Those of you who read my blog know by now that I love India and go there whenever I can. The FOSS scene in India is fascinating...more than in any market, India is the front lines of battle between software self-determinism and software vendor lock-in. Microsoft spends a huge amount of money there which is no surprise since it is one of the two largest potential software markets left in the world. India has the second largest professional class in the world (second only to that of the aggregate European Union), and turns out a reported 300,000 new developers every year. Most of those developers get a huge dose of proprietary thought and dogma in school, furnished by any one of several proprietary companies who fund equipment and internships (Microsoft isn't the only one). As a result they come out of school spouting misconceptions such as "Why should I give away for Free what I can charge for?" and the ever-popular "Won't Open Source undermine the whole technology industry"?
I and others have for years been supporting the many FOSS conferences in India to try to broaden the range of options Indian developers consider when charting their technology careers, with some successes. The annual FOSS.in conference is the largest and oldest of the grassroots (developer focused) conferences held in India. They've just published their schedule for 2006, and it looks fantastic. If you are in India or even just near enough to get to Bangalore next week, you should go!