Friday, September 11, 2009

Open source software can save India $2 bn

As Indian consumers and enterprises evaluate the option of upgrading to Microsoft’s much-touted operating system (OS) Windows 7, to be officially launched on October 22, the free and open source software (FOSS) community has fired yet another salvo at proprietary software.

In the year 2010, if FOSS is adopted at 50 per cent levels across the economy, India can save around $2 billion (around Rs 9,800 crore), suggests a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. Even a very conservative estimate, notes the study, pegs the cost savings for use of FOSS on servers as an operating system or as an application at Rs 138 crore in 2010.

Moreover, anti-virus software sales in 2010 is likely to touch Rs 2,000 crore. This entire amount is a cost that can be avoided if FOSS products are adopted.

For instance, based on the projected sales of personal computers (desktops and notebooks), the study indicates that even if 50 per cent desktops are fitted with a FOSS operating system, the savings will be Rs 985 crore; if 70 per cent have FOSS, the savings will rise to around Rs 1,380 crore. The study, done with help from professors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, covered 20 organisations that have adopted FOSS.

Examples of cost savings with FOSS abound in the Indian context, asserts Prof Rahul De of the IIM-Bangalore who conducted the study. For instance, the Life Corporation of India, which — with an IT infrastructure of 3,500 servers and 30,000 desktops — saved about Rs 42 crore by adopting FOSS.

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