Initiatives - Details

  1. R & D Programme

    ICFOSS has been involved in Research & Development in FOSS-related areas for use by Government institutions, academia and citizens at large. Some of the areas taken up for R & D include:

    • Application Localization: Localization of existing applications so that they could be used in Indian Languages. ICFOSS has supported the localization efforts of GNU/Khata (the web version is now available in 11 languages including Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam, and work is proceeding for the Desktop version), as well as Open Journal Systems (OJS), where Malayalam support is being activated.

    • Android Platform: As a FOSS platform that is utilized by a very large number of users, ICFOSS has been focusing on the Android platform for different types of R & D. These are outlined in the FOSS R & D Programme that ICFOSS implemented for DietY, Govt. of India.

    • Technologies for the Disabled:ICFOSS is keen to provide support to assistive technologies on FOSS platforms. Presently, ICFOSS is supporting the further development of the Orca screen reader through the Digital Freedom Foundation, Mumbai.

    • IoT and OpenCV: ICFOSS has been working on IoT prototypes since 2011, where prototypes in agriculture, ecology monitoring, and natural disaster monitoring have been developed. Further work is going on at present as well. The OpenCV (Open Computer Vision) library has also been used by ICFOSS to develop prototypes.

  2. Technology Development and Piloting

    ICFOSS takes up technology development and piloting of selected FOSS-based technologies upon request. Some of the work done in this area includes:

    • Open Source ERP: Based on a request from Spices Board, ICFOSS supported the adoption of an Open Source ERP (iDempiere) on an end-to-end basis from technology identification, vendor identification, project planning, rollout, testing, Go-Live, and maintenance. The project was completed in March 2015.

    • Microhope: Microhope is a originally a student initiative in making a low-priced microcontroller that could replace Arduino that was supported by ICFOSS. The project was successfully completed, and the controller is now being used for training.

    • Android-based Applications: Based on request from Kerala Land Use Board, ICFOSS developed and delivered a digital asset mapping tool used for assessing physical progress of projects.

    • Mapping with OpenStreetMaps: ICFOSS has been involved with OpenStreetMaps since 2014, and conducted a training programme in Calicut to student volunteers on this mapping tool. In 2015, based on a requirement from CDAC Thiruvananthapuram, ICFOSS is providing technical support to CDAC (and other including the District Administration of Kozhikode) in the use of OpenStreetMaps for participatory mapping of all roads in Kerala using a mobile app.

    • Free Mobile Platforms: While Android is a valuable open source mobile platform, ICFOSS has been also supporting the development and dissemination of fully free mobile phone platforms as well. ICFOSS has been providing training and capacity building to new contributors in platforms such as Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, Replicant and AOSP in partnership with developer communities such as Swathanthra Malayalam Computing and Mozilla Kerala.

    • Financial Accounting: The FOSS community had for long expressed the need of a financial accounting package. This was finally realized with GNU Khata, a full-fledged financial accounting application that was originally launched at IIT Bombay. Currently, its development is being taken up under the Digital Freedom Foundation, Mumbai. ICFOSS has been supporting feature addition and localization for this application, which is being used for the financial accounting requirements of ICFOSS itself.

  3. FOSS Capacity Building

    FOSS Capacity Building is an important contribution of ICFOSS to Free Software. Currently, ICFOSS works with Students, Academic & Research Communities and Government agencies for capacity building. ICFOSS also works with groups that want to work towards incubation, by providing pre-incubation services.

    • Student Activities

      • Student Outreach Programme: ICFOSS provides technical training and handholding services to the student community through a set of programmes including FOSS Meets, FOSS Cells in selected institutions, support to selected student programmes in FOSS, and the FOSS Young Professional Award.

      • Student Ambassador Programme: ICFOSS identifies Engineering students having interested in FOSS activities every year for familiarirsing innovative ideas in FOSS to the student community effectively. The selected Student Ambassadors form a vital link between the ICFOSS and students.

      • Student Internship Programme: ICFOSS identifies young talent from among the engineering student community and provides advanced training and internship to them to nurture their ability and talent.

