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The Third Annual Southern California Linux Expo

Sumitra Srinivasan

Sumitra Srinivasan is a Ph. D. student in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University and is currently writing her dissertation on globalization of grassroots technologies in developing countries. Before she came to study at Georgia State, she was a Masters student in Television-Radio-Film at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communication and part of the graduating class of 2001.

Globalization of grassroots technologies in India: A political-economy study of a FLOSS in developing countries

This talk will be based on Srinivasan's dissertation research which studies grassroots technologies on a global scale and in the context of developing countries to understand how the digital divide is being transformed. Political-economy players are acknowledging and adopting the power of such technologies in third and first worlds. Open-source technologies are gaining importance so much that corporate and governmental actors are endorsing them, as evident in a case study of Linux in India. The government of India recently announced an Open-Source Initiative as encouraging the adoption of open-source software in its various applications.

This research specifically focuses on Linux and the political-economy of its globalization in an Indian city. Indian Linux User Groups or ilugs are a communities of Linux users and activists with chapters in cities all over India. Still in a nascent stage of development, ilugs communicate via list-servs and monthly meetings to discuss technical and social issues of using Linux. Significant evidences of Linux adoption over the past three years include the first Indian Linux magazine and Linux-Asia conferences hosted in India.