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<nettime> Introducing the Toaster
Andrew Ross on Fri, 5 Sep 2008 14:49:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Introducing the Toaster

[ from The Hindu 
Date:03/09/2008  URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/09/03/stories/2008090356150300.htm ]

Kerala  - Thiruvananthapuram

Software vending machine at Technopark

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: And you thought only colas and crispies can be had from a vending machine? How about one that has on its ‘menu’ such things as ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Fedora’? Well, that is just the kind of gizmo that you may spot if you drop by the Park Centre at Technopark these days.

Named Freedom Toaster, this machine promises to set you ‘free’ from proprietary software and paraphernalia such as licences. All you have to do at the Toaster is to insert a CD in a slot and press the right buttons. The Toaster will then ‘burn’ your choice on to the CD free.

The Toaster, a dispenser of free software, is the brainchild of the Linux Users Group in Thiruvananthapuram and a private firm, Zyxware Technologies.

Anoop John, chief executive officer of the company, says the idea is to spread the concept of free software among the techies of Tehnopark.

“We want people to understand that there is an alternative to licences and proprietary software. We want people to have the freedom to share, to copy and to modify. We are now talking to companies in the Technopark to sponsor the Toaster at various locations inside the park,” Mr. John says.

He points out that normally, free software is spread through broadband Internet. In a country such as India, the scope of this is still limited. This is where a software dispenser such as the Toaster assumes importance. So, the freedom associated with free software works in two ways — one, the freedom to study, copy, share, modify and so on and two, the freedom from a price tag as many popular free software come free of cost.

Mr. John says Zyxware will soon publish the details of the design and software that powers the Toaster so that anyone interested in building one will be free to do so.

One advantage of the Toaster is that it can be dismantled and transported with ease anywhere. The Toaster will be lent to Linux users groups across the country, if needed.

The Toaster was unveiled at the inaugural ceremony of a five-day Linux Install Fest inaugurated at the Technopark on Monday.

© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu

Andrew Ross
Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
Professor of American Studies
New York University

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