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No Microsoft mail for PM
By Bala Shah

Like me, do you feel that many of our politicians are greedy, corrupt, self serving, ego driven men and women who will never answer our phone calls and emails?

Like me, do you admire political leaders like Nehru, Shastri, Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and others who exemplify the best of humanity and public service? 

But were you a bit disappointed when your emails to scrupulously honest, respected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were not acknowledged and attended to for many months last year?  Did you feel that the Office of the Prime Minister had allowed the power to go to their heads and was no longer interested in replying to the common man and woman?

You will be relieved to know that the Gandhian PM Manmohan Singh was not ignoring you.  The problem was with a computer virus that had corrupted his email system for 3 months.   Due to this virus attack, the Prime Ministerial office which used Microsoft Outlook Express was unable to receive any email.

Once the problem was detected in April, 2008, the Prime Ministers Office decided to upgrade from Microsoft to Open Source ‘Squirrel Mail’.

PTI is reporting: “The matter came to light during one of the hearings of the Central Information Commission where the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) submitted that ‘there was virus problem during the months of Feb-Mar-Apr that was finally diagnosed only late in April’. The Commission was hearing the plea of one retired Air Commodore Lokesh Batra, who had complained to the PMO, through an e-mail, about various discrepancies in the Hindi version of the RTI Act, circulated by the Department of Personnel and Training. In its submission to the Commission, the PMO said, ‘Many mails reportedly sent were not received in the Outlook Express and subsequently the Outlook Express was discontinued and the Squirrel Mail was used.’”
WTF and WTS (What the Satyam!).  It took the Government techies so much time to realize that the email system of the most powerful man in India was not working properly for 3 months!

If you logon to the Squirrel Mail website, it describes itself as a ‘Webmail for Nuts’ (which in its own apt way describes the Indian political system). Interestingly, it is open source and free for anyone to use.  Does this mean that our Prime Minister has a soft corner for the Open Source movement?

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