Presentation on Open Source at PHDCC

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A presentation on Open Source explaining the how, when, what and the way forward for Open Source technologies in India

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Presentation on Open Source at PHDCC

  1. 1. Open Source Software – Towards a self-reliant India23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 1
  2. 2. President, Dr. Kalams views • “Software maintenance and software upgrade is an important issue for defense. Even though the required software for the equipment could be developed by the private industry, it is essential that the technical know-how and the architecture is fully available with these services for ensuring provision of life time support for the software which may or may not be forthcoming from the trade.” • “...a few months back when I met Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft. While walking in the Mughal garden, we were discussing the future challenges in Information Technology including the issues related to software security. I made a point that we look for open source codes so that we can easily introduce the users built security algorithms. Our discussions became difficult since our views were different. The most unfortunate thing is that India still seems to believe in proprietary solutions. Further spread of IT which is influencing the daily life of individuals would have a devastating effect on the lives of society due to any small shift in the business practice involving these proprietary solutions. It is precisely for these reasons open source software need to be built which would be cost effective for the entire society.” • “Our software industry has to move up the value chain and come up with innovative products that will have a commercial impact in the international markets.”23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 2
  3. 3. President, Dr. Kalams views • Open Source software is important for India: – For ensuring defence security – ensuring we can have access to ensuring code is safe, independence to make software upgrades even if trade relations are not forthcoming – As lives of millions of people will be increasingly dependent upon Information Technology, we cannot allow that to be held ransom to whims and fancies of proprietary solution providers • Knowledge Products, Global competitiveness – If India has to become competitive in the global markets it has to rise up the value chain (we must move ahead from being cheap labourers to knowledge workers and innovate and build domain specific products and services)23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 3
  4. 4. Understanding Open Source Software • Open Source Software (OSS) is software where the code of the programme is available for reviewing and modifying by users of the software • This presentation has been made in Open Office which is an OSS counterpart of MS-Office, which is proprietary and the software is not available for reviewing or modifying – One can do exactly the same thing – make Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, etc. – just as in MS-Office – This software code is available for downloading from a website and you and I could download, and edit the same to add a special feature in this same application and “sell it” to my customers. – The only condition is that (under specific licences, in this case GPL) the software code of this entire product would have to be released to the customer23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 4
  5. 5. Philosophy of Open Source Software • OSS is more a philosophy of Freedom – Security, Stability, Cost, Efficiency, Flexibility – Ethical and moral reasons – of “sharing” - knowledge, intellect, resources, money – There is no vendor-locking for years to come – Most OSS is free of cost since most of these products are built by the World community on the “Internet” • The movement primarily started with development of Linux – Linus Torvalds, a Finnish student, who in 1991 released an Operating System that he wrote, on the Internet for feedback/review from other developers around the world – People started to look at the same, contribute to it, and it started growing – Later, they decided to formalise the development and build a competing “free & open source” Operating System for the world to use23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 5
  6. 6. Philosophy of Open Source Software • Currently an Open Source website – Source Forge – has over 50,000 products available to be downloaded and used • Range from general daily use software such as Open Office to high-end security solutions • The movement has evolved into maintaining “knowledge databases” of “General Knowledge” and even of “Chemical Compounds” to keep them open • The belief is that all knowledge is open to the world society for its use and upliftment and people must not be held ransom to greed-based profiteers23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 6
  7. 7. Philosophy of Open Source Software • Wiki-pedia – a general knowledge bank of the entire world – larger than Brittannica already (and growing) – is available for anyone to edit and add knowledge – the world community brings in consensus on knowledge – Some very unbiased opinions on Kashmir are available there – Some extremely biased opinions on the Caste-system in India are put up (but then it is open for us to give a more balanced approach to the same)23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 7
  8. 8. So how does India gain from OSS? • Even after being called an “IT super-power” India accounts for less than 2% of all IT outsourcing around the world • We are considered a destination where there is excellent technical talent clubbed with excellent English speaking skills available at lower rates – in hard words – were cheap labourers • Sadly even some of our biggest industry leaders think so: – The whole process where people get an idea and put together a team, raise the capital, create a product and mainstream it -- that can only be done in the US. It cant be done sitting in India. The Indian part of the equation is to help these innovative US companies bring their products to the market quicker, cheaper and better, which increases the innovative cycle there. It is a complementarity we need to enhance • Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys, quoted in The New York Times, March 7, 2004 • We shall lose our our low-cost advantage very soon to East Europe, Russia, South America, China, Pakistan, Indonesia23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 8
