If FOSS (Free and Open source) needed any validation at all, KSEB’s use of open source solutions for its IT needs should be as good as any. Within a few years of opting for open source solutions for critical functions like accounting and billing, KSEB has made savings to the tune of Rs 7-8 crore.
KSEB started its open source journey by implementing a billing software Oruma back in 2006. Then came an accounting software named Saras. The databases that KSEB uses for managing information of millions of users also uses Postgre SQL. Even KSEB’s new site is now developed in Joomla. That’s some open source friendly organization!
The coverage here by Linuxforyou has a detailed analysis of the technical aspects of these solutions. What I find interesting is that a government body took the extra effort to not go for the propitiatory route and instead implemented open source solution in what looks like a well thought out strategy.
The technical details do suggest that KSEB takes their IT very seriously and opting for open source solutions was not only a way to increase savings but have a salable and efficient IT infrastructure in place.
With open source solutions, KSEB makes significant savings on the yearly license fees and renewal upgrades alone that standard enterprise solutions would cost, leave aside the one time software costs.
In addition, KSEB cites that open source solutions provide the ownership of code which can help the in-house team to rectify issues themselves or seek help from a large online community.
This is not the first case of a government body opting for open source solutions. Back in 2008, Tamil Nadu government opted for a Linux distribution instead of Microsoft’s OS. It actually makes a lot of sense for e-government initiatives to opt for open source solutions. N
ot only will these save the government tons of money but it could help making open source alternatives more common place. Infact, policies in countries like Africa etc. mandate the use of open source solutions for e-government projects.
What are your thoughts on KSEB’s success story with FOSS? Do you think more and more government bodies should take the cue and follow suit?