Sunil Thakare :: Open Source Evangelist

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Government Open Source Policies: A Cyber-defense system to protect espionage.

In 2004, India’s then President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam insisted on open source in defense(1). In another public-sector boost to open-source software, then Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam called for his country’s military to use such non-proprietary technology to ward off cyber-security threats. Dr. Kalam, then President of India and a former head of India’s defense research and development organization and architect of the guided missile program, has been a supporter of open-source software. The mission was stopped after he retire from President’s post.

On Third of August’11, McAfee Inc. has published 14-page report on cyber espionage.

“With the goal of raising the level of public awareness today we are publishing the most comprehensive analysis ever revealed of victim profiles from a five-year targeted operation by one specific actor…This is further evidence that we need a strong cyber-defense system in this country.” writes Alperovitch”(2)

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC: has undertaken survey to track governmental policies on the use of open source software as reported in the press or other media. CSIC in the report(3) highlighted a snapshot of the current state of government open source policy. The report divided open source policies into four categories: research, mandates (where the use of open source software is required), preferences (where the use of open source software is given preference, but not mandated), and advisory (where the use of open source software is permitted). Report also looked at whether an initiative was made at the national, regional, or local level, and whether it was accepted, under consideration, or rejected. In this report, it is pointed that India has initiated the Open-source movement but need acceleration.

Closed-source proprietary systems are the weak targets of such espionage. 


Since the first day of computerization in India, use of closed-source was spread from root level. No body talks about open-source and its use. Due to this adoptive policy, India has spend (Lost!) millions of rupees on computerization using closed-source proprietor software like Microsoft Windows, MS Office suits in government organizations, expenses on training for government employee, huge hardware requirements as MS products are always resource hungry. Govt. spends lots of money on hardware up-gradation and purchasing newer versions of such proprietary software. Now time has come to pass the bill on Open-source policy: its use in Government organizations.

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