The term, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), is a convergence of two movements, Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Open Source Initiative (OSI). Though these two movements are different ideologically, functionally both are the same. FSF stands for the moral and ethical side of software development, while OSI focuses on the economic and practical side.
The advocates of FOSS-based technology believe that India is going to witness another revolution called the gold revolution by automating industry, government, and affordable education through FOSS. In India, majority of secondary school curricula oriented toward proprietary products (e.g., Microsoft Office). FOSS-based education is still in its infancy. However, the Government of India and corporations are taking different steps to improve quality of education by adopting FOSS projects. With the guiding principle of National Curriculum Framework 2005 (e.g., connecting knowledge outside the class, enriching the curriculum beyond textbook), there are several programs that have been initiated to integrate the FOSS-based education in the K-12 settings. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is a government of India agency; its open source software division develops software that can be applied in the different sectors. For example, in cooperation with IBM, C-DAC developed RE portal, which helped to reinvent the education process in India. In cooperation with the Central Board Of Secondary Education (CBSE) C-DAC has initiated a project called Trainers Training & Student Talent Transformation. This project aims to create an e-learning repository for Math, Science and Social Science subjects and an eduFOSS lab where students can do innovative projects.
Though India has the labor force, FOSS-based training is lacking. To increase the trained labor force in FOSS, NRCFOSS has implemented FOSS-based teaching in the engineering curriculum (see a sample syllabus in appendix a) with a vision to produce a large number of engineering graduates with exposure, training, and skill in FOSS technologies. In addition, other certification and validation programs have been initiated to give informal training in FOSS. Industries are also joining to strengthen the FOSS-based education and support. For example, several companies (e.g., Red Hat, Novell, IBM, and Intel) have opened FOSS resource centers in different parts of India for providing internship programs to engineering students. Intel, in cooperation with the Department of Information Technology, has opened a FOSS resource center to integrate ICT in curriculum development .
An example of FOSS initiative in India – Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS)
BOSS is an Indian version of a GNU/Linux-based (http://www.bosslinux.in) operation system, developed by CDAC and delivered by NRCFOSS. The desktop environment of this operating system supports 18 Indian languages; this encourages the non-English literate to adopt FOSS. BOSS has been widely used in the government, and educational settings. For example, EduBoss, part of the BOSS operating system, incorporated the educational application (e.g., educational games, graphic tools) as well as open office, which supports 22 Indian languages.
Sharma, A., & Adkins, R. (2006). OSS in India. In C. DiBona, D. Cooper, & M. Stone (Eds.), Open sources 2.0 : the continuing evolution. O’Reilly.