Following the State Government approval by law on the setting up of The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), the institution will be set up at Thiruvananthapuram. In a Press Meet in December 2009, the Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri.V.S.Achuthanandan, who also holds the charge for IT Department said that the Centre has been planned as part of the Government's programme to promote free software in the State.
In this present era that has witnessed explosion of knowledge thanks to the Internet, it is important to democratise access to knowledge. The Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz theorizes that disparity over access to information and knowledge is humanity's single most potent cause of poverty and discord. This challenge to democratise knowledge has in recent years, given birth to a radical paradigm called Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), as a powerful alternative to monopolistic approaches to knowledge creations. The Kerala Government has time and again affirmed its intention to foster the State as a global destination for FOSS based software and IT enabled services.
ICFOSS is expected to go a long way in making Kerala a global FOSS destination. Some of the areas that this institution proposes to take up includes developing and customising Open Source applications, FOSS localization to Indian languages and speech interfaces on FOSS for the illiterate.
Vision and Mission
The vision of ICFOSS is to become a leading research organisation in Free and Open Source model of knowledge development thereby contributing towards sustainable development of society and to stimulate economic development in the region.
The mission of ICFOSS is to promote research and development in the area of Free and Open Source Software and the knowledge development model it puts forward.
- Identify and quantify the political, cultural and economic benefits for India as a result of FOSS. This would not just be restricted to software but also to issues like patents, copyright, digital content, scientific publishing etc.
- Develop an action plan aimed at making India a global leader in the open source community
- Leverage the open source development model based on community, collaboration and shared ownership of intellectual resources to bridge the digital divide
- Create a road-map for open source software development for India's software export industry
- Take the lead role in identifying technologies for different applications for the government, public enterprises, educational institutions, small business, individuals and other key sectors
- Create infrastructure for support for FOSS based initiatives in different parts of the state, ensuring that any given project or intervention, in any part of the State, even a village is able to access IT support services
- When required, ensure the development of software that addresses existing gaps that are obstacles for the widespread use of FOSS
- Pilot FOSS based interventions in sectors such as governance, education, or local information publishing
- Stimulate local employment through providing support services to FOSS based Virtual Micro-Enterprises (VMEs), so as to enable them to start, sustain and expand operations
- Work with local, national and international institutions and networks working in the FOSS domain in order to share experiences and to learn from one other