What Will Fuel Open Source Adoption in India?

by Shweta Verma    Jan 30, 2014

Linux

The Attachmate Group’s Open Source arm SUSE is focusing on the Indian market in a big way. The company which has a large chunk of its business coming from the BFSI and Government sectors in India believes that some of the recent technology trends like Cloud, Big Data and Mobility will hugely favor the adoption of Open Source Systems.

“We already have over 19,000 active customers for our open source solutions worldwide,” says Naji Almahmoud, Senior Director of Global Business Development at SUSE. “We’re seeing increased adoption across all sectors – manufacturing, retail, hi-tech, banking and transportation.”

The Driving Factors

According to Swaminathan, the recent announcement by Microsoft to end the support on Windows XP has led to a huge rise in the number of enterprises looking at migrating to Open Source. “We are seeing a large number Indian banks looking at migrating to Open Source.”

Besides banking, the government sector has been a big user of Open Source. “In India, most of the e-governance projects in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal are all built using Open Source Systems,” says Venkatesh Swaminathan, Country Manager-India & South Asia, The Attachmate Group.  “E-governance projects are all long-term initiatives. The government can’t afford to have vendor lock-ins and dependencies on propriety software.”

Tech writer Pat Pilcher says, “Linux’s open source price tag may be attractive, and there are other benefits besides cost. For a start, Linux is less of a resource hog than other platforms, and it works well on older hardware, especially compared to Windows. Linux is also highly customizable, and users can choose from a multitude of desktop environments.”

Swaminathan explains that by using Open Source instead of Windows XP, an enterprise can typically lower its overall costs to almost half.

Riding on Tech Trends

SUSE’s Naji Almahmoud insists that apart from the obvious tech advantages it offers, the current technology trends like Big Data and Cloud are also in favor of Open Source Systems. “We are seeing a large number of enterprises moving on to cloud and opting for Infrastructure-as-a-Service. These services work the best on open systems.”

However, experts believe that despite the advantages OSS offers, it may not be a smooth ride for users. “Going down the Linux route is likely to involve a steep learning curve for non-techie users, who’ll also have to sort out apps and drivers for legacy peripherals (or replace them with Linux-compatible equivalents),” writes Pilcher.

Whether it takes over propriety software in a big way or not, Open Source is certainly being seriously considered as a serious alternative by many enterprises in India. According to a recent Gartner report, by 2017, about 90 per cent of Indian IT organisations will have open source software (OSS) embedded in their mission critical platforms.

The increasing popularity of Android-based smartphones and trends like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) have also brought back OSS back in the reckoning in a big way. With large number of mid-sized enterprises looking for cost-effective options and an increasing number of apps being developed on OSS, the advantages for users are certainly on the rise.