[Fsf-friends] Knowledge commission and open source

Kush be_a_sport@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Wed May 17 17:30:53 IST 2006

Amol Hatwar wrote:

>> I had attended the press briefing, and one of the slides in their
>> presentation was on Open Source and open standards. Sam said that the 
>> KC was
>> keenly pushing for open source in e-governance projects and is trying to
>> convince the govt. of  adopting open standards. Since the objective 
>> is to
>> bring uniformity across nation w.r.t. e-governance projects, it is 
>> crucial
>> to have open standards. and the KC didnt rule out re-looking at some
>> existing projects and modifying them.
>> Well, lets see how far the KC goes to keep the banner of open source 
>> flying
>> high.
> That is good news. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Perhaps we 
> should keep a directory of the applications that the government uses 
> and on what platform... That will be a good way of measuring how Open 
> the government is to open source.
> I say this because a few months ago, I had a look at Delhi Police's 
> FIR filing application. It was done in Java and left many frustrated 
> users... As per my discussions with them, very little of their 
> expectations have been met. Rather than being a tool to help them work 
> effectively it frequently got in the way. Incidentally, NIC was 
> responsible for making this application; and guess what, they had 
> shown no intent of sharing the source with us or the Delhi Police.
> Warm regards,
> ah
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I think we will have to take multiple different approaches with respect 
to the govt adopting open source. The problem is not that conscientious 
officers in govt don't understand that open source is better but they 
are reluctant to act as they are frequently bypassed or interfered in 
day  to day working thru vested interests lobbying the political people. 
Open source gives the organised civil society an opportunity and a 
challenge to start becoming an alternative to organised government. Once 
civil society makes alternative information systems and methods of 
collaboration for the general populace, the existing govt structure will 
be forced to start reducing the establishment costs by giving value for 
money to citizens for govt services (as citizens will start demanding 
them) thru adoption of cost control technologies such as open source. 
This is something which has started to happen in Mumbai now specially 
for the municipal govt. Organised civil society is now taking up the IT 
component of the municipality (praja.org etc). Their system is not open 
source fully but by bypassing the govt IT machinery (which is liable to 
political interference) things have changed. Creation of new bureaucracy 
has been stalled and existing bureaucracy is being forced to act.

Praja is also working in Bangalore. They are bypassing the formation of 
new govt structures such as NIC, CDAC etc which till now had a 
stranglehold on every aspect of egovernance.


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