Open Source is a Must for India

India is a developing country. Most of us are seeing India's future as a developed country. Will IT play a role in this? I strongly feel "yes". I also feel that India's development would depend on the idea that how many Indians are willing to adapt to the Open Source Business Model. I present two ideas on why open source is a boon for India. The first would be on the basis of the facts suggesting that India cannot realise one laptop per child dream if it is using proprietary software. Open source is cheap, better, affordable, reliable. Open-source software meets the basic criteria of useful and affordable that people and businesses in emerging economies such as India need to adopt them. "To koi ye kyun le, wo na le". As pointed out in the red hat articles with exact numbers, open source would cut down the cost by a lot and help people realise the dream. To add to it, Indian industries are mostly small or medium scale, which adds to the need of using affordable IT products in India. Secondly, the fact that India has been only a "service-based" IT industry, is not too encouraging for me. If India has to succeed, India has to make a choice. The choice to start product based industries in India. If India has to "control" the world IT industry, it has to be developing products independently. Open source provides an even playing field to all. It is to be said here that Open Source is a business model, key term being business. It is not doing something for free (well, ya, ok). Indians can earn a lot of money using GPL. The plan is to compete with the existing companies by distributing stuff for free while still earning revenue from training, resources, donation and advertisement. All the views are entirely mine and I will be happy to answer questions and discuss more.

Comments

  1. I guess the major problem that exist with open-source is that they are less reliable. usually the approach is to release a beta verson which will be modified endlessly. apart from RedHat no other industry(to my knowledge) deliever open-source as commercial products.
    well the idea that india needs more of production based industry is quite interesting but it requires basic changes. the current model of study in india doesn't encourage entrepreneurship . we teach skills but along with that we need to teach the motivation to start.
    ---Sanyam

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  2. Could you please elaborate on your statement 'The plan is to compete with the existing companies by distributing stuff for free while still earning revenue from training, resources, donation and advertisement.'

    Thanks

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  3. @Sanyam
    Open Source is not reliable!!! Firefox, Ubuntu, etc all are open source, reliable and commercial products available for free.

    If one is doubtful about Indians having business-bent minds, try seeing sites like younoodle and slashdot. I see 1 or 2 "good" startups rising daily from India.

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  4. @Aayesha

    I admit that the statement is not precise. All I want to prove is that open source actually is not giving things for free. It is a good business model. I need developers who work for free. I get good products and ideas if the product is open source. If the community accepts it, I can find other ways of earning like use the brand name for other products. Earn by advertisement. Believe it or not, at student level, even donations are great. So, If one feels that market is not good enough for me, I think I can go in and try. I can earn money by "unconventional" methods.

    Hope that clarifies.

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  5. Looking at the current scenario of India , the country still need products which are easy to use and learn. The open source projects are not so friendly to use and not easily available for Windows which is used in almost 80% of the computers in India.
    The point which you have put forward is really remarkable and needs serious attention !

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  6. Yeah my intention of asking you to elaborate was to know what are those 'unconventional methods'. I completely agree that open source is a great way to propagate and share knowledge. But what Ive not understood is how will small firms work on this model. ( assuming they are getting into the market...very little budget n stuff). So if you have any idea about this then please go ahead.

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  7. @Aayeha

    Probably http://www.extropia.com/tutorials/misc/opensourcebiz.html might answer.

    Examples I can randomly think of are:
    Facebook. I know Facebook is not open source but its Application Development Platform is open source and I think that was very crucial for the fact that Facebook could wipe off Orkut from the western countries.
    Red Hat they say earn a lot from Certification, Training and Support.

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  8. @Gaurav

    "Looking at the current scenario of India , the country still need products which are easy to use and learn. The open source projects are not so friendly to use and not easily available for Windows which is used in almost 80% of the computers in India."

    This is so true. Whenever we talk about tech to some Uncle or someone, if possible I give people the tip that Firefox is much better than IE. In many cases, I install it on their comps, give a demo but most of them are not willing to change. Its true that using Windows is easier compared to Linux but Firefox compared to IE?? Still no one wants to start using something new.

    So, apart from simplicity, its more that people dont want to be the odd one out.

    As far as simplicity is concerned, probably in near future we will have simple open source OS but its still doubtful that we will "change".

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