Clarification from Minister for Information Technology

Published - September 04, 2011 08:44 am IST - CHENNAI:

In response to the story ‘Free Laptops not to have Open Source Software – ELCOT modifies specifications to cut costs' published in Page 2 on September 3, 2011, Tamil Nadu Minister for Information Technology R.B. Udhayakumar says:

“I would like to bring to your kind notice that distribution of free laptops to the students is a scheme of mammoth proportions that aims to uplift the educational standards of all students. It aims to bridge the urban-rural digital divide. It is probably the first time in the world that any government has ventured to provide laptops to students who otherwise may not even be in a position to dream of possessing one. This will enable the creation of a strong human resource base and will improve the employability of the youth of the State.

“The laptops would be provided with Intel Pentium Dual Core or equivalent AMD Processor, 2 GB memory, 14 inch display, 160 GB Hard Disk Drive, three USB drives and standard rechargeable 6-cell Li-Ion 45 KWhr battery and Windows Operating System. These specifications are assessed to be the best for the students.

“ELCOT wishes to clarify that Linux Operating System will be made available to the vendors for preloading in laptops. The hard disk drive of 160 GB can be used for loading multiple operating systems. A Linux Operating System under the name ‘Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS),' which has been developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Chennai, a Government of India organisation, will be preloaded in the laptops. This will ensure that Linux Operating System with its drivers will be made available to the students uniformly. The cost for providing the Linux OS along with the drivers would be borne by ELCOT. Thus, the freedom of the students to choose the operating system of their choice is encouraged.

“The online educational content made available by the Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation will also be preloaded in the laptops. In addition to this, Tamil Unicode fonts with keyboard interface will be preloaded. In order to ensure that the laptops are only used for educational purposes, data cards are not being provided. The technical specifications have been arrived at keeping in view the requirements and best interests of the students.

“A considerable amount of thought and concern has been exercised in ensuring that laptops with hardware and software of standard specifications are made available to students. Your report appears to give an impression that specifications have been diluted, which is totally false and such impressions cause undue anxiety and anguish among the student community and public.

“It is hoped that in future more caution may be exercised while reporting such important schemes undertaken by the Government for the benefit and welfare of the people.”

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