EKAVI and Kannada Software Development

ella kannadaabhimanigala antarrashtriya vedike in

S.K. Anand of Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd. Write in detail about KGP and BARAHA

Posted by egovindia on August 7, 2006

Forwarded Message:
Subj: Re: Request to S.K. Anand of Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd. Write in detail about KGP
Date: 6/22/2004 3:26:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: anand@cyberscapeindia.com
To: NovaMed@aol.com
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Dear Mr. Kumaraswamy,

As requested by you I would like to share my (bitter) experience with KGP as one of the founder member, who was later on kicked out of the organization for daring to question and expose the nefarious activities of Shri Srinath Sastry and Shri G.N. Narsimurthy, who while pretending to be doing something very noble for the cause of Kannada, were all the while plotting and politicking in the background and who mislead a lot of honourable executive members as well as the general public and Govt. bureaucrats and who in my opinion are singularly responsible for hijacking and misleading what was meant to be a good effort to make Kannada permeate all aspects of computing and therby flourish in this new medium.

First, though I find this very embarrasing since you have asked for I need to give a little background of mine for those like you who are not aware:

a. Way back in 1983, with a group of like minded professionals, I started a company called VSS Computer Engg. Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai. As an Electronics & Communications engineer, with a burning zeal to develop technology indigenously, I designed one of the the few Z-80 based, micro-computer called “Asterix” and among other uses we developed it as an offline composing terminal to feed text ( including all Indian languages) for photo-composing machines. In those days before DTP, the publishing industry used photo-composing machines for producing bromide output and make master plates for printing. So my brush with languages including, Kannada and the technicalities like fonts, coding and composing dates from those days. I think the only other group with this kind of knowledge and experience is the Pune based Modular Systems Pvt. Ltd, who are our worthy competitors.

b. In Printek-1988 in New Delhi, we were the first to demonstrate the use of an IBM PC clone, running DOS and Ventura (GEM) version to do composing in Hindi and then subsequently in all languages like Kannada. It was called the “Asterix Publishing System”. This was the first step of establishing the DTP industry in the country and it was a real low cost alternative to the one based on Apple Macintosh and Apple Laserwriter Postscript printer. For the first time an inexpensive PC based, GUI based and a non Postscript (HP laserjet) based DTP solution for Indian languages with much superior quality than the expensive Apple Mac based system was demonstrated by us. It is with great satisfaction that today I see that this kind of system is virtually the defacto standard in the industry.

c. Along with Mr. Mohan Tambe, then at IIT Kanpur, I helped evolve the first ever GIST card, which was then taken up for further development at CDAC, Pune and we at VSS were the first to build an ISCII, GIST card ( Asterix Language Card) based DTP system with GUI support on Windows 3.0, with ATM fonts and Truetype fonts in Windows 3.11, working on Ventura 2.0 and Page Maker 2.0 (Windows version).

d. In 1990, along with a colleague Mr. M.S. Sridhar, I founded ACES Technologies and ACES Consultants and “Akruti” was born. Akruti had the concept of a DOS based ISCII editor which could edit all Indian scripts including Kannada which could be imported by PageMaker or Ventura and was the first to allow direct editing of Hindi, Kannada and other Indian scripts in the Windows GUI environment. Some of our newspaper and magazine customers use this solution even today. In fact Pavanaja was one of our earliest Kannada DTP software customers in Mumbai. I also was a technical adviser to CDAC for setting up the Fonts Development Cell, when Mr. Vijay Bhatkar was the Executive Director and Mohan Tambe was in charge of the GIST technology group.

e. In 1992, I shifted to Bangalore from Mumbai and sort of returned to my roots to further the development of “Akruti” in Kannada and all south indian languages. Slowly it dawned on us that, publishing was just one of the application areas for language software and we started exploring other areas like office productivity applications like Word, Excel, Power Point, Lotus Smart Suite etc. all on the Windows platform.

