State to tap expertise in open source software domain

Kerala that lagged behind its counterparts in the IT race, is tapping its expertise in the open source software domain, for a paradigm shift. The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), one of the largest global companies on free and open source software, has now launched its pilot project in the country in Kerala. Oracle had sent in its feelers, while discussion with other IT giants, including Google, are on the cards.

Satish Babu, director, International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), an autonomous institution under the Kerala Government, told Express that the tie-up with the ASF would give open source developers in the state an international exposure. “Compared to other states, Kerala has a good talent pool in the open source software as the state was one of the pioneers in the country to promote free and open software movement.

For global companies, the availability of human resource is a big attraction and Kerala can leverage this fully. Already Oracle, that has an open software division, is keen to collaborate with us and we are looking for other companies that works on open source software, including Google,” he said.

The joint mentoring programme with ASF targets young developers with demonstrable programming skills, including students and fresh graduates. “The ASF had been participating in several mentoring initiatives around the world and, for the first time in India, it is now partnering in a pilot project with the ICFOSS. This programme aims at providing mentoring for undergraduate students and graduates who have interest in learning how to participate in the Open Source communities,” said Luciano Resende, vice- president, Community Development, ASF. Babu said the model is being worked out by the state in such a way that those having expertise can work even from their home. “There are lots of women who are talented in the open source domain and, for various reasons, they opt to work from home. The opportunities coming up in the state can also be used by these people as there is an employabality gap of good talents,” he said. The mentoring programme will start off with a three-day bootcamp from June 17 to 19 at the Technopark.

During the three-month project implementation phase that will be followed, the participants will interact with the ASF volunteers, who would help them and bring them up to speed in areas where they require support. “At the end of the workshop, the participants will identify an ASF project of their interest, and then produce a software project proposal which will be shortlisted for the mentoring programme by the ASF,” he said

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The New Indian Express