decODE Conversations: Episode 2

| 2 August 2021

decODE Conversations is a series of dialogues with experts who are working with and on ODEs. The aim is to spotlight innovations in this space, while learning more about the envisioned outcomes and challenges that accompany them.

In Episode 2, we have  Varad Pande, Partner, Omidyar Network India, in conversation with Peter Rabley, Managing Partner at PLACE, and Venkatesh Hariharan, India Representative at the Open Invention Network in a freewheeling discussion about deploying open source software, encouraging innovation, and leveraging its capabilities for GovTech.

The conversation delves into the following themes (time stamps):

Using open-source in GovTech: 00.45 – 7.56

Transparency & Security in GovTech platforms: 8.04 – 14.33

Preventing Vendor Lock-in: 14.41 – 24:14

Practical challenges in adopting Open Source Software: 24.23 – 33:31

Building a thriving Open Source Software community: 33.40 – 40.15

Making GovTech and Open Source Software work together: 40.27 – 48.38

Evocative quotes from our speakers

“There’s this conflation of free with open source, and I think open source is as free as a puppy is free — they’ll give it to you, but of course there’s significant cost to develop and maintain it!”

“Proprietary software or open source — it all depends on how you draw up the contracts, and in India we’ve seen huge open-source projects run well, Aadhar, GST etc.”

“Why do you need to go through the rigmarole of doing everything open source?! I think it makes sense where you’re talking about big building blocks for critical, nation-wide systems.”

“We need to build a cadre of people that can build open source — that’s a major re-skilling challenge that we have at a massive scale.”

“We have this idea of creating some sort of a GovTech-ised repository of open source building blocks, making them more ready for adoption by government departments.”

“Let’s not be religious, let’s be rational about this!”

“Details matter, and we need to be clear about specifics — thinking about strategic infra projects differently from business-as-usual government projects.”

Episode Tags

Free and Open Source Software; GovTech; Accountability; Preventing vendor lock-in; Building Open Source Communities

Questions to reflect upon

This, and other similar conversations continue through our newsletter! Subscribe at: http://eepurl.com/hu4lHD

In the meantime, we’re leaving some questions for our readers to reflect upon:

–  What parts of the conversation did you find yourself agreeing with? Are you coming away from this a FOSS sceptic, or a believer?!

–  Do you think FOSS is the way ahead for GovTech? Why, or why not?

–  What sorts of conversations would you like from decODEd in the future?! Write to us at [email protected] to share.