Red Hat is to help the Communist government of Kerala, in south-western India, to deploy open source software in its e-governance and literacy efforts.
The Kerala government will make all efforts to develop free software, and will use free and open source software in e-governance projects, a draft state IT policy says. Kerala has also decided to promote free and open source software in education, but will not make its use compulsory.
Red Hat has agreed to train the technical staff of various government organisations to help them develop and maintain open source applications, the company said. Red Hat will also train Kerala school teachers in using Linux desktop software under a "train the trainer" programme.
The Kerala government believes that free and open source software is an essential component in its drive to democratise IT and bring its benefits to all sections of society, Kerala's chief minister, VS Achutanandan, said.
The Indian federal government, by contrast, has refrained from taking sides in favour either of open source or proprietary software. This means that Microsoft is running a programme, called Project Shiksha, to train teachers and students in government-run schools in the use of IT, while some research labs run by the government work on open source projects.