The Intra-Governmental FOSS Conflict
Today Economic Times reported about the benefits of FOSS as analyzed by a study according to the Professor Rahul De of IIM Bangaloare. That’s good, superb we already knew about the benefits of FOSS, but yes now we have a study backed up by one of the geniuses of the country. However isn’t it that it has already been there? The LIC using it, or the Govt. of Kerala leveraging the benefits FOSS Technologies. Same goes with corporates, they have always preferred Sendmail over Microsoft Exchange, and Linux over Windows and more and more FOSS when it comes to Server technologies. Organizations have been using OpenOffice.ORG from past so many years to save upon their costs.
But this study is sure to create an impact in the minds of more and more people, and ultimately drive Microsoft to their worst nightmare of Open Source taking over the corporate word (at least). But let’s talk about Government Initiative in the Open Source… Now there’s a catch!
WARNING: In the following section, I might sound Frankenstein running after NIC’s to rip it’s neck of it’s body.
Does government actually support FOSS Initiatives ? I don’t know if you are looking at th small line at the bottom of most of the Government websites, where it says – “Please use Internet Explorer 5.5 or above” or “Best viewed on Internet Explorer 5.5 or above” or something analogous. Does it
SBI site is on ASP (Microsoft Active Server Pages) meaning NOT FOSS, they are using Microsoft Technologies and are actually not leveraging the benefits of FOSS where they can be best achieved – WEB and SERVER Technologies. If you anytime in your life have applied for any of the Country’s bank exams be it PO, Managerial or Clerk, you have to visit the site of Institute of Banking Peronnel Selection (IBPS). You would notice that it won’t open on Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari or Google Chrome – it’s is simply loyal to Microsoft Technology – Internet Explorer.
Let’s visualize a simple example, where a person who loves linux or cannot afford Microsoft Window Operating System and want’s to make every move chaste, without the pains of proprietary software involved – Is demoralize, demotivated, his faith shattered to dust with a website popping up saying I need INTERNET EXPLORER! That wasn’t the idea of Tim Berner’s lee when he proposed Internet.
If the government really want’s to take initiatives, it should have made all the websites on NON-Microsoft Technologies, it would have saved them Millions actually Billions. Today NIC has 90% of their websites being maintained on proprietary – age old technologies, that are in no way match for today’s glossy looking, superbly interactive, and Intelligent websites. Are they ? They don’t even look like Corporate/Identity websites for Company information. Even if NOW!, after going through the Prof. Rahul De reports they think of moving from proprietary to FOSS Tech’s – who the hell be accountable for the earlier un-informed baseless decisions ?
The only one of the few website I’ve seen is the NIC’s Indigov. Its’ one of the best website, and based around php. Now what new I see is a Quality certificate being attached to the website by SQTC. Does that make a difference? What is then W3C for? CDAC, NOIDA has been one of the biggest contributor and promoter of W3C in Indian Government sector. However, now NIC & SQTC comes out with their Certificate attached to the website, ignoring all the work done so far in the field by W3C and unnecessarily putting their precious efforts into standards that have been pre-established. No doubt the website is accessible, but that accounts to just 0.1% of the websites NIC is hosting/developing/maintaining (I would rather say lingering on with). Most of the disabled people are ignored in the country (I know low floor buses just landed in Delhi, but that’s just Delhi -not India right!) and Information Technology is the last seen area where you could consider disabled people to be preferred – in INDIA.
The author is not Anti-Microsoft, he just want the web to be independent, free from the boundaries just like a free bird. As Internet / Web was essentially created to be platform-independent so that we could; and today as we are able to browse websites over Mobile Phone, Browser’s across operating systems like – Windows, Mac and Linux. And they look same everywhere.