BANGALORE, INDIA: With Open Source being sought after by almost all the industry segments across the globe, the Indian scenario is no different. Cutting across verticals, there is an increase in the adoption of Open Source among Indian enterprises, in government sector, BFSI, SMB space, application development, space research, etc.
According to an IDC study, the open source software phenomenon is spreading far beyond Linux and is gaining enormous momentum.
The study, which analyzed IDC, surveys from over 5,000 developers in 116 countries and representing 38 developer networks, found that developers worldwide have started using open source extensively.
In an exclusive interaction with CIOL, MR Rajagopalan, director, C-DAC, Chennai, talked about new operating system BOSS, developed by C-DAC, Chennai in order to benefit the use of Free/Open Source Software throughout India.
Rajagopalan also discussed the adoption of open source in government sector, BOSS features and security features in new operating system.
He also talked about BharateeyaOO, office application software suite, comprising of word processing, spread sheet, database, presentation, draw, etc with multi regional language support and how BOSS is different from other Linux based operating system and measures taken by NRCFOSS to promote BOSS in government sector.
CIOL: Can you brief our readers on C-DAC and NRCFOSS?
MR Rajagopalan: C-DAC as Premier initiative of the Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MC&IT), Government of India, embodies the national spirit of indigenous high-end research and development for state-of the-art technologies and solutions.
In order to compete with contemporary IT Sectors and to bridge digital divide in Indian society, C-DAC has congregated its endemic human & technical resources towards the design, development, & deployment of electronics & IT Products and Solutions.
The core technology areas of C-DAC includes High Performance Computing and Grid Computing; Multilingual and Heritage Computing; Profession Electronics encompassing VLSI, Embedded and Real Time Systems, Control Systems, Broad and Wireless Systems, Strategic Electronics, Power Electronics, Agri-Electronics; Software Technologies including FOSS, e-governance solutions and ICT for Development solutions; Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics; Health Informatics and Ubiquitous Computing.
And another wing, National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software (NRCFOSS), is an initiative of the Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), Government of India.
NRCFOSS aims to contribute to the growth of FOSS in India through research and development, human resource development, networking and entrepreneurship development. It serves as the reference point for all FOSS related activities in the country. The activities of NRCFOSS are coordinated by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Chennai and Anna University (AUKBC research Centre).
CIOL: What made NRCFOSS to develop a Linux based operating system?
MRR: The main objective of NRCFOSS was to come up with a localized Indian GNU/Linux distribution. It was decided by a committee of experts to have an Indian distribution of Linux so that the language used for the desktop environment and some of the applications can be in the Indian language, which will enable the mainly non-English literate users in the country to be exposed to ICT and to use the computer more effectively.
CIOL: Can you throw light on Bharat Operating Systems Solutions and BharateeyaOO (office application software suite)?
MRR: BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions) is a GNU/Linux distribution developed by C-DAC, Chennai in order to benefit the use of Free/Open Source Software throughout India.
It has enhanced Desktop Environment integrating Indian language support and other packages that are relevant for use in the Indian government domain.
BOSS is easier for windows user to perform in GNU/Linux platform, which gives outstanding features like bulk document converter, Presentation tool and features like plug and play. BOSS will provide support for the educational domains and Server/Enterprise Editions.
BharateeyaOO is a productive application office suit comprising of word processing, spread sheet, database, presentation, draw, etc with language support with Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
CIOL: How BOSS is different from other Linux based operating system?
MRR: BOSS is exclusively available in Indian languages and provides native language keyboard that allows end users to input in different languages.
Presentation tool is an exceptional tool that helps to make presentations by moulding Graphics and Text. A high performance migration tool called Bulk document converter is available to convert documents from other Operating System and vice versa.
CIOL: What kind of measures NRCFOSS has taken to promote BOSS in government sector?
MRR: NRCFOSS aims to encourage and promote the development of applications under FOSS framework in the areas of education, SMEs and the e-governance domains, respectively.
NRCFOSS has established support centres across the country. The support would be in the form of a three-tier support.
Tier-I support would be provided by the support centres at academic institutions/state nodal agencies. These Support centres will assist the users in installation and also the training support when needed.
Tier-II support is provided by the support centres @ C-DAC. Around 50 engineers have been deployed. These support centres will assist the users in installation and also the training support when needed. These support centres will also contribute to the development in due course.
Tier-III support will be provided by NRCFOSS. This may involve debug, fine tuning of applications, developmental effort, configuration etc.
NRCFOSS, C-DAC Chennai is also planning to setup a National BOSS GNU/Linux remote help desk support centre in Chennai. The Centre will be available to users of BOSS Linux OS and utilities. A Single National support centre & service desk for telephonic logging of calls is planned.
In case of the call that needs to be routed for on-site resolution, the call will be directed to these support centres cited above. This ensures a National level on-site support through the support centres of C-DAC & academic institutions.
CIOL: Kerala state government offices run on Linux platform, Is there any policy from NRCFOSS in promoting BOSS in government sector?
MRR: As a policy of NRCFOSS, BOSS has been promoted in Government sectors. BOSS is adopted for e-governance applications deployment in state government such as Chattisgarh, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Uttaranchal, Mohali.
NRCFOSS through its support centre at C-DAC Trivandrum is in direct talks with the state Govt of Kerala for proliferation of BOSS Linux in Kerala.
CIOL: Where does BOSS stand when it comes to security issues?
MRR: FOSS systems are mostly based on the multi-user, network-ready UNIX model. Because of this, they come with a strong security and permission structure.
Such models are critical when multiple users share a single powerful server, which is if security is weak, a single user could crash the server, steal private data from other users or deprive other users of computing resources. Consequently, vulnerabilities in most applications result in only a limited security breach in FOSS systems.
Also the availability of the source code for FOSS systems has made it easier for developers and users to discover and fix vulnerabilities, often before a flaw can be exploited. Most of the Internet tools and applications are based on FOSS and open standards. BOSS Linux being a Linux distribution comes with these inherent features of Linux and hence is secured.
a. BOSS GNU/Linux is almost a Virus free Operating system
b. System is kept secured within the network with the help of Fire Starter Desktop Firewall tool. So this Fire starter tool is useful in all government domains with respect to security.
CIOL: How do you see open source market in India?
MRR: Many of the state government have opted for FOSS for its usage. Other Initiatives such as Election Commission have opted for FOSS due to cost effectiveness. FOSS is also adopted in Banking for hassle free and maintenance free environment. Mobile service providers, career websites like Naukri.com to exchange information quickly, effectively and inexpensively. FOSS is also adopted in all the educational domains since it is cost effective.