Why OPEN SOURCE ?
Why INDIA and States in INDIA should not adopt Microsoft technology in its e-governance operations, Education of Children and Teachers and why it should look at open source software as the only software platform?
It is anti national to support or adopt Microsoft technology in e-governance solutions in India and in all States of INDIA.
Even our Hon. President is promoting to use Open Source for INDIA. Why INDIA and States in INDIA are not following?
Microsoft technology comes with a huge cost. It is a drain on India’s foreign exchange, it is too unstable to be used in any enterprise environment, it has unknown number of security holes which have to be plugged day in and day out and it is a bed of roses for computer virus writers. On the other hand, open source technology today offers reliability and security apart from user friendliness. None of the drawbacks associated with Microsoft operating system are found in open source. The open source code is studied by millions of volunteers who ensure that nothing is left open for system vulnerability. The users get every update to the OSS totally free.
When the developed nations such as Japan and Europe proceed to accept Open Source Software for all their e-governance and defense operations, INDIA and States in INDIA wishes to decide in favour of Microsoft technology! When the developed world had woken up to the reality that Microsoft is real poison, a developing country has to be more awake! Yet, INDIA and States in INDIA wants to support Microsoft for reasons best known to them. Our South Asian neighbour Singapore which is rated the best e-governed nation had adopted open source and open standards as the basis of their operations.
The year 2004 proved that Microsoft technology is unworthy. 2004 kept the Microsoft users on their toes with many viruses and security holes hijacking the Microsoft operated computers. The Blaster.B caused a loss of USD 1.3 Billion in US alone. Can India sustain when hit by a virus at this large scale?
What will happen if the entire e-governance network comes to a grinding halt when hit by a virus?
For strategic reasons, we need to ensure that our governance network remains operational and is not vulnerable to attacks, intentional or un-intentional.
To prevent virus attack on computers one has to constantly update the virus definitions. Such virus definitions are available only for paid subscribers. Can the Government and Government organizations afford to pay for keeping their anti virus software upto date? And can the government provide a huge internet network only to keep the viruses away?
Did the INDIA and States in INDIA Government take into account the technical support availability to service the virus infected servers and clients on a day to day basis in almost all the field offices?
Had it made necessary allotment for the anti virus software and for permanent subscription for the anti virus definitions?
If they had made these computations, the Government would not have looked at the Microsoft direction at all!
And the climax is that with all the latest anti virus patches, the new viruses had caused havoc on the Microsoft systems all over the world during 2004!
The painful experience with Microsoft operating system is that the user has to log on to the Microsoft server and update each and every machine for the windows update. Some of the patches take as much as 280 MB! Does the INDIA and States in INDIA government have the internet network resource to carry out such updates?
This updating is in addition to the anti virus definition updating for each and every machine.
The windows operating system is a gold mine for poachers. Data miners are placed in sensitive servers/computers having vital information without the knowledge of the owners. The data miners cleverly and automatically transmit vital data to the poachers! Does the INDIA and States in INDIA Government want its data be made available to all and sundry including enemy countries as an open to all data?
No data miners can be placed without the knowledge of the owner under Open source environment.
The next area is the clever marketing strategy adopted by Microsoft to force the buyers to upgrade their operating system. From 1995 till date Microsoft had changed its operating system from Win-95 to Win98 and then windows NT, Millennium edition, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and now Windows XP! Right now Microsoft supports only XP operating system.
Does the INDIA and States in INDIA Government have the necessary financial allocation to upgrade all its operating system once in two years? Is it willing to do the upgrading every two or three years?
When Microsoft itself uses linux servers to protect its own online operations, Why INDIA and States in INDIA should decide to settle down for a cheaper performing software at a sky high price?
It is undisputed till date that Microsoft had used linux servers to protect its servers when the Mydoom virus struck during 2004. Even now all Microsoft’s online operations are supported by linux servers only. Linux is for enterprise wide applications. And e-governance and linux are like made for each other.
The world’s most popular e-mail service yahoo is on linux. The graphics in the film Titanic was done using OSS!
