India's Main Opposition Party Backs Open Source

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As I've noted before, you can tell open source has entered the mainstream when political parties try to outbid each other in establishing their open credentials. Further evidence of this trend now comes from India, where The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the largest opposition party, has released its “IT vision”, document which includes a healthy chunk of openness.

One of the key elements of this is the following:

Government of India to standardise on ‘open standard’ and ‘open source’ software. An IT standards-setting body would be spun out of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).

Details are lacking, but more concretely the BJP says it will provide a laptop costing Rs. 10,000 (around £150) to “at least” 10 million students, and that it will be based on “free, open source software”. As the document points out:

The dream of a Rs. 10,000-laptop cannot be realised with pre-loaded costly commercial software. Therefore, our Government will actively promote free open-source software, including the operating system, which would also introduce the habit of innovation (‘tinkering’) in the student community.

As with the recent “visions” from parties in the UK, what strikes me is the depth of understanding that this document demonstrates about open source and openness in general, and the fact that no special pleading for its introduction is felt to be necessary. Openness, it seems, is now just part of the political toolkit.

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