142742

Aizawl, June 30 (UNI) The Mizoram government, in line with the national policy of disaster management, has chalked out war footing measures by constituting Disaster Management Committees (DMC) from state level to the village levels.

A group of experts headed by Dominic Lalhmangaiha, a former Mizoram Civil Service officer, has been entrusted as the adviser by the state government with funds provided under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

”The basic principle behind disaster management is that there should be preparedness at all levels, from the top to the bottom. As a result of this, we have constituted village level disaster management committees in all the districts under the supervision of the deputy commissioners,” Mr Lalhmangaiha told UNI here today.

Mr Lalhmangiaha also pointed out that each DMC is made up of seven teams, which includes first aid and medical team, the search and rescue team, the food and water supply team, shelter management team, information and damage assessment team, the relief coordination team and the trauma counselling team.

”Now people are slowly beginning to realise that rescue and other matters are best left to the people specially assigned for the jobs when a disaster occurs,” he said, adding that this was most necessary in Mizoram as the state is directly placed in the most seismic-active zone of the world.

The state government will shortly be purchasing essential equipment for which Rs 35 lakhs have been earmarked, he added.

Meanwhile, DMCs are making use of the adventure clubs that are found in most villages as the members have been trained in mountaineering and rescue works.

Posted in Mizoram eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

E-governance spurts desktop sales in public sector

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

E-governance spurts desktop sales in public sector 
Government sector contributed 3 per cent among the desktop buyers
 
Friday, June 30, 2006

 http://www.ciol.com/content/news/2006/106063010.asp

Bhaskar Hazarika

NEW DELHI: The government’s initiative on connecting the country through e-governance program is likely to shoot the rate of desktop buyers in the next two years.

Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) in its industry performance review stated that the number of desktop buyers in the government sector will increase due to the e-governance program roll-out.

The industry performance review 2005-2006 revealed that consumption in government sector has increased by 33 per cent. Vinnie Mehta, Executive Director, MAIT said that compared to other three sectors- factory locations, office locations and outlets, the number of desktop buyers in the government sector is low. According to the survey the government sector contributed 3 per cent among the desktop buyers.

“This sector will see a steady growth in the number of desktop buyers in the as the government is initiating the e-government program. With the penetration of kiosks and personal computers in the rural areas, this sector will witness a steady growth in the next 2 years,” Mehta said. Consumption in the factory locations grew by 46 per cent, retail outlets recorded a growth of 127 per cent.

Dayanidhi Maran, Minister for Communications and IT had announced that HRD Minister Arjun Singh has proposed for broadband connectivity to the Secondary and Higher Secondary schools in the country by 2007. All public health care centers and Gram Panchayats would also be provided broadband coverage, which would give boost to the desktop sales.

Mehta said that the sales of notebook is also likely to grow more with the education institutes making its compulsory for students to own a notebook. “Most of the colleges and educational institutes have made it mandatory for students to have a notebook, which will add more to the number of notebook sales in the country. Not only the management institutes, other educational institutes are also insisting on one notebook for one student,” Mehta said.

©CyberMedia News

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Virtualization: A Case Study of the Impact of Open Source

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Virtualization: A Case Study of the Impact of Open Source

The Open Source

In my most recent post, I wrote about the impact open source software will have on the proprietary software industry. In contrast to many others who seem to feel that open source and proprietary software operate in two parallel but separate universes — that open source is used by people who can’t afford “real” software, while proprietary commercial software is for organizations that need reliability, scalability, and all the other “abilities”, I believe that open source is already challenging the proprietary software world. The anemic growth rates and consolidation of the proprietary software industry reflect the subtle effects of lower cost and easily available open source alternatives.

Fine. That’s my opinion. You may think I’m spot on, or that I’m talking through my hat. How about a case study to test the theory?

Let’s look at virtualization. Virtualization is something I’m spending a lot of time on now, and I think it has tremendous potential with a very clear payoff: reduced costs for IT organizations, both hard (power, machines) and soft (admin and operations personnel). Virtualization evinces an undeniable fact: machines are improving so fast that they make possible — even dictate — a change to the traditional hardware infrastructure, breaking the bounds of the one machine, one application practice used by most IT shops. With such a clear value proposition, virtualization is red hot in IT circles.