    • Academic & Research Communities

      • IDSARI (Information Delivery Systems for Academic and Research Institutions): This programme is targeted at non-Engineering colleges and research institutions, and provides training on a set of tools that would be of use in managing academic programmes.

      • Training on Tools such as DSpace, Moodle and Open Journal Systems: Based on requests, ICFOSS carries out training on specific tools of relevance to Academic and Research communities such as Moodle, DSpace and OJS.

    • Pre-incubation Services

      • ICFOSS has been providing pre-incubation support to companies from 2013. The main thrust of the support is in technical competencies and capacity building, but also includes space in the ICFOSS office when available. An estimated 50 companies have passed through this programme during 2013-15.
    • FOSS Support to Govt Agencies

      ICFOSS has been providing support to different Government agencies for different technology-related domains. These include:

      • Kerala Assembly: ICFOSS provided support to the Kerala Legislative Assembly for transitioning to FOSS-based platforms for their internal text processing. The first phase of the transition was completed during 2014-15. Further support for a new workflow management is being considered.

      • Inventory of Organic Farms (KAU, KSBB): ICFOSS is supporting Kerala Agriculture University and the Kerala State Biodiversity Board for technology development for pilot survey for a mobile-based data collection system (including geolocation and photographs) for building an inventory of organic farms. This project will be enhanced to make the data collected viewable and editable on the public network by the farmers themselves.

      • Kudumbasree NRO: ICFOSS has been providing support to the Kudumbasree NRO teams for building of their beneficiary database in different states of the country.

      • ASAP: ICFOSS conducted a study on Alternative computing devices for school students under the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) of Department of Education. A video based teaching quality evaluation system using network cameras was developed by ICFOSS for the quality department of ICFOSS.

      • KSEB: ICFOSS is supporting KSEB in evaluating alternate computing devices like tablets to replace desktops in local offices.

      • Kochi Municipal Corporation: ICFOSS supported Kochi Municipal Corporation in evaluating and implementing the vehicle tracking system using GPS modules.

      • CDIT: ICFOSS has been assisting CDIT to make a transition to FOSS by providing training at different levels for different personnel of the organization.

  4. Advocacy

    FOSS Advocacy is an important aspect of the work of ICFOSS. Advocacy initiatives currently undertaken include:

    • FOSS Policy Advocacy: ICFOSS has been taking up FOSS Advocacy through different activities to project the progressive use of FOSS in Kerala, as well as the use of FOSS by the Government of India. ICFOSS undertook two Consultations Events in May 2015 on the newly-released FOSS policy of Government of India.

    • Journal of Free Software and Free Knowledge (JFSFK): ICFOSS publishes an Open Access Journal (JFSFK) to highlight developments in FOSS.

    • Open Standards: ICFOSS recognizes the need for Open Standards, and supports the development and dissemination of Open Standards, for instance, collaborated in development of FUEL-Mobile Localization module with Swathanthra Malayalam Computing, Fuel Project and Mozilla.

    • Studies & Surveys: From time to time, ICFOSS conducts studies to assess developments in the domain of FOSS. At present, an ICFOSS-IIMB joint study headed by Prof. Rahul De, is progressing.

    • Triennial International Conferences (Swatantra 2014): ICFOSS has been conducting the triennial international FOSS Conference, Kerala, since 2011, the last in the series being Swatantra 2014 in December 2014. This is an event that attracts attention from Free and Open Source Software advocates from different parts of the country as well as aboard.

    • Software Freedom Day: ICFOSS celebrates the Software Freedom Day. See the 2014 Statement here.

    • Code Free For India (CoFFI): CoFFI is an initiative to encourage social use of Free Software by groups across the country for solving local programmes. It was launched in Dec 2014 during the Valedictory Session of Swatantra 2014 by Dr. P. Balasubramanian of OTC/NIC, Chennai.

    • Internet Governance: Internet Governance is important ICFOSS because a Free and Open Internet is an essential prerequisite for Free and Open Source Software. ICFOSS participates in different IG activities at ICANN and ISOC levels, and also takes up issues of importance such as Net Neutrality, for which a joint consultation was organized by ICFOSS, ISOC-Trivandrum, SFLC.IN and Swatantra Malayalam Computing in May 2015.

