I wanted to have .BD [lug(.)org(.)bd] domain for our Linux Users Group. So first off I visited the BTTB website for the domain registration process. And all I could find there was a .BD registration form and an agreement form. The least I expected was an electronic web based form so that I could submit it over the net. Instead I had to download the forms, print it and had to carry them to the BTTB Gulistan office and drop it there. They told me to come back the next day to know if the domain is available!
I went there the next day and had to see them sending my form to check the availability. I was told to wait. I waited. One hour. And next thing they told me was that the guy who was in charge was in a meeting with the Divisional Engineer. So I have to come back the next day.
I obliged them. And after waiting 1 hour, they issued me a demand note and got the instruction to get the demand note stamped with payment from the bank. I paid up the fee and returned with the demand note. Okay!!! Then they told me that I have to leave the copy of my demand note so that they can send it to their Moghbazar Wireless office and guess what a guy would carry it in person! I asked them if I could take it to Moghbazar by myself. They gave me a suspicious look.
What do I do next? “You have to go to the Moghbazar office the next day”, a flat-faced answer came through the grilled window. Helpless, frustrated, somewhat angered I went back home. The next day was Friday.
On Sunday I pay a visit to the Moghbazar BTTB office. Find the section that looks after domains. They gave me another next day and finally I got the assurance over phone that the domain is now ready to be taken. [I made the phone call, anyway!]
I wanted another domain after a few days for my company that is not .BD but only .COM. I went to a local domain registration provider and they also let me fill up a form and made me pay them in cash but I got the domain confirmation on spot and the next moment I knew that an email is sent to my address with all the information.
I asked my brother in a foreign country to register me a domain and he did it in seconds with his credit card.
I suspended judgment. And walked on with my life and in a corner and I found Mr. Bill Gates visiting Bangladesh. Then came Mr. Ted Turner. I got confused. Why these visits, clash of the Titan NGOs?
We need e-governance to make life easier. Less paper work would take less time. Less paper would lessen corruption too. If you go for electronic lottery like in the case of providing Teletalk SIMs, you would at least get a satisfaction that the distribution was fair. But was it? How many people have submitted how many forms? You don’t know that. And I don’t believe you even bother.
If this electronic system gets infested with the corruption virus, you better be worried cause that could have been the only way to separate honest endeavours from the corrupt ones. Machines don’t lie. They put a time stamp on every transaction they make. They keep logs. They give you right reports. They let you know what to decide. And speeds up your whole process of doing things.
Now let me tell you if I got that .BD domain in the end for our group.
It was for a Linux User Group, you already know that. I had to let the privileged members know that the domain is registered. The next day I knew that the domain was taken by one of the members. He didn’t take our consent on this. He just knew that the domain was registered. And grabbed it.
The next day he posts a mail on the mailing list that he has put up a website for the group. I should have cheered that the site is done and up already. But I felt violated. The purpose of making that site was to get the group a new domain cause the previous domain was squatted by another derelict member, and we could do nothing about it. Then what happens to our new domain? Another honourable member just grabs it.
Well, everything was going fine after that, cause no one really bothered except me. Mr. Bill gates comes and the next day we get to know that our honourable member of Linux Users Group has been given the Most Valuable Professional award. A very simple way of Microsoft in action; implanting assets globally. Ironic ha?
I am sure you are aware of the battle between the Proprietary Software and the Open Source Software [OSS]. To keep it simple we can say that Microsoft is a perfect example of Proprietary Software and you need a valid license for it, where you pay for the software. On the flipside Linux can be a perfect example of an OSS, and you also need a license for it, but that license is your license to freedom.
You download Linux from the Internet and use it. No one is going to say nothing to you. You build your whole system based on Linux, change codes to customise it, you localise it, you embed it in your mobile phone, you may propose the total e-governance project based on it, you don’t pay a dime. But the catch is you have to pay for the man-hours required for the people who would work on the project to fit it to your need. Now who wouldn’t pay for that? I would. And I am sure you would too.
Bangladesh just happened to know after the visit of Mr. Bill Gates that it has included Bangla [BN_BD] in their new Vista OS. What a great news! Really. At least we do not have to use the Indian Bangali [BN_IN] from now on. But one mighty development that failed to grab the attention of media, government bodies, and the concerned technology specialists that Bangla Linux has already been there in the market for the last 3 years. It got some press in April 16, 2003. That’s it!!! It is ‘Ankur’. [ankur(.)org(.)bd]
Well, the next day you might wake up to know in big headlines that Bangladesh is taken over not by any country but by some Proprietary Software Vendor. Who makes money by only pressing CDs and sticking Licensing labels. Loads of it.
This time I needed another .BD domain, I sent one of my people to register it. I got it registered in three days. The paper work, demand note, bank payment and the manual process are still on. Everything was expected to be changed cause BTTB has changed to BTCL. Why should expecting change always whams a sock in the face! Yeah! May be the next day.
Ahmed Arif Sirajee is an OSS enthusiast and a news hound.