eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Archive for July, 2007

Microsoft accelerates free access to journals

Posted by egovindia on July 29, 2007

Microsoft accelerates free access to journals

Open access to scientific journals will be extended until 2015

Ochieng’ Ogodo
16 July 2007
Source: SciDev.Net
Information technology company Microsoft will give technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, policymakers and librarians in the developing world.

This was announced at a meeting in Washington last week (10 July).

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities met to officially extend their free access to peer-reviewed journals for many developing world scientists to 2015, in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

The United Nations‘ Technology Officer, Randy Ramusack, said the technical assistance will give policymakers and librarians from the developing world faster access to peer-reviewed science journals from three portals.

The portals ― HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment) ― provide access to journals focusing on health, agriculture and the environment to more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries.

“We consider this as [a] donation to a society that needs it most and as the initiative’s only technology partner, Microsoft is providing a new system for access and authentication, enabling secure and effective use of the programs in developing countries,” said Ramusack.

Microsoft will provide new software called the Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 that will meet increased demand for access to heavily trafficked portals and perform at the standards of today’s most heavily trafficked websites, said Ramusack. The system will also enhance security through authentication of users when they log on.

Professor Otieno Malo, the chairman of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences, said this will improve research capacity for institutions and researchers.

“[The new system] will greatly enhance scientific research collaborations between the developing and developed world scientists through research works and even put us in touch with relevant institutions and researchers once we get their works online,” he told SciDev.Net.

“HINARI-AGORA- OARE removes many of the barriers that we in the developing world have been facing in accessing published literature,” said Mohamed Jalloh, consultant urologist at the Hôpital Général de Grand Yoff in Dakar, Senegal.

“These programs have the great potential to improve health, education training and research in remote areas all around the world,” he said. “They have drastically improved the way we work at the hospital.”

Related SciDev.Net articles:
Free access blocked by unawareness and librarians
Scientists push open access for developing nations
Universities urged: ‘share benefits of health research’
‘Free’ access to research should not be limited
Online library needs to sharpen up

http://www.scidev. net/News/ index.cfm?fuseaction= readNews&itemid=3757&language=1

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BBC NEWS – $100 laptop production begins

Posted by egovindia on July 29, 2007

‘$100 laptop’ production begins

By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

Five years after the concept was first proposed, the so-called $100 laptop is poised to go into mass production. Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines.

Previously, the organisation behind the scheme said that it required orders for 3m laptops to make production viable.

The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007.

“There’s still some software to write, but this is a big step for us,” Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website.

The organisation has not said which countries have bought the first machines.

Silencing critics Getting the $100 laptop to this stage has been a turbulent journey for the organisation and its founder Nicholas Negroponte.

Since the idea was first put forward in 2002, the low-cost laptop has been both lauded and ridiculed.

Intel chairman Craig Barret famously described it as a “$100 gadget” whilst Microsoft founder Bill Gates questioned its design, particularly the lack of hard drive and its “tiny screen”.

Other critics asked whether there was a need for a laptop in countries which, they said, had more pressing needs such as sanitation, water and health care.

Professor Negroponte’s response has always been the same: “It’s an education project, not a laptop project.”

   

The view was shared by Kofi Annan, ex-secretary General of the UN. In 2005, he described the laptop as an “expression of global solidarity” that would “open up new fronts” for children’s education.

And as time passed, even some of the critics have changed their stance. Earlier this month, Intel, which manufactures what was considered a rival machine, the Classmate PC, joined forces with OLPC.

Functional design

The innovative design of the XO machine has also drawn praise from the technical community.

Using open source software, OLPC have developed a stripped-down operating system which fits comfortably on the machine’s 1GB of memory.

“We made a set of trade-offs which may not be an office worker’s needs but are more than adequate for what kids need for learning, exploring and having fun,” said Professor Bender.

The XO is built to cope with the harsh and remote conditions found in areas where it may be used, such as the deserts of Libya or the mountains of Peru.

  Professor Negroponte first proposed the laptop in 2002

For example, it has a rugged, waterproof case and is as energy efficient as possible.

“The laptop needs an order of magnitude less power than a typical laptop,” said Professor Bender. “That means you can power it by solar or human power.”

Governments that sign up for the scheme can purchase solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers for the laptop.

And because it may be used in villages without access to a classroom, it has also been designed to work outside. In particular, the green and white machines feature a sunlight-readable display.

“For a lot of these children it’s their only book and we want them to have a first class reading experience,” said Professor Bender.

Name drop

The XO will be produced in Taiwan by Quanta, the world’s largest laptop manufacturer.

