Author: rsiddharth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 17 May 2019 21:34:20 -0400
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+<!-- pubdate: 20131025 -->
+# FSF India's Response to the Proposed Framework by Govt of India
+A half day Consultation Workshop on “Framework on Adoption
+of Open Source Software” 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].
+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
+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.
+## “OSS” to be replaced with “FLOSS” consistently
+“FLOSS” 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
+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 “OSS”, it explicitly rejects the idea
+that issues of the people's rights and the nation's sovereignty are at
+## 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
+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
+## 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
+FSF India opines that this document should propose a plan towards
+eliminating the need for proprietary software in eGovernance.
+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, “If you let
+someone use your version of the program, you must let him have it as
+free software.” 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, ”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.“ 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 “restriction”? Only if what
+he wants to do is restrict the public. Copyleft licenses say,
+“You can't use this code to restrict others.” 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
+## 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
+Therefore section 3.3 needs an overhaul.