[ILUG-BOM] [OT] GSM Security

jtd jtd at mtnl.net.in
Wed Feb 2 11:23:37 IST 2011

On Wednesday 02 February 2011 00:20:35 Akshay Mishra wrote:

> On 1 February 2011 23:13, Rony <gnulinuxist at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Thanks for the information JTD and others. What surprised me a
> > little was the technology 'apartheid' towards non-US/EU nations.
> > The Western company bosses and their Govts. decide what security
> > level we must have in our own country to suit their requirements,
> > as if they are giving equipment free or at a discount. We (Indian
> > companies) pay through our noses in foreign currency for latest
> > equipment, pay for the foreign engineers' luxurious stay in India
> > and at the end of it all we are getting technology like
> > donations.
> Perfect analysis. This is what is bothering all people (who worry
> about Indian standing in technology). We (or rather our
> Government), even now, are thinking of making a 4 bit
> micro-controller. 

We had a fab known as SCL (Chandigarh) that made 6502 when that device 
had already been "obsoleted". Ofcourse these devices dont really 
become obsolete, but alongwith the 6502 one needs several other 
flavours of ayleast the same family, besides additional devices like 
ram, rom, plds etc.

> There is no Indian company that has an ARM or 
> MIPS license and have even the vanilla processor -- despite the
> ability of many. 

There are perfectly useable freecores -Mico32 is one such.

> This is not jingoism and I am happy using a 
> processor made elsewhere, but unfortunately this makes us beggars
> of technology even in other areas used in large projects. Be this
> the industrial controls for Reliance or Tata Motors or the network
> infrastructure for GSM or 3G. It has to start somewhere and the
> race will only get tougher (money involved and sustainability).

The irony is that many of the devices are developed in India for AMD, 
TI, AD etc. But these are standing on the shoulders of these 
companies' previous systems (more on this later).

The problem is far more complex than technical though. Without opening 
up all markets - financial,Technical, agriculture, insurance, 
education, etc nothing will change.  Indian companies can make hughe 
profits with no risk, milking the markets protected by the 
government. Why will they invest in high risk technical ventures.

Ofcourse the government can act as incubators. But our government is a 
poor imitation of the raj, inheriting all it's worst charecteristics.
The nuclear and space tech depts, where we are within striking 
distance of achieving self sufficiency, can be sponsors of open 

I had pinned much hope on the NRC foss labs experiment, hoping to use 
it for open hardware hacking innovations. 
Dr. Nagarjuna and myself have been thinking on a such a setup, filled 
with low cost open hardware - fpgas, digital scopes, logic analyser, 
jtag stuff, makerbots. Everything streamed online 24/7. Come to the 
lab and join in creating knowledge. You live in dehradun - logon on 
to gnoweldge.org and participate.
All the initial tools and designs are available as FOSS tools. Infact 
they are superior to commercial tools ten times more expensive.

Once we get something off the ground (the recent Marvel and notepad 
hacks were very promising), we could approach all sorts of component 
manufacturers for providing us devices and samples.

It would enable teachers to pickup some real understanding and skills 
and join the dots between theory, practice and products.

My nephew could not understand a microprocessor, merely as an abstract 
set of instructions and some real rubbish in the text book. (actually 
the link between gates, flipflops and instruction sets). Ofcourse 
showing him the ttl alu project on the web with a 8085 simulator 
cured him in 2 hours. The ttl alu project should be a compulsory part 
of ALL courses connected with electronics, software or 
microprocessors. without a understanding of the fundamental 
principles, how the hell will they understand anything at all.

I was shocked to know that the Menta kit is still in vogue and is not 
complimented by simulators, debuggers and disassemblers. 
At Xaviers I saw some oscilloscopes (i think they were philips) in 
use. Even if these were low cost, one could build far superior stuff 
at half the price, not to mention the learning and easy maintanece 
that would automatically accompany these.

Apparently time stood still since 1977.

TI, AD, Intel etc built themselves by adding money to academic 
research. Innovations happened in the university and government labs 
(a little was in the defence related labs), both of which were easily 

Our research institutions seem to be cloistered and more intent 
on "commercialisation" than innovation and knowledge creation. In 
which case they shoukd be asked to pay commercial rates for all the 
infrstructure and earn their daily wages and perks just like the rest 
of us.


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