Penguin Attacks India

April 09, 2006

The advent of GNU/Linux in Indian tech field is getting more attention. Initially, it was small with organizations like FSF India and restricted to academia. Richard Stallman and others had always encouraged the enthusiasm shown by Indians towards the open source movement. Though we haven't been as active as the Brazilians, Chinese or the Japanese, but we have our own good stories. It is a start, and is heading in the right direction.

It is a well known fact that piracy is a well-known problem in the Indian software market. Many don't buy the original software, but get the cracked versions as the prices of the originals are too high and most softwares can be illegally downloaded from the internet.

But slowly people, especially the millions of young generation who are working in the IT field, are showing more interest not just in using but are also contributing towards the IT boom. And open source movement is excelling in attracting many talented Indians.

Indian companies were till now skeptical and slow in embracing GNU/Linux (academia especially IITs and IIITs were quick enough to tap the growing Linux fever) into their mainstream business. It started with RedHat's strong marketing of the benefits of GNU/Linux over other OS available in the market.

Indian companies saw a two-way benefit: firstly, more stability and security and secondly cheaper costs (TCO, this is pretty controversial but the facts weigh more against Microsoft). Indian tech force never had the dearth of skilled personnel and hence they did not mind paying more to offset the costs of the transition.

We knew about the Linux implementation for UTI Bank's call centers about a year back. They now boast of 99.99 percent uptime. The Linux empire started to grow with companies like IDBI, Canara Bank, New India Assurance, LIC, BSNL, IRCTC, ABN Amro, Airtel and even the governments of Maharashtra and West Bengal using GNU/Linux in their businesses.

Recently, RedHat got a fat contract for LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India). Quoting

"LIC will deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux across its 2,048 branches, 100 divisional offices, seven zonal offices, head office, subsidiary offices and overseas locations."

I see many Debian packages being made by young students learning Linux and it really makes me happy to use them. There is KDE support for Indian languages, there are Linux OS tailor made for Indians, and this is just the beginning. There are Linux User groups (LUGs) all over India like this in Delhi, this in Chennai, this in Mumbai and this. More here.

Maybe India has realized that if we can work on software for others, maybe we can also work on software for ourselves.

The day is not far when this saying would hold good: "The sun never sets in the Penguin empire"

The author is a grad student, interested in writing about anything and everything, rarely nothing. Grad life has left him with so much free time (and driven to such extremes of insanity) that he intends to set up an ashram for people like him. Ever heard of Swami Pavanananda? Guru-dakshina accepted here.
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Penguin Attacks India


Author: Pavan


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April 9, 2006
02:34 AM

thats great to hear. Certainly realizing the value of Linux will help govt companies make most out of it.

April 9, 2006
11:48 PM

Yes, and it gives us an edge. It also reduces chances of monopoly and arm-twisting strategies by big corps.

July 14, 2006
01:38 AM

Thats the spirit !!! We'll bring an onslaught of Open Source Software as has never been seen before.
Make others aware that you can actually BUY OSS legally without the guilt (or the drudgery) of installing pirated Software. is my start-up venture in this direction.

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