Foss philosophy and its application in mainstream media
This post tries to use and put some basic points of FOSS philosophy and the potential use of the same esp. for mainstream media specifically to India.
This post is somewhat in continuation on my previous post on ‘Hosting‘ . First of all, I couldn’t believe that since the time I started the blog, it took me so much time to write about/scratch the surface of the state of hosting services in India.
Anyways, there are few points which I feel do get glossed over in the definition and the philosophy of FOSS. FOSS as it has been used in production of software has been relegated to the notion that FOSS is to be applied only in production of Free Software which is a very narrow definition if you ask me as it has some characteristics like
which do form parts of Communist, anarchist and democratic philosophies .
Sadly the techy mainstream media, press et al has willfully or ungainly chosen to bypass this subversive subculture which has been taking place for quite some time. I will attempt to demonstrate the narrowness of the programming culture which forms part of the tech culture existing in India.
I do confess that I am part FOSS user and part nationalist in nature. Is that a good thing or not I leave you, my reader to decide.
For the purpose I outlined above, I have made a list of 7 programmes
a. Mobiles and More
b. Gadgets and More
Both produced by Zee Group
c. Cell Guru
d. Gadget Guru
Both produced by NDTV Group
e. Tech Guru – shown on CNBC channels
f. Techtree – shown on Bloomberg
g. Technoholik – shown on ET Now
While the first two have a very narrow presentation skills and is very basic the others do take an effort to have good production quality.
Of the rest, Technoholik and Gadget Guru show some promise/hope but they also haven’t gone beyond products to explore either FOSS or the IT industry in any great detail. Most of these programmes have been running for atleast 2 years while GG has run for 5 years.
Lemme start using one of the basic parts of the show where they concentrate on gaming.
Both the shows most of the times concentrate on console games with PC gaming as a distant cousin. Even in console gaming they haven’t attempted to date to talk with the Nintendo guys to know why isn’t Nintendo Wii available officially in India and any plans in near future to do so?
Forget that, let’s look at how the content on gaming is programmed? 85~95% of the time they talk of either FPS (Front person shooters) or TPS (Third person shooters) or horror genres . They haven’t even introduced or shared about genres like RPG’s (Role Playing Games) , Adventure, Retro gaming, RTS (Real Time Strategy), Social gaming,Simulation and casual gaming . All of these genres are and have been on the rise for last few years but there is no attempt to introduce these genres to the masses. If we are to have a broad-based gaming culture we need to introduce and embrace these various genres as well.
There has been also a lack of contributory or competitions on modding games (as in changing or modifying maps or adding more elements to make interesting gameplay) . They could also have competitions on graphics and other such creative pursuits. This could give rise also to a more sustainable gaming as well as digital culture.
One of the other things these programs could have done is show off alternative FOSS software like synfig, blender and promote their usage. They have also failed to show the debate around copyright which has been happening in India for sometime now. How such discussions not be part of any tech show worth its salt is beyond me.
The other arena where these tech shows have been extremely poor is in presenting or adding to where our IT hardware design and manufacturing is and what new things are happening there. IT is not just about doing contractual software development work (Infosys, TCS etc.) or the BPO industry but much much more beyond that.
While few years ago, one of the shows showed a chip fab but they never went to what is needed to have a similar fab in India. Nothing about what sort of SMT infrastructure is in India. There hasn’t been any attempt to report the rise of indian hardware design such as the Intel Xeon processors and its brethen and where could things go from there? There was also talks of a Fab city , an agreement between the govt. of Andhra Pradesh and Semindia which was supposed to have an ATMP (assembly-test-mark-pack) facility for AMD. For some reason or the other it didn’t happen. Neither that a proposed ATMP is there in Hyderbad or it being dead made any news or any analysis in our esteemed tech shows.
There has also been quite a few DSP (Digital Signal Processors) designing companies in India as well. DSP’s are what are responsible for encoding and decoding the various formats we see in our various kinds of media players and recorders. Never anything about that.
There has also been less than enthusiastic reportage on the solar manufacturing facilities coming up in India. This is when NDTV does a greenathon every year. For instance, indosolar made a second production line again this was not reported by mainstream tech channels as such.
I could go on and on, the idea being there are no efforts made to either understand or make people aware of the potential of the Indian hardware industry.
Lemme now turn my attention to the kind of questions which are entertained in the programs. Most of the times the questions are something very basic like of two phones A & B which should I buy or X is my budget, please tell me 2-3 phones which have some Y features which will be within my budget.
There are no questions tackled such as :-
” I have a Nokia phone. I am thinking of buying a Samsung phone. How do I transfer all of my contacts and messages from one phone to the other. All the contacts are not on the SIM, some are in the phone itself. ” ?
” What is the lifespan of a Sim card? Is there a way to ascertain the life of a Sim card? What can be done if a Sim card goes bust ? ”
” Is there any progress on Li-Ion batteries in the past couple of years?”
“Are there any cloud services (free) where one can sync one’s contacts and messages and the implications for the same”
Basic practical questions which should make the consumers more aware.
Conclusion :- Media has a bigger/higher responsibility than just airing new products. The need of the hour is not to just show the products and give a rating but also go a bit beyond that so people who are learning or who are thinking of careers can make choices. Also it would help India make the most of the opportunities that lie now and in the future.