In 2004, EMC decided to jump on this trend, figuring virtualization would be a complementary offering to its existing storage business. EMC paid over $600 million to buy VMWare, the leading virtualization provider. VMWare had a very capable, albeit pricy, line of products. VMWare offered them via a hands-on, expensive, direct sales force. These products and their sales strategy melded perfectly with EMC, which sells expensive storage solutions through a hands-on, expensive, sales force.

Today, less than two years later, VMWare has completely restructured its product line and its go-to-market strategy. VMWare offers a significant part of its product line available for immediate download at no cost. That’s right, EMC paid $600 million to buy a company that doesn’t charge for its products.

Why the big change in strategy? In one word: Xen.

Xen is an open source virtualization product emanating from Cambridge University, with a commercial arm called Xensource.

The entrance of an open source product into this market has caused the effective price of virtualization to head toward zero (Microsoft has also announced that its virtualization product will be free, although you have to purchase other Microsoft products to run underneath the virtualization product).

What’s really interesting about this market is how fast commoditization has occurred. Unlike databases, where Oracle has a huge installed base which it can milk at traditional prices, virtualization is a nascent market where user choices are being made today. VMWare faced its own choice: maintain its historical pricing and end up a bit player, or hold its nose, chop prices, attempt to establish a dominant market share, and figure out how to make money from the resulting user base. (For a fascinating look at the financial impact of much lower pricing entering a high-priced market, see Martin Fink’s discussion of the impact of generic drugs on sales of patent-protected proprietary drugs in his excellent The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source.)

To its credit, VMWare recognized that attempting to maintain its existing pricing was a recipe for irrelevance, and cut its prices with gusto.

Of course, the flip side of this change is that VMWare expects you to download the product and do the work of figuring out whether it’s right for your purpose. They’ll be glad to engage in a sales conversation once you’ve done the exploratory work and decided the VMWare solution is right for you.

To my mind, this poses one of the great challenges open source presents to IT. Unlike databases, where the entrance of open source offerings was supported by a large trained technical workforce (the build up of which was supported by all of that expensive Oracle software), nascent markets like virtualization suffer from a lack of skilled expertise, which makes successful implementations much more difficult — with no skilled technical staff, and a hands-off vendor that can’t afford to spend much time with users, there appears to be an adoption dilemma.

I’m not sure what the answer to this dilemma is, but I’m pretty sure the momentum of commoditization through open source is unstoppable. The next five or ten years should be pretty interesting for the IT industry. 

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 3

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 3

In Parts 1 and Parts 2 of this series of posts I covered two important reasons that every IT organization needs to incorporate open source software as part of their overall IT strategy.

The first reason you need to begin using open source software is that IT budgets suffer from two simultaneous imperatives: low-growth and increasing demand. One important way to respond to these imperatives is to lower your cost of delivering technology. Open source can be an enormous help in this response.

The second reason for using open source is that the software industry itself is undergoing change and will increasingly resemble the open source model: the software itself being freely downloadable, but with far fewer ancillary services delivered by the vendor for free. Beyond the obvious service cuts — no free proof-of-concepts, architecture roadmap presentations, and so on — other, less obvious services will be trimmed as well — things like informative advertising, vendor-sponsored analyst reports. The effect of these changes is that IT organization will need to take more responsibility for technology decisions and processes — a hallmark of the open source world.

Now, let’s discuss the third reason you need to jump on open source — and this one extends the impact past the confines of the IT organization: open source can offer competitive advantage to the overall organization — in other words, open source can help businesses perform better financially. 

How is that?

Well, let’s look at the example I offered in a recent blog posting, relating the story of a small company that selected JBoss over BEA. That company, doing around $30 million in annual sales, saved $450K by going with JBoss. In other words, they saved about 1.5% of their annual revenues by using open source.

What do you think they did with that money? Hired more people. Reached further down into their IT backlog list. Invested in additional marketing. Whatever. The point is, they were able to implement a powerful software system while also saving a ton of money — and then were able to redeploy that capital to another purpose.

Meanwhile, if you’re their competitor that chose BEA instead, where do you stand? Most likely, you have a functionally equivalent software system — but you are missing 1.5% of your revenues to invest somewhere else.

Over time, don’t you think the lower-cost company is going to build a lead? It will continue to incrementally save money that it can reinvest elsewhere in its business. 

