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commit 02d0a67ad17682023b134d75f8b651ab8abb8cfa
parent ddb79170102a675730b4bb61e1bf9f403d65a300
Author: rsiddharth <s@ricketyspace.net>
Date:   Fri, 17 May 2019 21:34:20 -0400

Add md/news/response-oss-framwork.md.

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diff --git a/md/news/response-oss-framwork.md b/md/news/response-oss-framwork.md @@ -0,0 +1,179 @@ +<!-- pubdate: 20131025 --> + +# FSF India's Response to the Proposed Framework by Govt of India + +A half day Consultation Workshop on &ldquo;Framework on Adoption +of Open Source Software&rdquo; was organized at DeitY, Electronic +Niketan, New Delhi, on October 25, 2013. + +**The document is available on eGov Standards portal** [https://egovstandards.gov.in/Public\_review\_Framework\_on\_oss][1]. + +[1]: https://egovstandards.gov.in/Public_review_Framework_on_oss + +Dr. Nagarjuna G. from Free Software Foundation of India attended the +meeting and gave the following response to the draft document. + + +## Not recognizing that citizens are the primary stakeholders of Govt + +The document tries to balance the advantages of free software (FS) and +proprietary software (PS), and would like to present FS merely as an +option available. This neutrality is against the interests of +expanding the public wealth of the commons. + +Proprietary software companies have an explicit objective to expand +their ownership of technology, and industry bodies like NASSCOM +explicitly support these objectives. This comes in direct conflict +with the interests of the citizens in having control of the actions of +the state. + +Why should Govt try to accommodate proprietary interest that goes +against its own mandate? + +eGovt is an extension of Govt, and should not be considered primarily +as a platform for commercial companies. The companies can provide +services as long they follow the non-proprietary basis of FS. This +principle cannot be compromised, and the government must insist. + + +## &ldquo;OSS&rdquo; to be replaced with &ldquo;FLOSS&rdquo; consistently + +&ldquo;FLOSS&rdquo; is a more inclusive term because it includes the +two broad communities. This is partially reflected in naming the two +other Govt of India projects, e.g. NRCFOSS and ICFOSS of Govt of +Kerala. + +Though in the introductory section (2.4) it mentions that the document +considers the term inclusive of both FOSS and FLOSS, it is better to +use the widely used inclusive term than an explicit exclusive term to +bind the two communities. + +If the text says &ldquo;OSS&rdquo;, it explicitly rejects the idea +that issues of the people's rights and the nation's sovereignty are at +stake. + + +## Incompatibility of TCO with Govt agencies and FLOSS models + +What is the TCO for running a Govt or eGovt? Govt does not do business +with citizens. It provides services that are direclty paid by the +citizens. The cost of Govt is therefore granted by the people of +India. It is Govt responsibility to grant the ownership to +people. Please do not use terms that present the issue in terms of +commercial values to the exclusion of civic values. Acknowledging the +concept of free/libre software by using the term "FLOSS" explicitly +supports and stregthens Govt roles and responsibilities. + +To compare TCO for free/libre software meaningfully with that of PS, +the government should include the cost of obtaining the source code +for that proprietary software, and the right to flexibly use it. Thus, +if Govt considers TCO as a criteria to choose between the software, +then Govt must procure the source code of a proprietary software and +include it in TCO analysis. This should include the entire platform on +which an eGov application runs, not merely the customized code of a +proprietary software. + +Ultimately, the comparison of cost is made meaningless by the fact +that PS delivers far less. PS does not deliver the source code. Where +FS delivers sovereignty, PS delivers the state into dependence on a +company. + + +## Companies can bid with the Govt to create FS based on the need + +As and when a specific application is missing in FLOSS, Govt could +spend its resources to create FS by hiring the services of +companies. Thus companies could have an important role in helping the +Govt to create FS as and when necessary. This will enhance Govt ICT +capacity. This can also be a role of the proposed center of excellence +for FLOSS. + +FSF India opines that this document should propose a plan towards +eliminating the need for proprietary software in eGovernance. + + +## Licenses + +This section does the analysis of licenses with a yardstick defined in +terms of opposition to freedom. The proper yardstick when we talk of +licenses should be the freedom that users (such as the government) +will have, and how certain they are to have it. + +The copyleft licenses – the GNU GPL and the GNU Affero GPL – are +designed to make sure that modified versions of a program, if their +use is offered to the public, are available to users with +freedom. They have requirements, which add up to, &ldquo;If you let +someone use your version of the program, you must let him have it as +free software.&rdquo; This is defense of the public's rights, +including the government's rights. + +For instance, using the GNU AGPL is a way to tell companies such as +Google, &rdquo;You can adapt or extend this code to make a service, +but then you must make your changed version of the code available, so +we can run on our services too.&ldquo; The GNU AGPL is specialy +crafted to suit the freedom of users such as the government for +software that runs on online portals (including eGovernement +portals). Therefore, the state has every reason to promote the GNU +AGPL for software that is likely to be useful on such portals. + +Why would someone call this a &ldquo;restriction&rdquo;? Only if what +he wants to do is restrict the public. Copyleft licenses say, +&ldquo;You can't use this code to restrict others.&rdquo; Thus, the +government should prefer copyleft licenses when given the choice. + +Use of FS by Govt should not follow how commecial companies think +about licenses. Using their model of analysis for Government agency +will lead to complete conflict of interest. Governemnt needs to +protect the software freedom of its users and itself, and not the +interests of software developing companies that would benefit by +denying that freedom. + +The most important stake-holder for the Governement is the people it +serves. Further, copyleft licenses do not interfere with commerce, +except for unethical commerce. + +Therefore, the recommendation at the end of section 5 should be +removed and replaced with the following: + +Web based infrastructure used by a Govt project should be released +under AGPL, so as to maximize the extent to which improvements made by +others become available for the Govt to use. + + +## The idea of recommended Stacks + +The section 2.5 misses the essential point of the use of free +software. The free software community has created certain frameworks +(a better choice than 'stack'), one of which is GLAMP (GNU, Linux, +Apache, MySQL, PHP). But GLAMP by no means is the only good +framework. There are other frameworks such as Django, Plone, Ruby on +Rails, Flask, Java based frameworks etc. Each of these frameworks +e.g. is based on a single programming language: e.g. GLAMP is based on +PHP, while Django, Plone and Flask are based on Python. + +The state should not arbitrarily impose a particular framework. The +pros and cons of which free/libre framework to use for which project +should be left to the chosen on the basis of the function of the +platform by the competent developer and maintenance team. + +Providing some guidelines such as availability of features, libraries, +wider use base, existence of strong developer communities and support +groups, established credentials etc. may be given, instead of +recomending one over the other. + +Therefore the framework could recommend guidelines instead of naming +any platforms. + + +## SWOT analysis + +SWOT analysis section needs more clarity, rigor and elaboration. First +of all, two important things have to be defined and identified before +a SWOT analysis can be done: 1. which is the organization or agency +for which this analysis is done? 2. what is the objective for which +this analysis is done? Unless the organization and objective are +explicitly laid out, SWOT analysis does not help us to give any +direction. + +Therefore section 3.3 needs an overhaul. +