The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), a government-owned organisation that delivers IT services to the southern India state of Tamil Nadu, has decided that its projects will be deployed on open source software, including Linux.
ELCOT decided in favour of open source because of its lower cost, compared with proprietary software from Microsoft and other vendors, said C Umashankar, managing director of ELCOT. Open source software also provides greater ease of operation and higher security, he added.
The company will migrate from Microsoft at the server and desktop levels, according to Umashankar. "My job is to save cost, and open source software delivers the same if not more efficiency at a marginal cost," he added.
ELCOT negotiated with Microsoft to lower the price of Windows XP Home Edition to 500 Indian rupees (£5.50), but the company was not willing to cut prices on the software, Umashankar said.
Tamil Nadu is a key state in India, and the decision by ELCOT to move entirely to open source could lead to the state government adopting Linux, according to analysts. ELCOT has already implemented a number of applications running on Linux for the government, which is now awakening to the benefits of open source, Umashankar said. ELCOT is also a computers and software procurement agency for the Tamil Nadu government.
Another south Indian state, Kerala, http://www.kerala.gov.in/ announced last year that it had decided to promote free and open source software in education, but would not make this compulsory. The government wanted to avoid a monopoly by Microsoft and to provide equal opportunity for Linux and Microsoft's Windows operating system in schools, MA Baby, a minister in Kerala's Communist government, said in August.
India's federal government has, however, declined to take a stand in favour of either proprietary software or free and open source software. Some Indian federal and state agencies have been beneficiaries of Microsoft's programmes to promote the use of IT in schools.