New Delhi: India is emerging as the hottest Asian market for Open Source (OS) with rapid strides being made in OS adoption in many sectors of industry, education, enterprise and government, as well as in the development of Open Source applications, says Robert Adkins, co-founder of Technetra, the Silicon Valley-based technology consulting company. Technetra develops and promotes open source software and solutions for government, education, IT, telecom, banking and finance.
In India for LinuxAsia 2006 that opens in New Delhi tomorrow, Adkins says, "Indian business enterprises are expected to spend $25.12 billion on information technology in 2006, that is more than 23.7 per cent over the past year. And of this, the Open Source market can look for at least a 40-50 per cent share as the opportunity."
The Rs600 crore market for open source software is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 35-40 per cent.
The three major paradigms of future growth of Open Source in India are expected to be:
1. A sharp rise in enterprise wide adoption of Linux or Open Source
2. Widespread availability and adoption of regional language computing
3. A sharp rise in deployment of Open Source based platforms and applications on desktops as the movement for 'affordable computing' gathers force.
The Open Source movement has made a breakthrough by demonstrating the scope and power of local language computing in India, taking away the elitist sheen associated with computing through English, used by just 5 per cent of the population.
The main drivers spearheading adoption of OS are industry, enterprises and large verticals and educational institutes who are enamoured by the tremendous cost savings and hassle free environment in the Open Source platforms. The benefits flowing to the OS customers are lower costs, stability and user comfort vis-à-vis proprietary software.
For a country like India, where less than 5 per cent of the population is adequately conversant with English, open source has made a breakthrough by demonstrating the scope and power of local language computing as enabler for percolation of benefits of IT to the grassroots
The growth in India is as much indicative of the global growth now recognised by the entry of venture capitalists focussing on Open Source; in 2005, around $400 million worth of investments were committed to open source start-ups, of which the majority was in application and service companies.
Gartner notes that India's technology adoption is gaining super momentum and expects a growth of 20.8 per cent for the next four years in business spending on computer hardware, software and communication products. Professional bodies including NASSCOM and MAIT have also expressed the view that Linux and Open Source products can play an important role in spreading e-governance in India, with low-cost local-language applications. OS deployment is also considered critical in IT education in schools where low cost software is to be the real impetus.
According to Adkins, "Among the more visible OS planks, desktops are emerging as a core area of adoption. Organisations are expected to make large scale switch over to adopt Linux on desktops to drastically reduce their costs with out compromising on user productivity. For verticals, OS or Linux provides strategic advantages for adoption across the segment. Government, IT & ITeS, Education, Banking & Finance are appear to be more active in Linux adoption in the coming years."
Gartner says that by 2008, 95 per cent of Global 2000 organisations will have formal open-source acquisition and management strategies. By then, Open Source applications will directly compete with closed-source products in every software infrastructure market, and by 2010, Global 2000 IT organisations will have to consider open-source products in 80 per cent of their infrastructure-focused software investments and 25 percent of business software investments.