India’s open source policy will help the country to “promote a culture of innovation that they need in order to serve their citizens today and in the years to come”, says Mark Bohannon, Vice President, Global Public Policy and Government Affairs at Red Hat, one of the world’s main open source companies. “The use of technology, including open source software, is moving out of the sphere of simply 'acquiring a product' to 'investing in innovation'.”
“I see a growing awareness among not only the IT experts but also the leadership of the public sector that the old way of acquiring software has to change and that lock-in is no longer acceptable”, Mark Bohannon writes on Opensource.com, a website managed by the company. “IT is less about acquiring intellectual property via a license, and more about widely distributing the tools and adding value on top of it. This paradigm shift has enabled decision-makers to go from thinking of small 'procurement' windows to viewing open source from a broader vantage point that highlights its broad-based benefits to an economy, jobs, and innovation, and in the government itself.”
India’s policy reflects this trend, he argues. The government of India announced its policy on open source in March. The country wants to prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. The policy encourages “the formal adoption and use of open source software in government organisations.”
The policy’s objectives include:
- To provide a policy framework for rapid and effective adoption of open source software;
- To ensure strategic control in e-Governance applications and systems from a long-term perspective;
- To reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of projects.
One of the measures in the policy requires all public administrations to instruct all software suppliers to consider open source solutions alongside proprietary software.