Open Source Software offers not only the operating system free but also a host of other application software packages such as Open Office 1.1 (office suite), Mozilla / Firefox (browser), Postgresql (robust relational database), CD writing software, pdf writer and a host of application development software, including GISs software.
Open Source gives freedom to look at the Source Code of the Software which is not possible under Microsoft environment.
Cost factor: Microsoft comes with a huge cost. How much one has to pay?
For each XP Professional software licence one has to pay Rs.7500 to 9000!
For each Microsoft Office suite licence, the Government has to pay Rs.20000 plus!
And every two years, the Government has to switch over to the new operating system announced by Microsoft!
On the other hand linux comes free. OSS is owned by the community as a whole. OSS is by the people and for the people. With every upgrade, the user gets the upgraded version of the operating system free. Similarly the Office suite, open office.org comes free. There is no cost on account of upgrading this software as well. The deployment software such as tomcat, jboss, resin etc are available for free download. And these products are much superior to the proprietary products.
Why not INDIA and States in INDIA adopt these Open Source Software packages for its use and for teaching its students?
Open Source Software in education – what should be taught in schools?
India is a software human resource capital and hence the students should be taught Microsoft products during their school days, and so goes an argument. The fact is that Microsoft is a dying system and open source is the real sunrise field in application software development. Even right now the users want platform independent software codes in open standards. For writing platform independent software codes, open source is the best bet as it not only provides saving in cost but also unbreakable security and stability which the Microsoft system can never provide. The GUI based X windows on linux offers the same features if not more as compared to the ease of desktop operations of Microsoft systems. The user need not buy even a single software for application software development or for office management under OSS. Under Microsoft environment one has to spend more than Rs.75000 per machine to procure these application software packages such as MS Office, Visual Basic, CD writing software and so on. Open source software offers an enterprise level relational database, POSTRESQL totally free. This highly scalable relational database has 16.1 terabytes data in a single installation, which shows that that it is a natural ally for all e-governance applications. The user has to pay another Rs.50000 or above for an equivalent relational database for small business use. For enterprise use, the price goes upto Rs.10 crores!
Does INDIA and States in INDIA want to pay such a huge sum on database and other software to be used in each and every school/college?
The correct approach is to teach the children with total open source solutions so that they become marketable once they come out of the schools/colleges. If they are trained only in Microsoft, they may become less marketable or not marketable at all, judging from the present trend among the business houses and Governments all over the world.
After learning Open Source, the students can easily pick up Microsoft technology, say Microsoft office or excel or power point. After all openoffice.org has much more features than MSoffice. And MSaccess database which is not platform independent can never even stand nearer to the enterprise relational database Postgresql which is platform independent.
Local language support and open source: Microsoft had entered into the vernacular language support only after linux made huge inroads into vernacular language computing. Microsoft which is in its last days of survival has been putting up a valiant fight by mimicking open source advancement such as the native language support. By default, the built in Unicode support offers vernacular language support on all browsers. And it is the open source movement that had spearheaded the vernacular language support. The net is the greatest resource for free vernacular language computing support under open source.
What if INDIA and States in INDIA Government decides to adopt open source in all e-governance operations?
First of all such a decision would send the right message to the masses. The citizens would follow the government way gradually, thus saving crores rupees of INDIA Citizen’s’ money.
Secondly, the children of INDIA and States in INDIA would be fully fit to face the job market. They would have the right qualification which the business houses and governments all over the world need. The software leader in India as on date would retain its leadership.
If open source is not adopted, then Sates such as TamilNadu, Uttranchal etc which have decided in favour of open source would lead the nation in software field. INDIA and States in INDIA would undoubtedly lose its present lead in software industry.
Those who guide the INDIA and States in INDIA Government in e-governance policies should set up a linux system with full office suite and postgresql database. Without learning the open source system, if they guide the Government it is tantamount to a blind leading another blind in an unknown territory. History will not judge them kindly if they do so!
This is request for INDIA Govt. and States Govt. in INDIA to reconsider the agreement with MS and look for OPEN SOURCE.
INDIA and States in INDIA needs to look into future.
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V. M. Kumaraswamy