Open source Policy of Govt of India and the need of FOSS community support


#1

In March 2015, the Government of India through its Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, Department of Electronics & Information Technology announced a “Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India”.

The policy is available at https://egovstandards.gov.in/sites/default/files/Published%20Documents/policy_on_adoption_of_oss_0.pdf

In April Govt issued framework for implementation https://egovstandards.gov.in/sites/default/files/Published%20Documents/Framework_on_OSS_in_eGov_0.pdf

Government’s determination to acquire software on the basis of a preference for free or “open source” licensing serves two important but distinct social purposes. In the first place, such a policy improves government agencies’ abilities to serve the public: software acquired under license terms that allows the user to copy, modify, and redistribute the licensed works vastly reduces the cost of software to government by eliminating unit license fees, and by preventing government from being “locked in” to particular vendors to service and improve the software government uses.

But the second social function served by government acquisition under free or “open source” license terms is that of providing the software infrastructure for private innovation: any software acquired and used by government can also be copied, modified and redistributed by others under the same terms. Government acquisition thus becomes a generator for software that can be used to sustain business innovation by small and medium-sized parties throughout the economy. The citizens’ investment in software acquired under free or “open source” license terms pays off not only in improved government services, but in accelerated innovation throughout the economy and society.

The Framework Document follows RFC based approach for service procurement , it does not have much clarity on licensing parts , but it recognizes the importance of adopting Free and Open source software and supporting community structures around free and open source software projects (Refer 32 and 33 pages of framework document) . It is a good start from Government side and we need to engage with the government now

This policy is a good tool for Mozilla Community and open web to ensure more e governance level adoption in India . At the same time the closed source industry pressure against it is also building up

See the news item below

"Industry bodies US-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry have urged the government to reconsider its push for open source software that will cut the cost of licensing from big companies such as Cisco, IBM and Oracle.

In submissions to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), which were seen by ET, the two bodies suggested the government replace the clause on mandatory use of open software with "best-fit and best-value technologies … "

It may be good idea if Mozilla can officially write to Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) Congratulating this move . This is one among several open * policies coming up .
Open API policy just came up last month
http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/Open_APIs_19May2015.pdf
And there is more in the queue . (i will be posting in details about this later, separately)

Open standards policy is there from 2010 https://egovstandards.gov.in/sites/default/files/Published%20Documents/Policy_on_Open_Standards_for_e-Governance.pdf

It will be good if we, the mozillians can discuss Open source policy and framework documents and discuss on how we can use these for promoting Open source and Open web adoption in Government and Public Sector Institutions.


India Community Call - June 13, 2015
#2

It is a commendable move by the Indian Government which will surely decrease the barriers in adoption, use, and proliferation of free software within the country.

Open APIs are a welcome bonus which multiplies the potential of Web based governance, people interacting with the Web, and a chance for Mozilla to take a lead in community education.


#3

This is an excellent policy. I hope that Mozillians around the world will make advocacy for open source in the public sector a part of their advocacy efforts!