The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Linux wins the vote of confidence

New Delhi, Dec. 25: This new year the software giant Microsoft is likely to receive a present from India that it would certainly not like to have on its shelf.

The Indian government has proposed to use Linux, the open source software, as a preferred application to push its electronic governance project.

A meeting of senior officials of the department of information technology held on Tuesday with the state government officials from West Bengal, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, have agreed in principle to implement the e-governance based on Linux software. The project will be implemented in three phases and a special training programme has been organised for the officials.

The officials, who attended the meeting, said, “It has been agreed in principle that the states can invest the money, currently used to purchase the software to train the software engineers, to customise Linux to meet the local requirements.”

“We also agreed that there is a need to invest in developing the local language software for a wider acceptance. A committee will be constituted to examine the project for extensive use of Linux software that will have members from the department of IT and state officials currently involved in conceptualisation and implementation of e-governance projects,” sources added.

Officials in the department of IT said that no special corpus or fund has been instituted for the purpose. However, if the committee feels it is required then it will be undertaken.

According to Nasscom sources, the software giant may now intensify its marketing in India to strengthen its position and may also slash prices of its products.

Executives in India representing Linux said: “We hope that the governments worldwide will also understand the benefits of using an open source software. We would like the government not to specify any particular software vendor’s name while floating software tenders. This will also help the companies and government departments to evaluate the software and its cost before placing the order.”

According to a Nasscom member: “Linux is a package that will certainly help a developing country like ours. Its advantage is that the software is, well-documented, secure and free. Many governments worldwide have adopted Linux for various programmes similar to e-governance.”

“Many states in India have already initiated the process where the tenders do not mention any name of a software or a company that develops it. It is the first step that will certainly help adoption of open source software,” sources added.

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