OSS: Consulation for Government Personnel Held
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The new policy of Government of India, which mandates the use of Open Source Software (OSS) for e-governance applications, will add strategic value to the Digital India Initiative, B Ramani, Director of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) has said.
He was inaugurating the ‘CDAC-ICFOSS Joint Consultation on the OSS Policy of Government of India’ here on Friday.
The joint consultation was convened for the personnel of Central Government organisations in the state.
“With this new policy recommendation, India joins several other developed and developing countries, including the US, France, Brazil and Germany, which have adopted OSS-friendly policies. OSS provides numerous benefits such as strategic control, liberal licensing, cost-effectiveness, better security, robustness, and compliance to Open Standards,” he said.
The transition to OSS will save foreign exchange, provide employment to the local workforce and companies, and support innovation. In these ways, the new policy will add value to the Digital India initiative of the Government,” Ramani added.
The new policy, released in the last week of March 2015, makes it mandatory for all projects of Government of India to use OSS as a preferred choice for all applications. The policy indicates that in cases where closed-source software needs to be considered as exceptional cases, the adopting organisations have to provide justification on factors such as capability, strategic control, scalability, security, life-time costs and support requirements.
“It is commendable that Government of India has adopted an OSS-based model for e-governance, which will have both short-term and long-term benefits to the country. In the
short-run, the policy will result in significant financial savings, in addition to better security and better standards compliance, while in the long-term the policy will result in the country becoming more self-reliant in software, providing a more conducive ecosystem for innovation in digital domains,” said Satish Babu, Director, ICFOSS.
“The FOSS ecosystem has matured in the last decade, which will make the transition easier. However, further elucidation of policy may be required in order to mitigate issues that may be encountered during the process,” he added.
Sasi P M, additional director, CDAC, presented the policy document to the participants. He said that the transition from closed-source software to OSS will require concerted efforts from all the stakeholders, viz., the government, the industry, and the FOSS community.
R Srinivasan, senior consultant, ICFOSS, presented the Framework for Adoption of OSS of the Govt of India, which covered aspects such as a Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat (SWOT) analysis of OSS, licensing policies and transition plans.
In the discussions that followed, participants raised questions on different aspects of the transition such as the copyright ownership of code, differing levels of OSS support in hardware, timelines for the transition to OSS and capacity building for government personnel.