The final design will bring together more than 800 parts from multiple suppliers such as chip-maker AMD, which supplies the low-power processor at the heart of the machine.

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for,” Gustavo Arenas of AMD told the BBC News website.

“We certainly believe very strongly in the mission and vision of OLPC so finally starting to see it come to fruition is not only gratifying, it is also rewarding.”

Test machines, on which the final design is based, are currently being put through their paces by OLPC.

“We keep laptops in the oven at 50 degrees and they keep on running,” said Professor Bender.

Field testing is also being done in countries such as Nigeria and Brazil.

However, the names of the governments that have purchased the first lots of machines have not been released.

The XO currently costs $176 (£90) although the eventual aim is to sell the machines to governments for $100 (£50).

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ go/pr/fr/ -/2/hi/technolog y/6908946. stm

Published: 2007/07/22 23:09:42 GMT

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Intel to roll out portable PCs in Indian schools

Posted by egovindia on July 29, 2007

Intel to roll out portable PCs in Indian schools
By Fakir Balaji

Jaipur, July 23 (IANS) Global chipmaker Intel Corp is all set to roll
out its Classmate PC, a portable mini-notebook, in Indian schools from
August to digitally enhance the existing teaching format.

The Indian subsidiary of the $39-billion silicon firm has tied up with
HCL Infosystems to hard sell the novel educational tool in thousands
of schools across India for empowering students and teachers with
computer literacy.

“The Classmate PC, designed and developed in India by engineers at our
Bangalore development centre, will only complement the conventional or
existing format of teaching and learning in classrooms in a digital
form or e-way,” John McClure, the Intel South Asia director
(marketing), told IANS at a industry-media conclave here.

HCL, one of India’s largest PC manufacturers, will be the prime vendor
to distribute and maintain the Classmate PC for enhancing the
education system and infrastructure in government-run as well as
private schools, he said.

The innovative computing device, powered by Intel’s Celeron mobile
processor 900Mhz, comes with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. With a
seven-inch LCD screen, 256-512 mb RAM and a flash memory of one-two
gigabytes capacity, the portable device runs on Linux and Windows XP
operating systems.

Weighing about 1.5 kg and having a three-four hour battery life, the
product is being manufactured in China by Intel’s ODM (original design
manufacturer) Computex, a Taiwanes firm, for the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the $1-billion Intel World Ahead Programme was launched a year
ago, the company has distributed around 32,000 Classmate PCs in the
APAC region, including 10,000 units in select states across India on a
pilot basis.

To be priced at about Rs.18,000, the PC will be customised to meet the
local requirements in terms of rich content and features for quicker
adaptability. Equipped with a water-resistant keyboard and rugged
protective cover to prevent dust, the handheld device will be loaded
with special content for two-way teacher-student and teacher-parent
collaboration.

“In addition, the Classmate PC has an advanced theft-control feature,
based on network-issued digital certification, and is powered to run
mainstream applications, including video and educational software,”
McClure said at a preview of the product.

“The game plan is to encourage innovation and enable schoolgoing
children to communicate worldwide, developing 21st century skills such
as digital literacy, problem-solving, critical thinking and
collaboration, ” he added.

HCL Infosystems vice-president Rajendra Kumar said the Classmate PC
would revolutionise classroom learning by taking teacher-student
interaction to a higher level in schools across the country.

“A large number of public and private schools have already started
setting up computer labs to expose students to the world of
information and communication technologies (ICT) and equip them with
skills that will empower them in e-learning and qualify them for
high-tech jobs,” Kumar pointed out.

HCL will also rope in content developers and education service
providers to offer customised and integrated learning solutions. It
will reach out to schools and educational institutes across the
country through its distribution network.

Indo-Asian News Service

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ELCOT’s success story on OSS migration on www.youtube.com/mdelcot

Posted by egovindia on July 20, 2007

[eGovINDIA] ELCOT’s success story on OSS migration on http://www.youtube.com/mdelcot

 

After a year of experimentation and implementation, ELCOT made a corporate video on how it migrated to linux, notably suse linux which had stolen the hearts of all ELCOT’s officials.
The video can be viewed at www.youtube. com/mdelcot

There is one error in the video about FSF that is being corrected.

IAS officers have been given a two your orientation on suse linux on 5th July 07. Senior officers were very happy that they were exposed to an advanced technology.
 

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.
& Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of TamilNadu Limited(ELCOT)
(A Government of TamilNadu Undertaking)
 

Co-Moderator:
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/eGovINDIA
Mankind deserves open standards and open source software. Only the chosen ones get its taste. Others just hear the taste.

 

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-42054443

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