    • Free Software Alternatives : Free Software alternatives for common software requirements are listed in ICFOSS web site for public awareness. Please see the link for more details.

  5. Malayalam Computing

    ICFOSS has made available the following, in association with various community developers and NGOs like Swatantra Malayalam Computing (SMC), SPACE and Digital Freedom Foundation.

    • Fonts - Rachana Bold and Uroob: SMC Released Public beta version of these fonts. It is available to download fromhttp://smc.org.in/fonts/ Information available at http://blog.smc.org.in/rachana-bold-font/ and http://blog.smc.org.in/uroob-font

    • Indic Keyboard: Indic Keyboard, developed by Swathanthra Malayalam Computing is a versatile keyboard for Android users who wish to use Indic and Indian languages to type messages, compose emails and generally prefer to use them in addition to English on their phone. You can use this application to type anywhere in your phone that you would normally type in English. It currently supports 23 languages and 54 layouts. ICFOSS supported development of 2 major releases version 1.0 and version 2.0. Release Blog post http://blog.smc.org.in/indic-keyboard-version-2-0-is-out/. The version which attracted one lakh plus downloads is available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.smc.inputmethod.indic&hl=en. Also available at F-Droid-Source code: https://gitlab.com/smc/indic-keyboard/commits/v2.0.2.

    • Varnam Ibus Engine: Varnamproject of Swathanthra Malayalam Computing is based on phonetic transliteration, and defines a particular scheme for each language. libvarnam is the core library that all Varnam projects use. It is a shared library that implements a transliterator, a reverse transliterator and a learning subsystem. ICFOSS supported the development of IBus engine uses libvarnam and provide off line input for Linux. Code available at https://github.com/varnamproject/libvarnam-ibus

    • Articles on Malayalam Opentype Modification: The complexity of Malayalam font rendering and ways forward including open type specifications are documented by Swathanthra Malayalam Computing at http://blog.smc.org.in/malayalam-fonts-and-rendering-introduction/

    • Libreoffice Localization: Malayalam localization of Libre Office is not complete and had lots of errors . Translations are now completed by Swathanthra Malayalam Computing compatible to FUEL (Frequently Used Entries for Localization) desktop standards.

    • GNU Khata Localization: GNU Khata is a free and open source accounting package (http://www.dff.org.in/gnukhata). The Malayalam localized version of the web application is made available and awaiting update in the central repository for public use.

    • Fixing Indian Language Rendering in Harfbuzz Engine: Fixing of harfbuzz rendering for Indian languages helped many projects in free and open source ecosystem, which adopted harfbuzz rendering engine support. These includes, Android, Mozilla firefox, Libreoffice, XeTeX, Google's Chromium Browser etc. Swathanthra Malaylam Computing worked with Harfbuzz upstream to fix Indian Language rendering. News file is available at https://github.com/behdad/harfbuzz/blob/master/NEWS

    • FUEL Mobile for Malayalam: Frequently Used Entries in Localization (FUEL a best practice for E Governance ) for Malayalam in Mobile devices was developed by ICFOSS and Swathanthra Malayalam Computing and and subjected to Expert review. All translations done are committed in FUEL upstream and a copy is maintained at https://gitlab.com/icfoss/fuel-mobile

    • Curating Mobile friendly Indian Language free fonts: Curated a list of best free fonts for each language and packed it for mobile vendors to integrate with android firmware. Fonts were selected as per following criteria : The maintained font list is available at https://gitlab.com/icfoss/fonts-mobile

    • Libre Office Malayalam Templates: Libre Office Templates as per Bharana Bhasha requirements for routine office management activities were developed for Legislative Complex.

    • Malayalam OCR (Work in Progress): Working on improving OCR in Tesseract Engine. Language data improvements are being attempted. Community efforts are being explored and copy is maintained at https://gitlab.com/space-kerala/lekha-OCR