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Initially, Niyam came up with the name 'OpenYug' for the column. Yug is a sanskrit word in vogue even today, which means 'Era' or 'Age'. According to Indian mysticism, Time is divided into four ages: SatYug, Dwaparyug, Tretayug, and finally Kalyug. Sat means Truth. Kali is a terrible goddess in whose age destruction and chaos will rule. A perfect metaphor for the existing age of computing as well. A dinner discussion with Richard Stallman convinced him it should be renamed 'FreedomYug'. The column hopes to foster a gestalt change in Indian computing, and usher in a new age beyond its Kalyug, the age of freedom.
Click here for all FreedomYug

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Happy Diwalinux

December 2004

Glowing Lamps, Goddess Lakshmi, and GnuLinux

As darkness spreads its gentle veil across the Indo-Gangetic plains, the stars descend from the night skies to light homes and celebrate freedom in the Indian sub-continent. One special night, every year, millions celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, the triumph of good over evil, and the homecoming of the goddess of wealth, Goddess Lakshmi.

Everybody loves freedom. Everybody loves celebration. Diwali is a catharsis for these two, in our common tribes. This ancient festival happens once every year. But another festival can happen every day. With even more freedom, with even more celebration: Diwalinux. This festival is also about wealth. By welcoming GnuLinux to your PC, you migrate to software that is free-of-cost, and that saves you tens of thousands, or even lakhs of rupees, per PC. That migration also ensures your freedom from possible penalties and even imprisonment, should you use unauthorised or 'pirated' software instead. By gifting CDs of GnuLinux to your friends and showing them how ordinary and simple migration is, you generate wealth through savings for your friends, and wealth through a value-system for yourself.

Diwalinux is a festival. I celebrate it every day. You can too. The steps are simple. Each day, I find myself talking, sharing, or discussing GnuLinux with someone. Each day, I make at least one copy of a GnuLinux distribution, to give to someone, or even let friends and colleagues borrow my existing GnuLinux cds. Often, I scribble out GnuLinux commands on paper napkins for friends, or email steps to others. Every day, I enrich myself by learning about new concepts, and about new ways of doing things from the gurus of GnuLinux that dot mailing lists, chat rooms, and user group meetings. All my new writings, documentation, designs, and other projects, are contributed to the community through a suitable free license. I am not alone. Each day, new people join the tribe. Why we celebrate Diwalinux is also quite simple: delight.

Light The Lamp

On Diwali, millions of devotees seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. Diwalinux is special: Everyone can learn how to generate wealth, especially non-techies and ordinary common folk. Explore several suggestions and possible opportunities at What intrigues people is how can wealth be generated from GnuLinux, which is both muft and mukt. The billions of dollars earned by IBM, HP, Oracle, Sun, and others further deepen the mystery. The answer is best understood through the metaphor of Diwali. A single lamp of Diwali lights hundreds of other lamps without losing its own flame. GnuLinux is as revolutionary as that flame that lights a thousand flames. In Economics, this is called intangible economics. Keeping GnuLinux free-of-cost, allowing people to make unlimited copies and encouraging them to freely share copies with others, detracts nothing from GnuLinux. It is not a loss-making strategy at all. On the contrary, it allows everyone to save money in software, , like a common heritage. Business opportunities mushroom for installing, customizing, and even developing GnuLinux software further. That is how wealth is generated.

Sourceforge Firecrackers

No Diwali is complete without a dazzling display of fireworks. GnuLinux offers its own impressive arsenal of dazzling software too. You can freely download from more than 90,526 software packages, available at
Imagine the money saved as even specialist software, such as for financial planning, stocks and shares, and other categories, can be found with free-of-cost alternatives. From embedded devices to a cluster of supercomputers, ordinary users can achieve the extraordinary with GnuLinux. Yet the greatest gift of Diwalinux is that it culturally and socially connects people with people. You have only one thing to do. Celebrate Diwalinux every day of your life and show others how to experience your delight. So, here's wishing you and your friends a happy Diwalinux, and a proprietory-free and therefore prosperous new year.

Inspired by the vision of Osho. Niyam Bhushan is a leading technology writer, editor, columnist, with a background in graphic design. He consults and trains in digital imagery. He has been using computers across several platforms since 1982, and loves the freedom and power offered by GnuLinux. Email: freedomyug at linuxforu dot com

© 2004 Niyam Bhushan. First published in LinuxForYou magazine, Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. In Hindi, 'muft' means 'free of cost', and 'mukt' means 'with freedom.'