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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Free Software Research Centre is coming up in Technopark?

Free Software Research centre

A research center of international standard would be set up in Kerala for the promotion and development of free software, Chief Minister told the assembly on Tuesday,The government had initiated steps in the direction, he said replying to questions.

He said development of Thiruvananthapuram airport according to the master plan would be completed by December this year. Land necessary for the project had already been acquired.

Free software History of Technopark

About two years ago, Group of Technopark Companies (GTECH) and the Trivandrum chapter of the Computer Society of India (CSI) conducted a survey, A total of 20 companies responded to the survey, among an estimated 45 companies that are engaged in IT-related work. The most commonly used operating system in these companies was Windows NT family (90 per cent), followed by Windows 95 family (85 per cent) and the GNU/Linux family (80 per cent). Most common applications of GNU/Linux were Email server (68 per cent), Internet gateway (56 per cent) and Web proxy (56 per cent). The most common client-side applications of FLOSS platforms included compilers and IDEs (56 and 50 per cent respectively) and word processing (31 per cent).

The most significant perceptions among the present users of FLOSS platforms were the following (average scores on a 0-9 scale with 9 for `strongly agree', 0 for `strongly disagree'. (a) The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a metric that includes the purchase price, and other costs of support and personnel, is significantly lower for GNU/Linux (score: 8.5), (b) Linux crashes are fewer than Windows (score 8.5) (c) Linux is appropriate for server-side applications (score 8.1), and (d) Linux is difficult to install (score 2.0, indicating disagreement).

Strong opinions of the respondents were the following: Linux is more cost-effective than Windows for server-side applications (score 8.3), FLOSS provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn (score 8.3), software accompanied by source code is better since it allows modification if required (score 8.1), FLOSS has less licensing and legal problems (score 8.1), mass IT programmes undertaken with public funds must not use only proprietary operating systems (score 8.0) and Linux is a conspiracy by a few companies (score 2.0, indicating disagreement).

However, there is also a perception - although weakly articulated, with a score of 6.4 - that desktop applications tend to be more user friendly on Windows. Another related perception - that migration of client-side applications to Linux is difficult - is felt more strongly by non-users than users. Many respondents felt that "free software has less licensing problems compared to proprietary software" and that "proprietary licensing policies are becoming a problem for Third World societies".

However, an apprehension has been expressed on a possible shortage of manpower in the Linux area. This offers a window of opportunity for training organisations, as the employment opportunities - both in India and abroad - for Linux skills is likely to increase exponentially.

And some techies were formed an independent forum for discussing the free software activities in technoprk, Free Software Forum - Technopark

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