TUG 2002 to herald free software movt in India

By : |September 2, 2002 0

THIRUVANTHAPURAM: After witnessing launching of the historic Free Software Movement in the country, Kerala would now be hosting the 23rd Annual Conference of the TEX Users Group (TUG) from September 4 — September 8, 2002 at Technopark.

This is the first time that a TUG Annual Meeting is being held outside Europe and North America, according to Satish Babu, Vice President, Inapp Pvt Ltd, Technopark and Chairman of TUG organizing committee. TEX (derived from the Greek letter “tau”, “epsilon” and “chi” and pronounced “tech”) is a free computer program designed by famed computer scientist Donald Ervin Knuth of Stanford University.

“The TUG 2002 conference is expected to give a boost to the use of TEX in the country,” Babu said. Sebastin Rahtz, Information Manager, Oxford University Computing Services will chair the three day conference. The conference will have the presence of 32 foreign delegates from Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Netherlands, UK and USA. About 32 Indian delegates will be participating in the event.

Apart from the more specialized talks devoted to technical aspects of TEX, TUG 2002 will also feature talks on typesetting traditions in India, an overview of TEX usage in India. The Indian perspective of new horizons in free software, fonts and packages to typeset Bengali script using TEX and typesetting in Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian would also be discussed.

TUG 2002 is being principally organized by the Indian TEX Users Group and co-organized by IT Department and Technopark. In India, TEX is now widely used in major institutions such as IIT’s, the Indian Institute of Science, Saha Institute of Theoretical Physics and the Indian Statistical Institute.

Now majority of the typesetting in the $ 40 billion global scientific publishing utilizes TEX. “It is not Knuth’s philosophy to create new versions of TEX from time to time there by making older documents incompatible with the newer formats,” according to Dominik Wujastyk, Welcome Center for the History of Medicine at UCL, University College, London.

Knuth calls new versions or additions to TEX as `creeping featurism’ and strongly disapproves of it, Wujastyk said. “Precisely because newer versions of the software is not developed the archival value of documents created on TEX is amazing. You can open a TEX document created in 1985 without any difficulty while it is not the same with MS Word or any other proprietary software,” he added.

Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), New Delhi is hosting Caturange-2002, its annual conference on Computing and the Liberal Arts at the end of the TEX users conference on September 8. The conference will focus on the philosophy of free software, its relation with Intellectual Property rights and the relevance of the philosophy in various other spheres.

Among the eminent artists expected to participate are, film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, poet Ayyappa Panicker, Kavalam Narayana Panicker, PK Nambiar, Sugatha Kumari and MGAHV Vice Chancellor Ashok Vajpeyi.

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