Let’s take another example. Sabre Holdings. They wanted to data mine the traffic patterns on their Travelocity site. Travel, as you probably know, is a tough business with razor-thin margins. They didn’t have the $500K that a commercial BI system would typically cost, so they created a home-grown system using MySQL running on a 4-way box yoked to a special-purpose RAID box. Total investment? Around $50K.

In Sabre’s case, they most likely didn’t reinvest the saved dollars — they’re stretched too thin. However, they were able to create a revenue-building application with open source that they never could have afforded if they used commercial equivalents.

The counter-argument to the cost advantage of open source software is that the cost of licenses is unimportant in the overall budget of IT. In individual projects, licenses are often a small part of the total project cost — perhaps only 10% to 20% of the entire project. In the IT shop as a whole, I’ve heard 6% of total budget  described as the portion devoted to software licenses.  Therefore, the argument goes, the savings available by using open source are really not critical in the overall scheme of things.

This reminds me of the dismissivenss that Detroit used to evince toward Japanese automakers. It used to take US car manufacturers two weeks to perform annual model tooling changeovers. Toyota figured out how to do it in less than a day. So what, was the attitude of US automakers. The cost of model changeover is peanuts compared to everything else.

But Japanese car companies continued to incrementally improve their cost structure — quicker changeovers, less inventory via JIT techniques, lower manufacturing cost by creating option bundles. One day the US industry woke up and Japanese makers had an unbeatable cost advantage; thirty years later, the domestic manufacturers are still trying to catch up.

I believe in learning from history. Marginal improvements can have enormous cumulative impact. Open source is a marginal improvement tool — and if you fail to put it in your IT toolkit, you may be handicapping your company in a competitive economy. 

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | 1 Comment »

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 1

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 1

The Open Source

Many IT organizations are starting to experiment with open source. There is an element of kicking tires about these experiments, as in “I’ve heard a lot about this new open source stuff — let’s take a trial spin to see how it goes. Of course, we’re still committed to our proprietary infrastructure, but we might as well check it out.” It’s like you might try out that new exotic restaurant that just opened — not that you’d ever stop eating at the tried-and-true place that you’ve been going to for years.

Get over it. Your future depends on open source — and for reasons that have nothing to do with open source being a better way to develop software, enabling less contentious relationships between users and vendors, and certainly nothing to do with abstract notions of “open source is free as in free speech.”

Your future depends on open source because of fundamental economic trends in the IT industry. You need to get on the right side of these trends or face real danger to your organization — and your career. You ignore them at your peril.

There are three important reasons you need to adopt open source. This post will address the first; I’ll address the other reasons in subsequent posts.

Reason #1 to Adopt Open Source: Your Budgets Demand It 

 IT Capital Investment chart

The above chart (source, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce) shows the historical trend in IT capital investment (including both hardware and software) over the past 30 years.

As you can see, in the early 70’s, IT made up only about 15% of total Equipment and Software Capital Investment (the category also includes items like machine tools and the like); the percentage of total capital spending for IT increased steadily over the years to around 40% or so. It has stayed at that level for several years; this percentage is not likely to grow any further going forward — after all, the economy still has to invest in things besides IT.

What this chart doesn’t show, however, is the multiplier effect on IT spending due to the strong economic growth during the 80’s and 90’s. Multiplying the increased percentage of capital spending by the underlying economic growth gave us the heady IT budgets of those years, where increases in IT spending within organizations routinely ran 7% to 10% (remember “Get us on the Internet, no matter what it costs” and “We have to get ready for Y2K”?). 

That was then, this is now. The multiplier effect of increased capital spending percentage is over. And good economic growth these days is 3% to 4%. That means that future IT budgets are going to grow pretty much in line with the underlying economic growth; after employee raises, that means IT budgets for the foreseeable future are going to be a zero-sum game.

On the other hand, however, the demands on you and your organization aren’t staying constant. In fact, they seem to be growing. Your organization needs a mobility capability. SarbOx requirements must be met. What about RFID? And you want to implement analytics to run the business more effectively, too.

In a zero-sum game, if you want to increase one thing, something else needs to shrink. Which brings us to open source.

IT organizations must direct their capital investment to customer-facing, business-improving, revenue-growing initiatives. In the IT budgets of the future, spending millions of dollars on plumbing — storing, pushing, and presenting bits — is out. IT organizations — you — have to reduce spend in non-essential places to have any chance at all to deliver on all the commitments your boss is demanding.

