Tuesday, 28 February 2017 10:08

Indian state saves $58m annually by using free software


The Indian state of Kerala is saving three billion rupees (approximately $58.6 million) each year by using free and open source software for school education, a government official says.

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.

Its executive director, K. Anwar Sadath, was quoted as saying that the organisation had been given the job of customisation of applications, teacher training and video tutorials.

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.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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