non pirated software for the computer illiterate, and the illiterate, and the visually challenged too.

Most people i work with are very comfortable with a screen reader called “JAWS”. and MS Office. But there is a hitch. Most of them cannot afford either MS Office or JAWS.

When you train someone to use something they cannot afford, you are, by definition, generating piracy. When you do not train them on any alternatives, you go a step further and NECESSITATE piracy. So, is Microsoft responsible for its own piracy? YES! by trying to infiltrate a market that can obviously not afford the product, by cutting out all alternatives and more importantly, access to education about alternatives, we are creating a generation of computer users who will, out of necessity, also be pirates. Is that what we want our people to be?

It was, therefore, a pleasure and privilege to be a part of Open Source Training for the visually challenged. But you see, this is where it gets interesting.. the other advantage of screen readers is that they take computing to the illiterate.. if the computer can speak, then the need to learn the letters is eliminated.

BUT, back to the training itself. Day 1 started with non believers. Most of them were users who had no exposure to Open Source, and were unsure of its utility for their specific use. Day 2, the class is quieter, a lot more attentive.. the weather Gods are clement, and everyone seems to be having fun. Everyone wants to try out the new stuff.. the class is attended in near pin drop silence, and there is a lot of method and order in the practicals.

Here is to a lot, lot more such trainings – this one is modeled as a train the trainer module, so hopefully we will have a few certified trainers at the end of this program, who will, in turn, take the message to others. Amen 🙂

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