IT department plans Rs 1.5-cr Linux push
Source: 'Economic Times' dt May 09, 2003
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ FRIDAY, MAY 09, 2003 12:37:57 AM ]
NEW DELHI: IBM chief Samuel J Palmisano's 'learning' visit to India may have
gone off more silently than expected. But his pitch to the Centre on the benefits of using
Linux was not wasted.
While maintaining that its stance is of strict technology, platform and vendor neutrality,
it is equally true that the Department of Information Technology has also crafted its own
Linux India Initiative.
Minister for information technology, Arun Shourie informed Lok Sabha that a proposal for
the same has been submitted to the Planning Commission for budgetary support during
'03-04 as part of DIT's annual plan for '03-04.
Government sources reveal that Rs 150 lakh is proposed for the Initiative now. Funds will
be spent after formal approval. Opportunities and relevance of open source, more
specifically, GNU/Linux in the Indian context has been discussed among DIT officials,
industry, academicians, state governments, developers and NGOs late last year. All of them
were interested in pursuing the initiative.
While it is becoming clear that the authorities are not interested in getting into a
proprietary and open source software tussle, Mr Shourie has stressed that the DIT has not
prescribed preferential treatment of one over the other.
But the fact is that there is space for both and the choice must be exercised by each
user. The Linux India Initiative emerged out of the multi-stake holder meeting as a
consensual action plan, after specific steps such as setting up of resource centres,
special interest groups, suitable provisions in the procurement policy of the government
and government institutions, R&D, labs of various educational institutions, especially
Interestingly, some work was already on in DIT societies in the area of open source
software. C-DAC, Mumbai (erstwhile National Centre for Software Technology) has developed
Linux with Hindi language support and development is now underway for supporting other
Indian languages also.
Funds allotted for development of INDIX localisation of Linux - Phase I during '00-01
was Rs 39 lakh. In '02-03, Rs 50 lakh has been spent for Phase II.
In the overall trend, support for Indian language has also been developed by IT vendors -
specifically IBM middleware. Efforts are now on to roll out support that adheres to Linux
standards by unifying individual efforts by IITs and C-DAC.
It is learnt IBM is in touch with these developers and as soon as the support confirms to
standards, not only the operating system, but also the applications will have Linux
posted by NSS
Show replies by date