FOSS in INDIA
The Open source initiative (http://opensource.org/) defines Opensource as : Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:
-->Integrity of The Author's Source Code
-->No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
-->No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
-->Distribution of License
-->License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
-->License Must Not Restrict Other Software
-->License Must Be Technology-Neutral
The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People learn from it ,improve it, adapt it and fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.
India is slowly and steadily started believing in Open source and its philosophy there is lack of awareness amongst the general public regarding GNU.Opensource and FOSS. But this won't take much time to change.
As far as policies by the Indian government are concerned ,they are not framed overnight. Also, adoption of technology is one thing, while mandating it is not as simple. Especially when you are talking open source software. FOSS can help government save money, communicate better and reduce conflicts. However, adopting FOSS could mean having to make some investments, scout for trained people and recharge the bureaucracy.
The following intiatives by the government ,state the changing policy of the government
The project Indix, http://rohini.ncst.ernet.in/indix/, is funded by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and has been running for two years. It is being done by the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST), a government of India body.
C-DAC, the Indian government-run Centre for the Development of Advanced computing has announced in October 2004 the launch of the launch of its "janabhaaratii" project for localization of FLOSS.
The National Informatics Center (NIC) of India has contracted IBM to deliver open solutions . NIC is a premiere consulting organization in the field of Informatics Services and Information Technology applications.
The state government have started implementation of Gnu/Linux based soluton at their own level.The southern state of kerala being the most active in this regard. The Akshaya project (http://www.akshaya.net/) is the flagship project of these initiatives.
Piracy in India is rampant, checking this will draw a lot of attention to other alternatives like FOSS/Opensource products..Taking the first step in this direction, the government has started a hotline to report piracy and individuals reporting such cases will be rewarded.
The learning curve for FOSS/Opensource is steep ,which prevents people to to use it ,but the price advantage and he usefulness of FOSS are making it a viable institutions
Starting from educational institutions, to banks, government institutions and to corporate sector all sectors stand to benefit from this revolution which is gaining momentum in India.