Open Source….

The last few days have been different….quite different.

there’s been a lot of talk of open source at work…some people just like to say “Open Source” when they mean “free”….free as in “at no cost”. Open source has also somehow come to mean all things non-Microsoft (if there was ever such a phrase). So, if you cannot implement a solution using open source, you go for something that is built by Sun, IBM etc.

I am not knowledgeable enough to take a call on the pros and cons of using open source vis-a-vis say, Microsoft products..But the thing of the matter is, obsession with any particular product, or line of products, can only lead to a narrowing of the mindset and can further limit our options. The bottom-line should always be to provide solutions to business that are reliable, efficient, supportable and most important of all, meet the needs of the business (in terms of cost and development time)….not to emphasize this more, but solutions that IT provides should always fit into the larger vision that businesses have…IT cannot, and will never, run its own trail — no offence meant to all those brilliant programmers out there.

Back to Indian politics, the Parrikar govt of Goa was dismissed by the governor a day after it had won a controversial vote of confidence in the house. Just to spice things up a little, he also invited the Congress-led coalition to form a govt (I have also been told that there is no deadline set for the new govt to prove its majority in the house). All this evidence, no doubt leads us to believe that there is some conspiracy afoot. But whatever the actual story, it is definitely clear that democracy has just lost another battle (the Nepal royal coup would have been a better example, but I have no stomach for that right now). Indian democracy for a big part is just a huge farce…it is insensible to make a blanket statement like that, but I am kind of fed up with all this. If the people have been given the right to make a choice, no moron has the right to interfere with it. The simple fact is, when you fight elections on different manifestos and by throwing choice swear words at each other (like the Congress-Communist-Laloo nexus does every day), you have no right to form a coalition right after the election results are out. If you think the people are too divided to make a concrete decision, do away with elections. But please dont waste our tax money on some farce every 5 years or so…every 5 years, thousands of crores of rupees are spent to listen to the voice of the people of India, just so it can be totally dis-regarded the very next day on.

We have to rise against this folly…now or never!

The New York sequel

An eventful couple of days so far.. commuting to New York has its own charm. The best part of my day is the 10 min ferry rid over the East River overlooking Manhattan on the one side and Brooklyn on the other….its especially breathtaking on the way home when the whole city is lit up. A close second to this experience is just walking to my office from Wall Street to Battery Park. Its like being a part of a procession of people from all over the world — Americans, Chinese, Japanese and of course, Indians….

Headlines on CNN : “Bush delcares elections in Iraq a success”. Now I have the utmost respect for the American way of living and hold a very healthy appreciation of almost all things American….but this “world police” thing is not sending out the right signals to lesser countries.

Two things — First of all, who the hell is Bush to declare the elections a success? Just because the Americans managed to plant a puppet govt in Iraq doesnt mean the Iraqis are happy….

Second of all, what is with thrusting democracy on all the world? How do we know it is the best form of governance? How do we know it is best for a country like Iraq. This policy of spreading democracy has great similarities to the crusades undertaken by King Richard and his kin to “recover” Holy lands from the muslims and more generally the wars undertaken by 13th Century Christians to spread their faith by forcefully converting people. Its like taking your beliefs and forcing them on others without regards to what’s best for others.

I have always believed that democracy is not above doubt as the best form of governance….there are flaws and it is not necessarily the best for all countries….some populations are not ready for it or plain cannot afford democracy….more on this reasoning in a different post…but the bottom line is that people do not always know what is best for them — food for thought, aint it?

Enough said….enough said.

Adieu for now…