we keep hearing about projects like mentioned by Kush below done by various
organisations. But these are isolated cases. what is slowing down the impact
of open source in e-governance especially, is the lack of coordination and
sharing of knowledge. Its ironic actually. to some extent there is
coordiantion, but then why arent successful projects shared or talked about
in forums like this one? will someone from Pune LUG tell us what they have
done for e-governance? Likewise will someone from Bangalore LUG share their
knowledge with Delhi LUG? I am not implying that there is no sharing at all,
there is, however, how many of them are working on e-governance projects?
there is nothing to quantify this fact.
Point is that vaious groups tend to go thru the same cycle of planning and
working out an e-governance project which can be just cloned and enhanced or
modified for customised use.
While Indian developer community is being noticed and praised for its work,
there is still a big void of contribution to the public sector. And this is
not just my opinion, but the feeling of most leading companies who are
continually encouraging student community, and asking for more public sector
We would like to know why?
I think we will have to take multiple different
approaches with respect
to the govt adopting open source. The problem is not that conscientious
officers in govt don't understand that open source is better but they
are reluctant to act as they are frequently bypassed or interfered in
day to day working thru vested interests lobbying the political people.
Open source gives the organised civil society an opportunity and a
challenge to start becoming an alternative to organised government. Once
civil society makes alternative information systems and methods of
collaboration for the general populace, the existing govt structure will
be forced to start reducing the establishment costs by giving value for
money to citizens for govt services (as citizens will start demanding
them) thru adoption of cost control technologies such as open source.
This is something which has started to happen in Mumbai now specially
for the municipal govt. Organised civil society is now taking up the IT
component of the municipality (praja.org
etc). Their system is not open
source fully but by bypassing the govt IT machinery (which is liable to
political interference) things have changed. Creation of new bureaucracy
has been stalled and existing bureaucracy is being forced to act.
Praja is also working in Bangalore. They are bypassing the formation of
new govt structures such as NIC, CDAC etc which till now had a
stranglehold on every aspect of egovernance.
"Things work out best for the people who make the best out
of the way things work out."