by January 12, 1999 0 comments

Are heights of achievement in matters of computing possible
only in the West? Or at best for those who’ve opted to cross the seven seas? Can
world-class products come out of this country? If you think the answer to that is in the
negative, read on, for we have some surprises for you.

If you won’t sell us a Cray, we’ll build our own supercomputer. And did we build
it? The Param is more than just another supercomputer. The Param proved to the world that
we could beat them at their own game, and at a fraction of the cost. Param machines today
run a variety of applications–including weather forecasting, seismic data processing,
structural mechanics, medical imaging, and research. And if things go as planned, the
Param could well drive the national information infrastructure in the country. Obviously,
no history of computing in India can even begin without giving pride of place to the

E-x from TCS was the first Indian software package to be sold as a mass-market product.
And was the first Indian shrink-wrapped product to make a dent in the market. And it was
probably the first Indian software product to be nationally advertised. Years before you
had glitzy do’s showcasing product launches, E-x was launched with a show that made
the headlines.

So, what’s E-x? E-x is an accounting package that in
the days when computing was still to catch on, was positioned as a non-IT product,
particularly for small businesses, and mom and pop shows.

Gist’s claim to fame is that it enabled Indian language computing.
Way back, during the time when DOS was king, and Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase ruled the
application space, the Gist card could give you application menus in Indian languages. You
could also enter your data in these languages. Gist technology also found application in
television, when it enabled different regions in the country to receive subtitles
simultaneously in different languages. With the advent of Windows, the Gist card more or
less lost its relevance with PCs, and C-DAC struck back with its Leap range of products
for that platform.

This is perhaps the most popular Indian software package of all times.
Spot Quiz: Who makes Tally? Caught you there? The name Tally is today a lot more familiar
than the name of its developer. Tally is also about the only Indian package to offer the
same functionality on more than one operating system. Tally from Peutronics, Bangalore is
currently in version 5.4 and is available for Win 95/NT, Win 3.x, OS/2, and the Power Mac.

Who’re the big names in ERP software? SAP, Peoplesoft, Baan… Marshall. Marshall
who? Starting out as a maintenance management software for its own cement plants, Ramco
has built Marshall into a world-class ERP package, capable of competing with the best.

NC’s operating system
Many are the internationally branded products that are actually developed
in India. The operating system for Oracle’s network computers is one such. It was
developed by Oracle India Development Center at Bangalore. Simplicity of installation and
operation were its major USPs. However, the concept of network computers failed to pull in
the crowds, and the NC operating system missed its slot in history.
At the time of going to press, we learnt that Oracle is going to make a renewed attempt at
getting NC into the mainstream. Perhaps, the NC operating system will get one more try at
making history.

Genius and Busybee
Long before the multinationals came in, there were two Indian brands that became
synonymous with PCs–The Genius from Wipro and the Busybee from HCL. HCL later tied up
with HP, and Wipro with Acer. Subsequently, both tie-ups came to an end, and the brands
Super Genius and Busybee continue as perhaps the longest-surviving PC brands in the


This Web-search application was developed by Satyam Computers in 1997. It was the first
Internet search tool that could look through the databases of more than one search engine
(11 at that time) and carry out searches for keywords or e-mail. With
SearchPad, it’s
also possible to personalize your searches, and distribute search results amongst more
than one user. SearchPad is a priced product, and so, though it’s still alive, it
could never really compete with the free offerings from others.

Clock IT! 2000
Clock IT! 2000 from TCC Datatech, Mumbai, is a novel way to test the BIOS and RTC of your
PC for Y2k compliance. It’s the only software fix for the Real Time Clock for the
millennium rollover in case the BIOS is non-flashable.

Makess on the Web
Sun is making waves with its plans to put up a portal on the Web, where you can share and
rent applications. The StarPortal–based on StarOffice that Sun recently
acquired–is to go online soon. But a relatively small Indian company has already been
there and done that. Eastern Software Systems–makers of the Makess ERP
package–has made the package available on the Web at

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