f. In 1996, we were the first in the country to recognise and launch (along with Mr. Ninad Pradhan of Mumbai) the first ever Indian language website called http://www.indianlanguages.com . This was the primary starting point for Indian language Web publications like “Mai Boli” in Marathi, “Daily Milap” in Hindi and “Vishwa Kannada” in Kannada, edited by Pavanaja.

g. 1996 also saw the founding of Cyberscape Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. which took over ACES Technologies and ACES Consultants and the “Akruti” line of products. We also developed some pioneering applications, like the “Grievance Monitoring System” for the Chief Minister’s Secretariat and KSRTC in Kannada. A payroll system in Kannada with Mr. Sathyanarayana of Kidwai and a Library management System in Kannada with Mr. Annamalai of NAL. It was around this time when Srinath Sastry of NAL and Narsimurthy of SBI who had no clue as to the technicalities of Kannada software started approaching me to illuminate them about these technical issues. In fact there were times when they would pick my brain for hours to-gether on Sundays and late nights to understand the nitty gritty of these issues. Of course, today they are self proclaimed experts in Kannada Computing and people like me Mr. Anbarasan of Applesoft and Mr. Muthu Krishnan of SRG with over two decades of experience in this area have to be certified by these amateurs whether our software meets standards or not.

h. Mr. Mohan Tambe subsequently started a company called Innomedia in Bangalore in which Cyberscape was an angel investor and the idea was to develop a convergent media solution called the “Chois Pad” a set-top box, which would provide infotainment services thru cable. Our contribution was to help in enabling the solution to work in all Indian languages. It was in connection with this that I facilitated Pavanaja’s shift from Mumbai where he was languishing in BARC to the more fertile and intellectually active private info-tech industry in Bangalore and helped him take up a job with Innomedia. Subsequently, due to some differences with Mr. Tambe and his style of working, Pavanaja quit and waded thru various jobs to finally start Vishwa Kannada Softech. Cyberscape too disassociated with Innomedia, but for the record today, Innomedia with Reliance having aquired 55% stake in it is one of the leading New Media solutions company and is one of the key strategic IP that Reliance is going to use to grab a major chunk of the yet to develop but potentially huge convergent telecom/infotainment/home computing market.

i. Today, Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd. of which, I am the Managing Director, is a publicly listed company since 2000, and has more than 18,000 Akruti installations all across the country. Kannada being my mother tongue does interest me academically still, but the kind of sordid politics I experienced in KGP makes me feel I would be better off keeping away from such petty politics and concentrate on the future technologies and products. We are currently pioneering in the following areas:
e-Governance: We have a product called e-Karyalaya which handles all basic office admin functions in Kannada or any Indian language.
e-Banking: We have cyBANK and cyCRED which cater to total branch automation in local languages for co-op banks and micro-credit institutions.
DM & KM: With our cyDOCS and cyKNIT products, we cater to Document management and Knowledge Management in any Indian or Global script.
Akruti WDK / SDK : We enable any software or web application developer to enable his solution in any local language including Kannada using our Software Development Kit or Web Development Kit.
We are actively looking at language enabling of embedded devices using Linux and Windows CE/XP embedded OS.
While I will have a lot to say of my experience with KGP in succeeding mails, I will currently focus on some specific questions you have raised:
Do you have any correspondences with KGP and it’s Executives? Please send these in a separate email to me. All of it. Exactly like you have sent to them or to any KGP persons that were involved at the time you were in KGP.
Yes, I do have some mails with KGP and its execs. I will be attaching them seperately.
Who developed KALITHA? Was it developed from Scaratch? Who paid for it tobe developed?
Do you know how did KGP developed the NUDI software? IS THIS done from Scaratch? Are there anything COPIED or PIRATED or REVERSE ENGINERED from some one else’s Software that was submitted to KGP? Do you know anything about this? Who did the majority of NUDI software development? How long it took to complete that ?
Kalitha was developed in a hush-hush manner, behind our back by reverse engineering the software obtained for certifying that they comply with GOK Keyboard and font standards by some part time developers in active connivance with Srinath Sastry and Narsimurthy. I think the developer named Harsha was introduced by Pavanaja to them and probably he knows more about it. I know for sure that our Akruti font “Padmini” was definitely used without our permission as the initial font for Kalitha. later when I objected to this in a KGP meeting. I was asked to prove this or take it to a court of law by them knowing very well how difficult it is for courts in India with their scant knowledge of software and IP rights and their very long decision making time frames to give any kind of speedy justice. Mr. Srinath Sastry and Narsimurthy had been for quite some time using Akruti provided by us for their correspondence and other Kannada related activity and they had also sent me drafts of the font code for approval. This I see nothing but a stab in the back to someone who gave them all the technical guidance when they were absolute ingnoramuses.

