FOSS and Indian Politics

Finally some good news came for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) when a large Indian National Political Party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), adopted key points of the FOSS Manifesto as BJP’s IT Vision Document prepared by the FOSS community of India.

It is heartening to know that a mainstream political party recognizes and acknowledges the FOSS movement and adapts it in their election manifesto. We must thank Venky from RedHat and others from the FOSS Community for working hard and make this a reality.

However, our work as community does not stop here. We must go out and convince other political parties the importance of the FOSS. Following are few of the reasons that can appeal to other political parties as well who have vision for India beyond becoming a Prime Minister of the country.

Economics:
When you think of enabling a billion plus population with Information Technology in the area of e-governance, education, communication, job creation etc., we can not afford to spend billions of rupees or dollars in licensing cost. Not only that, we can not afford to spend valuable foreign currency on acquiring the closed source software. We are already in trouble due to our dependence on oil imports. We surely do not want to fall in same trap regarding software, especially when we boast of being the software super power.

Strategic reasons:
We can not afford to put our sovereignty at stack by using closed source software. We can never know what will be the part of closed source software which can give complete control of our strategic information in the hands of competing foreign powers whether in area of defense or commerce or internal and external security. The FOSS ensures that we are in control of our data and information and IT infrastructure and how it moves between different parties.

Social reasons:
If we ever hope to integrate our large and diverse population, we have to make the IT available in their language and at their terms. FOSS ensures and thrives on people’s participation. This is complete democratic movement where people decides what and how they want to use IT to enrich their lives.

There may be many more reasons why FOSS is superior to closed source software and invite you to share your thoughts on these subject.

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One thought on “FOSS and Indian Politics

  1. Gill Bates

    While you make a compelling argument, it doesn’t seem to be an issue that will gain much traction with Indian political parties any time soon.

    Most parties and candidates are only now just coming into the Internet age and embracing blogs, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, Blackberry’s, and the other technology toys that abound.

    Asking for them to embrace open source and define their software and services policy is asking too much. We barely have properly defined energy, health, and education policies.

    However we can always hope the BJP, Congress, Left, and others will float their CIO candidates (like Vivek Kundra in the Obama administration) one day in the future.

    ~Gill Bates (AKA KSB)

    Like

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