Moving to open source is not an option to be explored at leisure. It is a deadly serious strategic necessity. If you aren’t seriously looking at open source yet, you need to get with the program.

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Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 2

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

 Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 2

The Open Source

“Will software be a business that generates a lot of profit in the future? Is open source essentially a disruption that will cause the software business to be less profitable? ”

                        — Steve Ballmer, addressing an audience of financial analysts, July, 2004

Let me end the suspense, Steve, and offer the answer: “Yes.” The software business will be less profitable in the future — much less profitable.

The enterprise software business is changing dramatically and tomorrow’s industry will look very different to today’s. The converging impacts of slowing growth, competitive pressures, and more demanding customers will cause a splintering of today’s monolithic industry offerings — and in a surprising turn of events, the software industry of the future will look much more like the open source software industry of today. But what will that mean for you, the software user?

Some of this pressure will be caused by open source itself. Obviously, if an inexpensive alternative is available, it’s harder to charge premium prices for a good or service. I liken it to bottled water — if you’re dying of thirst in a desert, almost any price for water is acceptable. You’d pay a hundred dollars for a bottle of Perrier. If you’re standing in your kitchen and water is freely available from your tap, though, there’s a limit you’ll pay for the convenience and putatively higher quality water available in a bottle. Open source has the effect of serving as the kitchen tap — and putting a ceiling on the acceptable price for proprietary software. I addressed one example of this issue in a recent blog posting.

However, even more damaging than the price pressure of open source is the impact it will have on marginal profitability of software companies. Software is an unusual — even unique — good, in that it costs practically nothing to manufacture. All the expense is in creating it; a CEO of a software company I once worked for described software companies as looking like they are all fixed costs, since there are practically no variable costs of manufacture.

The implication of this is that once your fixed costs (principally headcount) are covered, nearly all your additional revenue drops to the bottom line as profit — but every copy you don’t sell trims your income statement by nearly the entire price of the software. So every piece of software that an open source product displaces disproportionally harms the profitability of the vendor of the proprietary counterpart. So, as an example of this, every copy of OpenOffice that goes into use costs Microsoft around $300 in profits.

Consequently, it’s clear that open source will have a significant impact on the profitability of the software industry. But it is far from the only trend that is harming software profitability. Just as troubling to the industry is its lack of growth — which will have, perhaps, even more impact on profits than will open source software.

The evidence of poor growth is everywhere. In a recent presentation, IDC forecast software sales growth of around 5% for the next few years; this is a far cry from the heady days of 30% industry growth of the 90’s. Software has suffered the ultimate indignity of being dropped from growth-oriented mutual funds, sure evidence that the tide has turned on software sales. 

This lack of growth has the effect of making software companies desperate for sales. Interesting evidence regarding this desperation became public during the Department of Justice hearings on the Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft. Testimony revealed that Oracle offered discounts of 90% to seal deals against SAP and PeopleSoft. 

Clearly, going forward, there’s less revenue dropping to the bottom line from sales — which is bad news for software company executives. After all, you don’t get those juicy stock multiples that accompany growth stock-like profitability if your net profitability is shrinking.

Between commoditization by open source and reduced revenues due to discounting, the top line is looking weaker, resulting in lower net margins. So what’s a poor software company to do?

Well, one obvious option is to use financial engineering to increase profits. This is a common tactic in slow-growth markets — merge two companies and increase profits by maintaining the existing revenue stream while trimming common functions like finance and HR, while. This tactic drove Oracle’s PeopleSoft acquisition.

Say what you will about Larry Ellison — he’s a very sharp operator. When he recognized that the software industry has a slow-growth future, he changed Oracle’s strategy from license sales at any cost to milking the installed base — sorry, moving to a subscription business model. This model allows Oracle to continue to achieve its traditional profitability via 85% gross margins on subscriptions. It’s really quite brilliant; growing the installed base via acquisitions allows him to grow profitability through ongoing maintenance fees, something Computer Associates discovered 20 years ago.

There’s only one problem with this strategy if you’re a large software company. There aren’t that many targets large enough to make your earnings grow sufficiently to keep those growth stock price-earnings ratios extant. It gets harder and harder to, as they say, move the needle.

So, what’s your next tactic to keep earnings up? It’s obvious, really. You reduce costs. We’ve already started to see that happen in the software industry. In a widely noted move a couple of years ago, Microsoft cut health care benefits, shortened vacation time, and reduced the stock purchase plan discount. 

