Efforts to promote open source software gather momentum

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 31 December 2007, 13:48 Hrs
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Chennai: Efforts to promote free and open source software (FOSS) have gathered momentum in the country, mainly due to emergence of "Linux User Groups" (LUGs) and recognition by academics and government.

Experts say that computing space in India is witnessing a shift towards free software as more and more people are drifting away from proprietary products due to their exorbitant prices, security issues and restrictions on usage.

"Independent efforts to promote open source software technology, which ensures users' rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute modified computer programs, started as early 2001 in India and picked up momentum in the last couple of years," said M Arun Free Software Foundation of India secretary.

During the past few years, over 70 to 80 active LUGs have come up in the country, which exhorts computer users to forfeit products of proprietary companies, he said.

"These companies want to reap profits and protect their investments. So they restrict the study and modification of their software by withholding the 'source code'," Arun said.

"This (restriction) actually hinders the development of the industry. By building upon the freely available software, one would be able to save time, money and effort," he added.

The National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software (NRC-FOSS) set up by Union Information Technology ministry, is working on introducing FOSS in the curricula of Engineering colleges in states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

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