  9. 9. So how does India gain from OSS? • BPO & software services, is all good – but we must grow further to stay ahead of the increasing competition • But how do we grow up the value chain? Where do we go from here? • Knowledge Products, Business Consulting (Domain Knowledge) is the answer • We must innovate products, gain deeper domain knowledge and market these products worldwide, including within India for our local businesses, defence, education, medicine, telecommunication, knowledge databases (such as bio-resources mapping to protect against bio-piracy) • We have a very large pool of products readily available to use, implement and build (modify) further • We have a very large community available to write software (which can also be used by other people, communities and cultures across the world)23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 9
  10. 10. How do we adopt OSS? • Businesses need to: – start adopting OSS products and solutions – break-away from the mindset that free means unreliable – break-away from the mindset that only large vendors produce reliable software – become conscious that a lot of them use pirated software (and not free as a lot of them still think) • Our government needs to have a consistent policy across states, cities, schools; Consider this: – Economic Times, 09 October, 2002: “The Indian government seems to be taking a leaf out of Chinas operating system movement, and is planning a countrywide drive to promote the open source operating system - Linux, as the platform of choice instead of proprietary solutions such as Microsoft desktop software23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 10
  11. 11. How do we adopt OSS? • Our government needs to have a consistent policy across states, cities, schools; Consider this: – Economic Times, 09 October, 2002: “Open IT – Govt to re-write code in Linux - The Indian government seems to be taking a leaf out of Chinas operating system movement, and is planning a countrywide drive to promote the open source operating system - Linux, as the platform of choice instead of proprietary solutions such as Microsoft desktop software.” – Economic Times, 15 October 2004: “Over 12,000 teachers in schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will be trained by Microsoft in providing computer-aided education. An MoU to this effect was signed by the MCD and Microsoft here on Friday under the IT corporations `Project Shiksha. The training programme, to be spread over five years, would cost Rs 2 crore and include at least 12,000 teachers from over 1,850 MCD-run schools in the capital (President, Dr. Abdul Kalam, would have been a sad man this day) • All government organisations must build and run their applications on non- proprietary software; even now there are several NIC run websites built on Microsoft platforms – this will send out a message of their commitment23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 11
  12. 12. How do we adopt OSS? • Venture Capital funding: – Government needs to both groom/mentor companies, as well as make easy policies to make available funding for small companies – Private organisations must break away from their wealth-hoarding mentality and learn from this worldwide movement – “make profits but share as well”, “knowledge is for the worlds people to use and make their lives better”, “encourage small entrepreneurs”23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 12
  13. 13. Indias contribution to OSS • India has been a contributor to the OSS movement quite early – CDAC has been a major contributor, especially with localising Linux (Indian languages) and several other products – Individual Indian programmers have been regular contributors to some extremely high-profile products including on GUI Linux interfaces (we have been up the value-chain in this case) • Simputer: – The Simputer Trust was registered as a charitable trust in 1999 with the broad goal of harnessing the potential of Information Technology for the benefit of the weakest sections of society – The Simputer is a low cost portable alternative to PCs, by which the benefits of IT can reach the common man : Bridging the “Digital Divide” – A local community such as the village panchayat, the village school, a kiosk, a village postman, or even a shopkeeper should be able to loan the device to individuals for some length of time and then pass it on to others in the community. The Simputer, through its Smart Card feature allows for personal information management at the individual level for an unlimited number of users.23 October, 2004 • Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 13
  14. 14. What kind of OSS products are available? • Operating System: Linux – Typically considered an extremely stable Server OS – Desktops and Laptops (much cheaper) are now available even by vendors such as IBM, Compaq • Content Management Systems (CMS): Typo3, Drupal (made by an Indian group), Plone, others – Typo3, according to a third-party analysis ranks upto some of the best proprietary CMS systems worldwide. – Proprietary CMS cost upto US$200,000 in license fee, while Typo3 is free • Desktop software: Office software, Browsers, Email clients23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 14
  15. 15. What kind of OSS products are available? • Programming languages: PHP, Python • Databases: MySql, Postgres • Network security systems • Business software: ERP, Accounting • Many many others • ... and if they are not there release some initial files and you will get people from the world over trying to help you23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 15
  16. 16. Key Takeaways • Government: Promote Open Source software and technologies next time you release a tender • Business leader: Explore using Linux as a Server software, desktop software; Hire professional companies around you offering Linux implementation and maintenance services • Education institute: Promote a learning environment based on Linux • Research organisation: Take initiatives in mapping knowledge that your organisation carries and share it online (using Open Source platforms) • Student: Learn to use Linux; install it as a second operating system on your computer; become part of a local Linux Users Group (LUG)23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 16
  17. 17. Key Takeaways • Open Source will help – you save money – promote a culture of sharing – build a strong, self-reliant India – build a better world23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 17
  18. 18. Thank you23 October, 2004 Srijan Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 18

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