Microsoft has roped in Mammootty to launch their e-literacy ('illiteracy') program in Kerala as reported by IANS on AOL. This has serious repercussions even though the perception from a non techie view point might differ and dismiss it as a minor issue in the face of inflation and other issues faced by the people of Kerala. This is just like Coke's bid for Mammootty's endorsement. He refused it then , as several environmental groups were calling for the soft drink's boycott. It was a great gesture since he is thought of as an intelligent man with social responsibility.
He has been appointed as the brand ambassador for Akshaya . As per the state IT policy Akshaya's aim is ‘making technology and e-government services accessible to common man’ . By all logical conclusions , FOSS is the only way to implement this without the government being held at the mercy of a private organization like Microsoft. The economic benefits and the quality of FOSS itself makes it the number one choice. FOSS is free for everyone to use, anyone can modify it and anyone can distribute it. FOSS is community owned. The Govt of Kerala has acted sensibly by recommending FOSS for satisfying our IT needs .
At this stage Mammootty's endorsement of Microsoft and its products is not only against the logic , it is against the IT policy that envisioned a program like Akshaya. I would like to believe that he was misinformed or ill informed , and that this is a typical Microsoft style manipulation of the IT scene in Kerala. They have already been kicked out from schools, colleges and government institutions. This is just a dirty trick to make a come back through the back door.
I don't have anything against private companies using Microsoft technologies for their businesses. Its totally acceptable - they have the freedom to choose their road . But when it comes to software for everyone , for the society and for governance , non-free closed source software made by one company alone , who is not trusted in its originating nation and in other developed nations will be a bad , idiotic choice.
I hope that Mammootty reads the open letter posted by FOSS communities in India and starts thinking about his involvement with Microsoft. I believe that an artist has a certain responsibility to his audience that transcends his dedication to his work alone. If he is a thinking man ,I am sure that he will come to a logical conclusion and drop his e-literacy(illiteracy) program with Microsoft .
Friends , do endorse your support by adding your name to the end of the Open Letter .
Following are the steps to do it:
click or copy paste the following link to your web browser's Address bar
Add the following line there , replacing yourURL.com with your website/blog URL and yourName with your real Name.
# [yourURL.com YourName]
It would be nice to have them names in alphabetical order.
if you dont have a blog/site , you can put in http://www.ilug-tvm.org as your URL.