Kerala made IT a compulsory subject in 2003. FOSS was introduced gradually in 2005 and slowly replaced proprietary software, according to a report from the India Abroad News Service.
The curriculum committee decided later to implement the use of FOSS in the higher secondary sector and that has also been completed.
IT@school was set up as a government project to direct the implementation.
He told IANS that licences for proprietary versions of similar software would have incurred a minimum cost of Rs 150,000 per machine.
"Hence, the minimum savings in a year (considering 20,000 machines) is Rs 300 crore (three billion rupees or $58.6 million)," Sadath said.
"It's not the cost saving that matters more, but the fact that the Free Software licence enables not only teachers and students but also the general public an opportunity to copy, distribute and share the contents and use it as they wish," he said.
The GNU General Public Licence gives people the right to copy and share software. All changes made have to be also disclosed in the event that the software is distributed. The licence was created by the chairman of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman.
Stallman has visited Kerala many times and inaugurated the Indian chapter of FSF in the city of Trivandrum in 2001.