India's BOSS Dying A Slow Death: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 24, 2014


The government’s Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS), which was earlier considered to be a home-grown alternative to Microsoft’s Windows, is reportedly dying a slow death. However, lack of government support and investments is the result of the gradual death of this open source OS, reads an ET report. The report also mentions that BOSS also suffers from infrequent updates, inefficient customer support and an overall lack of coordination with hardware vendors for wider support across devices.

For example, since its inception in 2007, it has seen only three updates in the last six years. The National Research Centre for Free and Open Source Software (NRC-FOSS), a part of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) launched the first version of BOSS. In the first year itself, it saw three updates. The report draws a comparison with most other Linux OS that are being updated once in every six months. Moreover, the bigger issue lies with support, it says.

In the past, Boss had won many government contracts primarily because the government had been pushing its growth. Even then, it was supposedly losing to other open source OS such as Suse and Ubuntu.

However, the government failed to promote the OS to the wider community, as Prabhat Mishra, Deputy Director, MIS at Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority told the newspaper: “We didn’t even hear about BOSS when we wanted to deploy 15,000 desktops in about 3,000 schools in Orissa. We ultimately went with Suse Linux as it was very user-friendly and cost effective.”

Not only Mishra, but many government departments neither have heard of BOSS nor have no intention of adopting it.

Like China, India too was looking to get rid of its dependency on proprietary operating system Windows by building its own operating system that would support local languages and would not have any security concerns. However, the problem lies with the lack of initiation behind BOSS, believe experts. There is also a need to gear up on updates. For instance, China’s COS, which is likely to get released next month, is designed for use on mobile phones, tablet devices and desktop PCs on the Chinese mainland. BOSS on the other hand, works only on desktops and notebooks, says the report.

R Nagesh, Joint Director at C-DAC told the newspaper that while C-DAC is trying to talk to industry players to support BOSS, no such partnership has fructified yet, limiting support capabilities.

According to C-DAC, BOSS has been deployed on over 2.5 million systems, but none of the entities involved with the project have a number on how many deployments have translated into actual usage, he said.