We’ll see more of this in the future. Large software companies will nip benefits here and there, all in an effort to trim employee costs, which, as already noted, account for almost all the ongoing costs of a software company.

However, if you’re a software company, there’s a limit to this tactic as well, particularly as your business depends, relatively speaking, on happy, motivated employees.

The next tactic to increase profits is one that will directly affect you, the end user. Instead of today’s bundled, monolithic product, software vendors will move to selling an unbundled product, charging for things that currently are thrown in with the license fee.

What will this look like?

There will be far fewer services available at no cost to customers. Today, if you are a large user and are considering purchasing a package, there is no end to what the vendor will do for you. Want a product overview and roadmap presentation? The sales rep will be glad to bring a team to your site for a meeting. Want to understand how the product will integrate with your existing infrastructure? How about a proof of concept that the vendor will help build at no cost to you?

But when there’s far less revenue available through a license fee, all those free services will go out the window. They’ll all be available, alright — for a fee. Get ready for a future in which you’ll get far less personal attention from the vendor and in which you’ll have to take on more responsibility for decisions or, at least, expect to pay for advice to help you make decisions.

In other words, the software industry of the future will look a lot like the open source industry of today. Cheap (or free) software, but more responsibility for the user.  Which is the second reason your future depends on open source. Your organization will increasingly need to do more research, make more vendor-independent decisions, and implement more community-shared systems. You need to start sharpening your open source skills if you want your organization ready for the software industry of the future.

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Open Source Smack-Down, Linux is an “open source” program, meaning anyone is free to view and modify its source code, or basic underlying instructions.

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Open Source Smack-Down
Daniel Lyons, 06.29.06, 4:25 PM ET

http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/29/ibm-sco-linux_cz_dl_0629ibm.html

Fans of the free Linux operating system should be popping champagne tonight. A judge has tossed out most of the claims in a case claiming Linux contained stolen code.

SCO Group (nasdaq: SCOXnews people ), of Lindon, Utah, is suing IBM (nyse: IBMnews people ), claiming IBM stole code from Unix, for which SCO holds some copyrights, and put it into Linux, which is distributed free. SCO is seeking billions in damages.

The case, filed in 2003, is scheduled for trial in 2007. But Wednesday night, in a blistering 39-page ruling, Magistrate Judge Brooke C. Wells of the United States District Court in Utah tossed out two-thirds of SCO’s claims against IBM.

Wells tossed the claims because SCO refused, after repeated requests, to provide specific details about which lines of code were stolen.

SCO claims it could not provide detailed information for these items because they involved “methods and concepts” rather than specific lines of code. IBM insisted that SCO should still be able to provide the relevant lines of code to show where the methods and concepts were stolen.

“SCO’s arguments are akin to SCO telling IBM, ‘Sorry, we are not going to tell you what you did wrong because you already know,’ ” Wells wrote in her ruling. “Given the amount of code that SCO has received in discovery the court finds it inexcusable that SCO is in essence still not placing all the details on the table. Certainly if an individual was stopped and accused of shoplifting after walking out of Neiman Marcus they would expect to be eventually told what they allegedly stole.”

Blake Stowell, a spokesman for SCO said, “Our legal team is reviewing the judge’s ruling and will determine our next steps in the near future.”

IBM officials declined to comment on the ruling.

The ruling is a devastating blow to SCO and one that will warm the hearts of Linux fans who have long viewed SCO’s case as a groundless, desperate shakedown attempt by a dying software company.

SCO’s Unix business has been gutted by Linux, which is fast becoming the lingua franca of the next era of computing, powering everything from cellphones to network routers to the world’s biggest supercomputers.

Should SCO prevail, its case could have huge impact not just on IBM but on Linux distributors such as Red Hat (nasdaq: RHATnews people ) and Novell (nasdaq: NOVLnews people ), as well as on Linux promoters such as Dell (nasdaq: DELLnews people ) and Hewlett-Packard (nyse: HPQnews people ). Hundreds of companies using Linux as an embedded operating system in hardware devices also would be hurt, as well as thousands of companies around the world that use Linux servers to power Web sites and handle other tasks. These include top Wall Street firms and companies such as Google (nasdaq: GOOGnews people ), which operates hundreds of thousands of Linux-based servers.

