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Presentation: Media Self-reliance and FOSS

Story of Migration of Janayugom Newspaper to FOSS.

Janayugom linux layout

In Kerala We migrated Janayugom, a daily news paper in Kerala, to Kubuntu based pre-press workflow. We used KDE Plasma 5.16 as their base Desktop Environment for the production. Nearly 100 employees in Janayugom is using Kubuntu for their daily workflow. Scribus is used as the layout software for Newspaper. We would like to share the story of migration.

Janayugom is a Malayalam (a South-Indian language spoken in Kerala) daily newspaper with nearly 100,000 subscribers and 14 bureaus in Kerala. Previously Janayugom used outdated software stack for their pre-press production in ASCII format. When Janayugom decided to move to better software with much more essential features including Unicode support, the most recommended suggestion from the software industry was to use Adobe InDesign. But they thought about an economically viable solution. This marked the beginning of a historical footstep both in the field of Newspaper Publishing as well as the Free Software world.

We a team of 6 people from Alpha Fork technologies undertook the migration of the pre-press work of Janayugom Daily from a complete Microsoft Windows environment to GNU/Linux based system.

For a smooth migration, we created a customized GNU/Linux distro called Janayugom GNU/Linux based upon Kubuntu. KDE Plasma 5.16 is used as the base Desktop Environment for the workflow.
GIMP, Inkscape, ImageMagick are used for processing of Images and Text. Scribus is the text layout software for making pages of the Newspaper.

We created a Qt-based Text editor called Janayugom Edit to convert Malayalam ASCII Characters to Unicode. Also, we added the functionality of converting Pagemaker files into Unicode in this software.

Under the leadership of Rajaji Mathew Thomas (Former MLA, Janayugom Editor) and the management of Janayugom, all staffs got prepared to adapt themselves with the migration of entire software stack they were using for a long time. It has its difficulties to prepare the entire staff for a whole technology stack migration since they have to learn many new things and eventually have to forget what they got used to doing for the past two decades.

Janayugom consists of more than 100 employees and nearly the same number of computers spread across 14 bureaus all over Kerala. For the migration to be seamless it was decided to conduct hands-on training for all the corresponding employees in three batches, each consisting of a 5-day training schedule.

We migrated the file-sharing server to GNU/Linux for seamless integration with the production environment. We used SSHFS filesystem to mount the network server on client computers for better file transfer access.

Janayugom is the pioneers in the world in successfully implementing 100% Free Software for all the prepress processes in news publishing. We were very glad to help them in fulfilling this historical achievement.

From 2019 October 2 (150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) onwards all the pages of Janayugom newspaper are prepared entirely in Free Software and after successfully continuing this process for one month, this news was officially announced by Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, to the world on 1st November 2019.

@kde officialy tooted our story in Mastadon and it was a trending news in Hacker News.


Day: 2020-01-17
Start time: 11:00
Duration: 00:30
Room: Room 842-843
Track: Technical



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