The State of FOSS in India

| 13 June 2021

‘The State of Free and Open Source Software in India,’ a report written by CivicDataLab and supported by the Omidyar Network India was launched during India FOSS Week, 2021. “India is building Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs) across sectors, and for these to be truly successful, we need a vibrant FOSS community that can create innovative solutions on top of the open digital platforms built by the government”, said Varad Pande, Partner, Omidyar Network India.

Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is freely licensed to use, copy, study, change, improve, and redistribute. Over the years, FOSS has grown into something that powers myriad technology solutions — ranging from smartphones to the Mars Rover! FOSS has truly woven itself into the fabric of our everyday lives, and today, more than 85% of India’s internet runs on FOSS. But while India is one of the world’s largest consumers of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS), it is not a major contributor. 

COVID-19, in particular, has amplified FOSS’s importance due to the movement’s ability to bring diverse actors together to build, localize and deploy crisis response solutions. The report chronicles India’s FOSS timeline, moving ahead to examine the current ecosystem and critical challenges across four key actors, namely, communities, education, business, and government.

The report recommends that given the long-term importance of FOSS, governments, academia, industries, and FOSS communities must join forces to grow the FOSS ecosystem in India. Identifying strategic areas, and catalysing the Indian FOSS ecosystem in these directions will help secure India’s position as an emerging leader for critical technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, 5G, 6G, microprocessors and others. Learn more here.