Yesterday, Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched ‘Swatantra’, which is considered the world’s largest integrated Free and Open Source IT facility in the government sector. It’s actually an initiative of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) and aimed to provide restriction-free access to information for sustainable economic development.
What is FOSS?
As per the reports, Swatantra will have Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Incubation Centre & Training Space. FOSS allows users to run any program for any purpose without any restrictions. They are even allowed to modify the program according to their requirements or likings and distribute either the original version or their modified program freely.
Coming to ICFOSS, it’s basically an institute of the Kerala government responsible for marketing and popularizing FOSS at a world level. If you are unaware, let me tell you that FOSS is not a thing.
In 2001, the southern state of Kerala became the first state in the Country to officially adopt the FOSS IT policy. After that, in 2009, IFCOSS has been started by the state government in Thiruvananthapuram. Moving further, in March 2015, a new policy has been announced on the adoption of FOSS by the central government of India.
Kerala also has a Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE) society with a goal of promoting Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in various areas like academics, governance, and corporate and individual use. The society is supporting FOSS to also generate employment opportunities in Kerala. SPACE is currently having members from academics, the IT industry, professional societies, and the Government of Kerala.
Host Your Own Software Treasure Hunt
ICFOSS has also been conducting a free online software treasure hunt for the last seven years called the ‘Swatantra international conference.’ Users can also host their own treasure hunts within an hour. The website’s source code released by SPACE is available on GitHub under GPL 3.