Do you know of any relationship between KGP and DIT ? Do you know any relatives of KGP worked in DIT ?
I think, the nexus and plot to retrospectively finance this NUDI developement, probably with the connivance of some elements in DIT was hatched, by the abovementioned active members of KGP without taking any of us other so called committee members into confidence. Srinath Sastry’s son was spotted on many occasions with DIT members doing some software work, and Srinath Sastry’s daughter used to hang around quite a bit in KGP office, I do not know if this work was voluntary or there was some consideration.

You told me that you have read all the emails of Mr. N. Anbarsan and Mr. Muthukrishanan. Can you write answers in detail to those emails whether they are telling the TRUTH or NOT. Please be precise in writing the facts. It helps to solve the problems of KANNADA.
I think most of the points raised by these two gentlemen seems to reflect facts. Maybe I will take it up point wise in succeeding mails. More importantly, the fact that they are not true blue Kannadigas being of Tamil origin, is being used to kind of discredit their assertions. As far as I am concerned, these two have done a lot for development of Kannada software and though they are competitors in the commercial space, I see them as equal partners in the endeavour to develop Kannada.
Do you know how much of work is completed by KGP for GoK?
I think from the long list of Kannada software development projects for which funds over Rs. 30 Lakhs were obtained from DIT, expect Nudi ( which is of doubtful origin) and the kind of software which at least 10 commercial vendors and free software developers have been giving solutions for decades, no other significant Kannada software, other than a few utilities and a so called e-book which is a replica of the work done by RCILTS has seen the light of the day. It should have been very clear to DIT that a rag-tag bunch of amateurs and part time programmers cannot deliver products, which normally is difficult for even professional companies with significant budgets to deliver. I think the whole issue of Kannada software development has been treated shabbily and very casually by DIT. Hopefully, more sense will prevail in the future.
Did you quit KGP b yourself ? Why you are not working with KGP anymore?
As mentioned by Mr. Satyanarayana earlier, using a facade of fake democracy, I along with Satyanarayana and Pavanaja, who were viewed as inconvenient were first removed from the committee memberships by some members who had never showed their face even once in KGP meetings. Subsequently, on technical grounds that we had not renewed our membership, we were kicked out of the KGP. Under these circumstances, is it even wise to associate with such people, leave alone working with them?
Did you advise KGP not to do somethings in KGP? Did they listen to you? Have you kept tarck of these things? Please include these in your email.
I have already mentioned, how we tried to object to some wrong paths KGP was taking and how we got sidelined. Yes, I do have some mails and I will send them as stated earlier for public scrutiny.

Thats all for now. More later.

Anand S.K.
Managing Director
Cyberscape Multimedia Ltd.
941, 21st main, 22nd “A” Cross,
Banashankari 2nd Stage,

Bangalore – 560070.
Ph: 91-80-26714446 Ext. 29
Fx: 91-80-26710925 Ext. 31

Mobile (GSM): +91-9844079270
Mobile (CDMA):+91-80-31845270

email: anand@cyberscapeindia.com


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