January 21, 2007
Give open source software a chance
India has for some time now been touted as a key battleground for the global open source movement — more specifically, Linux. While the government does not have a proactive stand supporting open source, or even measures that help smaller Linux user groups to compete with IBM, Redhat and Novell, it is clear that open source software is making steady headway. But make no mistake: Windows is, and will remain, number one by a long margin. Unlike proprietary software, Linux is based on an open-source model. Its code is available to developers worldwide, who can improve or customise it to suit local needs. Revenues are still minuscule since it is often given away for free. Global research company IDC estimates that the Indian Linux market will grow to around $20 million by 2010, most of which would be for services provided by companies like IBM and Red Hat. What is it that the open source movement is missing in India? Prima facie, government legislation that supports open source, like in China and Brazil, two other large and emerging markets without any ideological baggage. If they can, we could do it, geo-strategic factors permitting. But despite the hurdles, India has one of the largest number of Linux User Groups (LUGs) in the world.
Link: Financial Express