eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Elcot’s efforts so far – Open source software is the key

Posted by egovindia on June 24, 2006

Elcot's efforts so far – Open source software is the key

 Umashankar C wrote:

> 10-6-06
>
> Dear all,
>
> ELCOT had moved into the open source software area.
> Tender conditions have been configured as follows:

It is heartening to know that free and open source solutions, standards
and systems would be insisted in panchayat offices. I hope I may make a
few suggestions here:

>
> 1. All the servers and clients should be OSS compatible – linux kernel
> 2.6. By default, the vendors should load linux (open suse 10.0 or
> Fedora core 5)

Good, but it may be better to lay vendor neutral standards so that the
conditions do not operate to exclude, say FreeBSD which does not use the
linux kernel, but supports KDE, GNOME, much of gnu, postgresql, apache,
php etc. Debian GNU/Linux distro is just as good as suse or fedora.
Though FOSS generally expands as "Free and Open Source Software", it is
more appropriate to use the _expression to cover "Free and Open Standards
and Software" systems.

There are several open standards used widely for several decades now:
1) POSIX maintained by IEEE
2) Programming Language "C" and SQL standards maintained by ANSI
3) HTML, XML, CSS, DOM and other web standards maintained by W3C
4) OpenOffice file document standards maintained by OASIS
5) HTTP/1.1 by NCSA
6) Scripting standards by ECMA, etc

The above standards are widely implemented with free software whose
license terms:
1) allow use of the software for any purpose
2) allow free redistribution
3) allow modifications to the software with source code
4) allow redistribution of modified versions along with source code

The tender conditions may prescribe the above conditions, which are
vendor neutral. The linux kernel and gnu, FreeBSD and other free
implementations of the POSIX standard would easily qualify and at the
same time it gives an equal opportunity to any existing proprietary
system, that has developed an implementation of the open standard to
participate if they could release it as free software for free
redistribution along with source code. Vendor neutral terms would make
the tender _unassailable_ – particularly when ours is a welfare state
which has a constitutional obligation to support socialist principles
that pervades the world wide free software movement.

> 2. All the peripherals should come with drivers for linux. Otherwise
> ELCOT would reject them from the tender process, while not rejecting
> the servers and clients.

They should disclose full details about the hardware, the method of
accessing the registers in the device etc. The vendors could very
easily avoid discriminating against free software to promote the
monopoly of any single proprietary vendor. Consumers of hardware
certainly have the right to know all particulars about the products in
the market, and the condition would certainly send a strong and clear
message to the vendors to adopt fair practices.

I hope I could also request that government may encourage the use of
"Free Software" terminology over "open source", which is merely a
marketing program for Free Software.

Thanks and regards,
Ramanraj K
"Ramanraj K" ramanraj.k@gmail.com

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