Use Of Open Source Software Now Mandatory In Govt Offices As Per New Policy!


Open Source Software Policy

Indian Ministry of Communications and IT have come up with a new policy that has mandated all Government offices across India to use Open Source Software.

The new policy released last week said that the new Government has been pushing use of Open Source Software (OSS) in Government offices, since they have come to power. The use of OSS not only promises significant reductions in the the paid software costs but will also lead to economic and strategic benefits.

Currently, most e-governance solutions are developed using Closed Source Software (CSS), which is licensed under the exclusive legal right of the software manufacturer. In such cases, the user (the govt in this case) has limited rights to do any modifications, sharing, studying, redistribution or reverse engineering.

With use of Open Source Software, Government can now centrally create, modify and redistribute the software without any costs involved.

Key Highlights of the OSS Policy

  • The nature of compliance will be Mandatory.
  • The policy shall be applicable to all Government Organisations under the Central Governments and those State Governments that choose to adopt this policy.
  • All new eGovernance applications will be considered for implementation as well as all new versions of legacy and existing applications.
  • All Government Organizations, while implementing e-Governance applications and systems must include a specific requirement in Request for Proposal (RFP) for all suppliers to consider OSS along with CSS while responding.
  • Incase, in certain specialized domains where OSS may not be available or in case of urgent / strategic need, Closed Source Software (CSS) may be permitted.
  • All future Requests for Proposals (RFPs) of e-Governance projects shall include a mandatory clause for considering Open Source Software (OSS) as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS). Suppliers will need to provide justification for exclusion of OSS in their response
  • Government of India, shall actively collaborate with OSS communities in India as well as at the International level and contribute wherever appropriate.

Kudos to the Government for coming up with this! This policy will definitely provide much needed fillip for the use of Open Source Software in India.

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  2. ajaydamraliya says

    Great development. LibreOffice and OS like Ubuntu can save money & increase productivity.

  3. […] Indian Ministry of Communications and IT have come up with a new policy that has mandated all Government offices across India to use Open Source Software. […]

  4. citizen says

    what about data (location, format, security)?

    1. chigurh says

      There are significant advantages with FOSS (Free & Open Source Software). It offers high security, data integrity and robustness. In long run it will significantly reduce costs and increase productivity.

  5. Shivanand says

    This needs to be driven properly. Just by the mention of Open Source might not be enough – Govt. must and should create a platform and invest into companies to create Open Source content and technology apart from using the existing tools etc. And once we create a pool of technology along with talent (community) this can really benefit Govt and Indian Citizens. And implementation and maintenance cost is minimal since it gives immense scope for upgrades unlike many other proprietary software where you will need to dump it for the newer technologies. Solid Move.. ! :-)

    1. chigurh says

      FOSS business is largely a service centric concept. It will be best if GOI contracts Indian companies and not engage foreign service providers on account of security and access.

  6. Rohith says

    Open source isn’t always a good solution except for the fact that it’s free. Sometimes they pose a greater security risk.

    1. chigurh says

      Incorrect. One can always audit a code and take control of the system. Top commercial software does not offer you such control.

  7. Josh says

    This is so shortsighted. There is never “no cost” associated with open source software. If you’re talking about large, enterprise systems like database, ERP, ECM, and others, you still have the costs associated with implementing, governing, maintaining, and upgrading systems. I’m a huge fan of open source everything, but not by mandate.

    By mandating the use of open source software, you decrease innovation, reduce the number of tools to choose from, and likely increase costs associated with implementation and maintence, largely due to the small knowledge base associated with many new open source tools.

  8. Paul says

    Great development.

    LibreOffice and OS like Ubuntu can save money & increase productivity.

  9. Anonymouse says

    This is the greatest news I’ve heard in a long time :)

    When are they gonna start TEACHING Linux in schools and stuff?

    Also – since they’re using free (as in price) software, does that mean taxes will go down? :) (they really should, in all seriousness, I would imagine a large part of their expenses is software…)

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