Economic Impact of Free and Open Source Software Usage in Government - A Report

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is increasingly being used by government departments around the world.FOSS provides access to high-quality software, with licenses to use and modify freely, and is usually available free of cost. When government departments consider developing egov applications to improve their services and reach to citizens, FOSS is often a powerful alternative to consider. When an organisation adopts a powerful technology, such as FOSS, there are both tangible benefits - such as cost savings, increase in efficiency, increase in accuracy, etc - and intangible benefits - such as increase in transparency, improvement indecision making etc.

Prof.Rahul De', Hewlett-Packard Chair Professor, IIM Bangalore is the Principal Investigator and Mr.Lewin Sivamalai, Ravi A. Rao (IIM Bangalore) Sharmila Chakravarty, Supriya Dey, Uma Bharath (Independent Researchers) etc are the Co-Investigators of this Report.

They have conducted a detailed field study over a period of seven months and the team members visited government departments in seven states - Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Jharkhand. The study involved interviews of officials, IT managers, IT vendors and NGOs. Two main departments were covered in the study - Education and Police. These departments were chosen because they had actively considered FOSS use and, in some cases, were using FOSS. Kerala stands out, amongst the states, for its adoption of FOSS for schools and the tangible and intangible benefits it has realized. Tangible benefits include massive cost savings, and intangible benefits include inculcation of a do-it-yourself culture amongst teachers and students and massive participation in the ICT education process. A detailed report can be viewed here.