Linux is an “open source” program, meaning anyone is free to view and modify its source code, or basic underlying instructions. With thousands of developers making changes and sharing them with each other, Linux has evolved at hyper-speed, eclipsing other operating systems such as Unix and Windows in some areas.

SCO filed its claim in March 2003, hiring celebrity lawyer David Boies to lead the attack. SCO soon launched a huge publicity campaign claiming to have found vast amounts of copied code in Linux.

In her ruling, Judge Wells chastised SCO for its “siren song sounding the strength of its case to the public.” She cited examples of statements SCO execs had made to the press about how extensive their case was against IBM, including a quote from SCO Senior Vice President Chris Sontag that “there are over 1 million lines of code that we have identified …”

The judge also cited letters SCO sent to users of Linux warning them that the code they were using contained stolen code.

After years of legal wrangling SCO finally provided 294 examples of allegedly purloined code. Two-thirds of those examples, however, involved “methods and concepts,” for which SCO claimed it could not provide specific source code.

To be sure, other claims still will go forward, but Linux fans clearly viewed this ruling as a victory. Leading the rejoicing was blogger Pamela Jones, a paralegal who for years has bashed SCO on her Web site, Groklaw. “My eyeballs are bugging out. What an absolute farce. One thing is certain. There will be no billions of dollars in damages, even if SCO could prevail on these puny items,” Jones wrote.

Posted in OPEN SOURCE Linux | Leave a Comment »

VIEWS on CIC’s of NORTHEAST [from one CIC location]

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

From: “Telahi CIC Site” <asm-telahi@cic.nic.in>
Cc: “Venkat Kumaraswamy” <vmkumaraswamy@yahoo.com>, “eGov Northeast” <egovnortheast@yahoogroups.com>, “egov Assam” <egovassam@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:50 am
Dear all,

You are quite aware that there is only the ICT infrastructure in
development blocks of entire North Eastern India which is Community
Information Centre(CIC). No one need to explain about the services
provide in the CICs. Due to negligence of some Government departments we are
unable to implement e-governance services though many times government
putting up orders on behalf of Governor of Assam vide letter No.
IT.151/2005/1 dtd 16th February’2006 indicating that all the
e-governance exercise must be completed on or before 31st May’06. Duly this order
extended to 30th of June’2006. But still the authority willingly
ignoring it. They are ignoring the ICT power to uplift of socio-economic growth
in this rural area through CICs because if the e-governance will be
implemented their way of getting bribe under table will be stopped.

The basic aim of the CICs was to campaigning IT literacy, ICT services,
Knowledge generation to rural people and creation of self-employment in
the rural area. Except e-governance all the purposes were achieved 100%
goal to the society by CIC Operators without any parent department. The
government providing only the Infrastructures and NET connectivity by
NIC only……this is the great achievement of CIC Operators. The credit goes
definitely to them and it proves that their eligibility of technical
power is high.

The last election work CIC Operators and CIC infrastructures were use
in various district and sub-divisions. The truth can’t be denied.

Still we are appealing the higher authority to implement more and more
application and services in CICs for greater interest of poor rural
people to bridging the gap between govt policies and end users.

Now a day, IT is the hub of all departments and common people. If CICs
exist permanently in your block area it will benefited to the
Government department as well as common people not only the CIC Operators. It is
seen that some Government department runs only in their name. They are
drawing Government facilities without a return. As a result government facing
total lost. The central Government commissioning CICs to the concern
State governments state that, CIC is a Non-profit service sector projects. It
serves the rural poor people where about 68% of people living under
BPL. According to the MoU  CICs achieving its goal. The IT is new concept
for not only North-Eastern India but also for the 3rd world developing
countries. So CICs never stops. CICs must be exist permanently in the
block area only under Department of IT (either it may state government
or Central government). All the CIC Operators should be absorbed under it.

The government needs policy and willingness to live the IT arena in
North-Eastern India. They should not ignore the ICT power in
socio-economic development of a society. If Government fails in bring
CIC to a permanent shape they unable to keep the transparency of Democratic
means and society lacking behind the progressive one.

It is here by appeal the concern departments to take up CICs for the
greater interest of public.

Regards
Debendra Hazarika
CIC Operator
Telahi, Lakhimpur
Asm-telahi@nic.in
9954335026(m)

Posted in CIC's Northeast INDIA | Leave a Comment »