Software patents put on hold in India

In a welcome move, the Indian patent office has temporarily stopped issuing software patents. "In view of several representations received regarding interpretation and scope of section 3(k) of the Patents Act 1970 (as amended), the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions... are kept in abeyance till discussions with stakeholders are completed and contentious issues are resolved," the Controller General of Patents said in a notification issued last week. Again, this is a temporary measure and given the intensive lobbying that happens behind doors, it could still be revised.

Indian Open Standards policy finalized, with a major victory for the FOSS community

Amazing work by all the people involved! Venkatesh Hariharan reported on the Linux Delhi mailing list today: The open standards policy has been finalized and it incorporates many of the suggestions made by the FOSS community in India. In the previous draft dated 25/11/2009, our major objection was to section 4.1.2 of the policy which said. 4.1.2 The essential patent claims necessary to implement the Identified Standard should preferably be available on a Royalty-Free (no payment and no restrictions) basis for the life time of the standard.

Not tougher but unfairer laws

For some unknown reason, I occasionally waste my time reading comments on news stories at ToI (Times of India). For all those waiting to pounce upon me for reading a virtual tabloid … I know, I know. The only reason I read ToI is because they are probably one of the fastest with breaking news in India. In any case, as I was saying, I was recently going through the comments at ToI after the Delhi blasts.

Fight terror, but don't turn India into a police state

8 blasts in Bangalore today (at least till 6pm, there are rumours of a 9th). As much as I am concerned about terror in this country, I am more concerned about the knee jerk reactions of the insanely incompetent police force and government in this country. And I am as much sickened by the attitude of my fellow citizens in letting the police and government having their way in imposing stupid restrictions in the name of security on all of us.

SC blasts insurance players for refusing to cover the elderly

The state of health care insurance in this country is turning as pathetic as some other countries that we know of. The private health insurance companies being the pests that they are, have already decided that theirs is a no-risks, high gain game. Their business plan is that the people who need the highest medical attention are the ones who should have the biggest problem in getting insurance, if they are given any at all.

Of Lessig, my years of self-delusion and beginning of realization

I just saw the update on Lessig’s blog - he is actually considering running for Congress this year! You can find more at Lessig’s announcement last year of the shift of his efforts over the next decade had significantly changed the way I look at myself. I had been involved in LUGs and FOSS advocacy for almost eight years by then. But I suddenly realized (and perhaps there are quite a few people out there who always felt that way about me) that I am nothing more than an armchair activist.

China - The country with balls

China has now become too big and heavy to be intimidated by any country or bloc of countries. The latest move by China against protectionists point to this. At first Chinese textile exports swamped markets world wide, causing countries like US or EU to protest. In an attempt to compromise, the Chinese government put in place export tariffs on textile products - tariffs to bring down their own exports. US and EU went ahead anyway and imposed further tariffs of their own against Chinese imports, like they do for every other country like India.

eBilling - Hutch doesnt get it yet

It is amazing how some of the so called telecom giants in India still dont get the benefits of Internet. The GSM operators in India still have their nose up in the air. On one hand, Hutch, Airtel, and others charges about 50 bucks every month for a detailed bill. As a matter of fact, that is the only way to find out the breakup of local and non-local charges under the “Call Charges” heading of the normal statement.