National Resource Centre for FOSS

The Background.

The Free/Open Source Software movement stands for freedom for the production, distribution, modification and use of software. A free and collaborative environment with open standards is best suited for large scale development and deployment of quality software, unleashing creativity and productivity, leading to lower costs and higher quality of SW/IT products and solutions.

FOSS is now well established, both as a Technology and as a way of creating Technology. Today’s mainstream SW/IT Market has a broad range of Open Source Tools, Technologies, Products and Solutions ; and they are there as much for reasons of lower cost as for technological superiority. Operating Systems, Data Bases, Web Servers, Data Base Servers, Internet&Web Technologies, Programming Languages, Applications of all types -- Open Source has them all.

Relevance and value of FOSS , especially to the Indian context, arise from the following, among other things:

  • FOSS is low cost and affordable.
  • FOSS makes design details & code freely available.
  • FOSS is easy to modify & customise.
  • FOSS products are getting robust and superior.
  • FOSS & Open Standards prevent vendor-lockin
  • FOSS helps eliminate use of un-licensed SW..
  • FOSS embodies healthier and humane values.

Despite these inherent positives, FOSS still needs certain extent of support and patronage for it to fully realise its potential. It suffers from limited public awareness, absence of standards and inter operability norms, lack of FOSS trained Human Resources (HR), scarcity of of proven business models, inadequate mainstream industry confidence, etc.

It was to help overcome some of these drawbacks of FOSS in our country that the D.I.T., C-DAC Chennai and Anna University Chennai came together in March 2005 to launch the NRCFOSS-AU project.

The NRCFOSS-AU Project

The NRCFOSS-AU Project funded by the Dept. Of Inf. Tech., Govt of India, promotes FOSS in India with the twin goals of (i) helping to bridge the digital divide (ii) strengthening India's Software and IT industry.

NRCFOSS-AU Phase – I (2005-09) was carried out by C-DAC Chennai and the AU-KBC Research Centre, Anna University Chennai. The main achievements of this phase were two:

  • Development and Promotion of an Indian version of Linux Distribution named BOSS (Bharat Operating System Software) based on the Debian distribution (C-DAC Chennai), particularly for governmental and e-governance applications.
  • Introduction of FOSS Elective Courses and Lab. Classes into the curricula of UG Engineering Programs (CSE/IT/MCA) in the country, along with Teacher Training, Text Book preparation, Student project support etc.

NRCFOSS-AU Phase-II has commenced from May 2009 as a multiinstitutional project of the D.I.T. involving C-DAC Chennai, Anna University Chennai, I I T Madras, IIT Bombay, and the C-DAC centres at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi – with C-DAC Chennai being the national coordinator.

In pursuance of the project mission, these institutions carry out the folowing activities towards FOSS promotion in India:

  • R & D on specific FOSS technologies & solutions such as operating systems, Compilers etc.
  • Education and Certification in FOSS at the university and professional levels.
  • FOSS Technology Development, Deployment, Promotion, Metric Development, Adoption assessment, etc.
  • Creation of FOSS repositories and data bases for educational,training and research purposes.

NRCFOSS-AU, the Anna University Chennai unit of the NRCFOSS-AU Project, focuses on the Education, Certification and allied aspects of FOSS promotion.

Click Programs to find out more about the activities of NRCFOS-AU.