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Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Foss – Strengthening the Indian Software Industry

INVC,, Delhi,,** Major initiative has been taken by the Department of Information Technology to create an eco-system for all round promotion of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS), bridging the digital divide and strengthening the Indian software industry. The National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software (NRCFOSS) has been set up at C-DAC and AU-KBC Research Centre, Chennai, to provide design, development, training and support services to the FOSS community in the country and also strengthen the global FOSS ecosystem by contributing to the open source pool (www.nrcfoss.org.in). Home Grown Operating System A home grown operating system, GNU/Linux based Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS) with Indian language support, has been developed by NRCFOSS. BOSS desktop version 3.1 and BOSS server version 1.0 have been released for deployment. Currently the BOSS Desktop version supports 18 Indian languages – Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. BOSS comes with features like multimedia support, cameras and scanners, USB devices, on-line dictionary, internet tools and support for integrating mobile internet devices etc. BOSS can be downloaded for installation from http://www.bosslinux.in. Both BOSS desktop and server versions have obtained Linux Standard Base (LSB) certification from “The Linux Foundation” which ensures that any LSB (Linux Standard Base) certified application will work correctly on BOSS. BOSS has implemented the security features such as Security Audit, Cryptographic Support, Object reuse functionality, User Data Protection, Identification and Authentication, Security Management etc. Providing Technical Support A network of BOSS Support Centres is being established across the country to provide technical support to the users. So far, 13 such centres are operational including all C-DAC centres and DIT Delhi. A National Help-Desk has also been set up to provide support to users on telephone, email and web. Data Centre has been established in CDAC, Chennai with capacity of 2 Tera Bytes and connectivity of 8 Mbps, where BOSS repository has been stored for access by users and developers. So far over 80000 BOSS DVDs have been distributed freely to users in various forums and events. Efforts for Adoption NRCFOSS has made extensive efforts for adoption of BOSS in the country by way of creating awareness through training/ workshops and providing handholding support resulting in BOSS proliferation in many states. For e-governance applications, BOSS has been deployed in Chattisgarh and Kerala. A MOU has been signed with National Informatics Centre (NIC) for deployment of BOSS across the country in e-governance applications developed and maintained by NIC. Punjab State Government is deploying BOSS in around 5000 schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan programme. Indian Navy has adopted BOSS for their office applications. An educational variant of BOSS named as EduBOSS targeted towards school children has been brought and is being implemented on a pilot basis in some schools in Kerala through the State’s IT@Schools programme. Augmenting Availability NRCFOSS has initiated various measures like organizing regular teacher training programs, workshops and events to augment the availability of FOSS enabled manpower which could be used by the industry. NRCFOSS has been interacting with various universities and academic institutions to assist them in designing the syllabus, developing course materials and organizing teachers’ training. FOSS subjects have been introduced as core paper in Anna University Coimbatore and as electives in various other universities and autonomous institutions. Other colleges/ Universities are in pipeline for introduction of FOSS electives in curriculum. NRCFOSS Phase II project has been launched in consortium mode with C-DAC (Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi), IIT Bombay, IIT Madras and AU-KBC Research Centre, Chennai with the broad objectives of R&D on specific FOSS technologies & solutions such as operating systems, compilers, SaaS (Software as a Service), mobile applications and interoperability; FOSS tools adoption, FOSS impact analysis, e-learning tools, FOSS certification and setting up of FOSS repositories. Under the project an Open Source Walk-in e-learning Solutions laboratory with focus on standards compliance and offering certification course in open source software has been established at CDAC Hyderabad. Enhancements in GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) have been undertaken at IIT Bombay under the project. The project would help in building a robust eco-system for speedy adoption of FOSS in the country. *Inputs from the Department of Information Technology.

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