Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Open Source World and Kerala’s ‘IT@School’

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What can be the major reason for Microsoft Windows Operating System's success? Foremost among them may be, its deals with PC makers and its ability to catch kids at very young age. Once a person is very much familiar with windows, it’s difficult make the transition to another one in a later stage. One of my friends often says change is the only thing, which will never change rest are subject to transformations. At the same time, implementing change is a difficult task as well.

In my last journey to Kerala, I visited a cousin’s home. In between she gave me her Lenovo laptop and asked how to install 'Ubandu' in it? I just turned the laptop on, it was running in Windows 7 - one of the best sellers from Microsoft' stable. She started explaining her problem, in school (6th standard) learning is in Ubandu but her system runs on Windows. So she would like to use Ubandu in home as well.

The agent of change here is, Kerala government’s flagship program called 'IT @ School' which runs on Free and Open Source Software. 13 years back, in 2000, started with the formation of a task force headed by Prof U.R. Rao, this program currently covers around 8000 schools. According to Kerala Government, "An estimated 50 lakh students and 2 lakh teachers are now part of this project".

After talking to her for some time, I left; but her question forced me to think, if so many students are going to learn things on Ubandu and open source software, Microsoft is going to lose a chuck of potential market right away. More than that, a new generation is coming up with good exposure to open source. People may start speaking more about F-Spot, GIMP, QCad, Konqueror etc.


1. IT @ school - Government of Kerala

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