Scores of new apps and platforms introduced seem to have not dented the confidence of the Linux community and favoritism sentiments nurtured by tech enthusiasts and professionals for the open-source innovation. Linux OS seems to have clearly demarcated an indisputable terrain for itself amidst the disruptive tech environment.

Owing to rapid increase in the number of open source projects in the recent times, most private and public sector companies are shifting focus to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) to meet timely  business requirements. To strengthen the global FOSS ecosystem and support the national open-source community, The National Resource Centre for Free & Open Source Software (NRCFOSS) was established.

What Is BOSS?

Post establishment of NRCFOSS it has made many significant efforts to encourage the open source movement in India, these include setting up of an indigenized GNU/Linux Operating system distribution “Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS)” in 2007 that supports 18 Indian languages. Post its launch in the same year, BOSS saw three immediate updates, unlike other Linux OS that only gets updated once perhaps every six months.

BOSS is certified by the Linux Foundation and is expected to meet e-governance requirements. Both desktop and server versions are available for free download and installation. Simply put, BOSS/Linux is a low-cost computing platform that offers users enhanced flexibility, security, reliability and entrusts power to make diligent choices.

Also considering the rising popularity of Linux amongst academics in India an educational variant EduBOSS has been introduced for schools.

BOSS support centres are being set up throughout India to make the product easily available to end-users. Also free BOSS CDs and DVDs are distributed to customers as a part of the brand’s market proliferation efforts.

BOSS/LINUX Deployment In India

BOSS/Linux is being deployed for e-governance applications in Kerala and Chhattisgarh as per the agreement entered with the National Informatics Centre (NIC). With regards to the product’s application in the educational sector, BOSS is deployed in many schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme followed by Government of Punjab. BOSS has also been adopted by the Indian Navy for their office applications.

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Tripura, Haryana, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands stand testimony to the successful deployment of BOSS in these states. With the end of support for Windows XP, Tamil Nadu government passed a mandatory order in March 2014 to install BOSS Linux systems under the Free laptop scheme in all its government departments.

Deployed On Over Million Systems

BOSS has been successfully installed and deployed for over 20 lakh customers. An agreement with HCL ensures BOSS Linux is preloaded in all of their systems. BOSS preloaded HCL desktops are being deployed by CHiPS Chhattisgarh and Government of Orissa.

A news report states, “BOSS has been deployed on over 2.5 million systems, but none of the entities involved with the project have a number on how many deployments have translated into actual usage.”

Researches are currently underway at C-DAC Chennai to develop technology for mobile platforms using open-source softwares. Also a variant of BOSS titled NetBOSS was introduced that offers multilingual support, faster booting time, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Workings on Android application development for mobile platforms is currently under progress by C-DAC Delhi.

What Will Be The Future Of BOSS/Linux In India?

Despite these noteworthy achievements and evident improvements in the BOSS/Linux platform, will it replace Windows OS in the near future? Is it time for people to start looking beyond Windows OS to maximise potentials of the web? Initially touted as the home-grown alternative replacement to Windows OS, is the BOSS/Linux platform losing ground to other open-source OS such as Ubuntu and SUSE? Or is BOSS dying a slow death owing to lack of initiation efforts by the Government and inefficient market penetration strategies in India?

An ET report states that BOSS offers inefficient customer support, lacks frequent updates and up-to-date coordination with hardware vendors to ensure seamless support across all technology devices. Following Chinese trails, India too wants to get rid of its dependency on Windows OS and work on home-grown operating systems to save on time and costs incurred for purchase of new license agreements and future product upgrades.

Since BOSS/Linux OS offers enhanced security features and supports local languages, with no extra cost incurred on timely product updates. There is a huge untapped potential for Linux in the Indian sub-continent and beyond, provided we make most of the opportunities presented today to set stage for a secured digital environment for us to thrive in the future.