CPM, BJP IT-Vision Plan To Help: Expert

by Prabhu Ram    Mar 30, 2009

CPM and BJP, in their IT-Vision document have agreed to implement open-standards and use of open-source software. Open-standards benefit organizations ensuring inter-operability, while open-source software significantly reduces perils of vendor-lock

The IT Vision document of CPM and BJP mentions to implement open-standards. This will bring significant benefits to the IT enabling industries. By adopting open-standards, enterprises can safely install open-source software, said G.Nagarjuna, chairperson of Free Software Foundation of India and a mentor for Ph.D students (Software) at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

Much support is also needed from FICCI, MAIT, and Nasscom to help achieve open-standards in the Indian IT organizations. CII has been the only proponent to the adoption of open-standards and use of open-source applications. Lack of support and awareness has forced the IT-organizations to buy proprietary software. Governments should strongly advocate and use software that complies with open-standard. This will force ISVs to open up their proprietary applications to adapt open-standards. 

Asked to elaborate on the benefits of open standards, Nagarjuna said inter-operability is the single major benefit. Adoption to open-standards enables IT enabling organizations to transfer data to different application setups, and also enables data parsing across devices. Open-standard also releases organizations locked to a single vendor.

According to him, the adoption of open-source by SMEs in not significant in India. This is largely because the IT-solution companies are not educating their customers on its possible benefits. There is a misconception that open-source is free of cost, but this is not true. This has lead to an inhibition among SMEs to pay for open-source software, tough it benefits lower TCO. Under the GPL manifesto, IT-solution companies can charge for the open-source software apart from the services.

Education institutions such as IITs and CBSE schools have been provident in the use of open-source software and its syllabus vendor-neutral. Among all states, Kerala is having the majority in implementation of open-standard and open-source software in government offices and education institutions. But for the open-standard and open-source to really take an effect and to benefit all - the adoption has to become a nationwide movement, said Nagarjuna.

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