THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Terms like Ubuntu and Debian would soon be part of the daily vocabulary of employees at the Government Secretariat here. In what can be termed as a major milestone, Kerala is all set to become one of the first states in the country to have its administrative headquarters completely functioning using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).
So far, only some government facilities - Kerala State Electricity Board, IT@School, Khadi Board and Legislative Assembly - have fully migrated to the free and open source software platform. Once completed, Kerala will be arguably the first state to have its administrative headquarters shifting to free software. A couple of other government departments and organisations, including the Police Department and Kerala State Financial Enterprises are gradually shifting to free software platform.
At the Secretariat, shifting to open source platform is being done under the ‘e-office’ project, which has reached a crucial stage with almost 90 per cent of the work completed and the remaining expected to be over by December. Currently, open source operating system Ubuntu is being used for major operations in most of the departments. However, there are still some functions which are being run through the proprietary software platform. A 30-member team from the Keltron is currently assisting the migration.
“It was at the end of the previous LDF Government’s tenure that the work towards shifting to free software platform was initiated. Almost 90 per cent of operations have been completed. The Digital File movement software being introduced from the National Informatics Centre through open source platform has been completed for 17 departments in the first phase.
“The remaining 23 departments will also be covered by December. By then, more than 99 per cent of the operations would be run by free software platform,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the migration to open source platform has given rise to apprehensions too. “The Secretariat being the administrative headquarters which handles crucial and sensitive information, a sudden change to another platform could prove to be difficult to employees,” Kerala Secretariat Association said. “The e-office project has some opposition from the employees as opening a new file and checking some collective information by comparing more than two to three files through this platform creates confusion. Also, the
NIC hasn’t signed an agreement with the State Government in this regard,” T Sreekumar, general secretary of the Association, said.