Open-source Software

Open-source software (OSS) is software that is distributed with its source code, making it available for use, modification, and distribution with its original rights.

  • Examples of Linux, Mozilla Firefox, VLC media player, SugarCRM, etc.
  • While the operating system of Apple’s iPhones (iOS) is closed source, meaning it cannot be legally modified or reverse engineered, Google’s Android operating system is open source.
  • Many other solutions launched by the government including Digilocker, Diksha, Aarogya Setu, the Covid-19 vaccination platform CoWIN have also been built on top of open-source digital platforms.

Indian developers are major players in this ecosystem. According to GitHub, a leading platform for open-source software development, more than 7.2 million of its 73 million users in 2021 were from India. India ranks third after China and the US.

Advantages of Open-source Software

  • Democratization: Without the equalizing force of FOSS, future of digital economy may well end up being controlled by a handful of Big Tech’s monopolies.
  • FOSS products are more affordable than proprietary counterparts and give increased personal control to creators and users alike.
  • By harnessing crowdsourcing, open-source software allows developers to benefit from accelerated innovation, quicker development processes and having more success troubleshooting when problems arise.
  • FOSS-led innovation will spur growth of new technologies like 5G/6G, microprocessor technology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and others by building indigenous technology capabilities.
  • Amazon & Google have both published open-source code that allows other companies to integrate more easily with their own cloud services. This strategy quickens adoption of Amazon and Google’s technology products by making it easier to use their services, resulting in more revenue opportunities.
  • Open-source revolution has taken place in parallel with the explosion of cloud, big data, and analytics technologies. The modular, fluid and constantly evolving nature of open source is in sync with the needs for faster, more flexible and more secure systems and platforms.
  • Without open-source software, companies would spend a huge amount of time reinventing the wheel rather than innovating.
  • Increased privacy and transparency: With data breaches affecting billions of people Open sourcing that software will let us see what’s happening.
  • Trust among users: more people will adopt software with trust that an open-source solution can be as trustworthy as a non-open solution.
  • Internet of Things boom: IoT growth is at least in part driven by the creativity of open-source software and hardware developers.
  • Democratization of AI and machine learning: Open source will democratize AI by opening it up to the community that will help drive its continued evolution and leaps forward in terms of both capabilities and use cases.
  • Governance structure: Digital Public Goods and Digital Public infrastructure along with community engagement has the potential to democratize the governance structure of the nation. More accountable and responsive governance.
  •, a FOSS initiative that engages more than 100 active contributors to build a timely interactive map to show live updates on district-wise cases, testing, vaccination, and more. Media, academia, and the government used as a base for their reporting, and the Economic Survey 2020-21 cited it as a source for Covid-19 related analysis.

Promoting OPEN-SOURCE Software

  • GoI had issued a Policy on Adoption of Open-Source Software in 2015.
  • The government has also made the android version of the Aarogya Setu app open source.
  • Major institutions like our courts, IRCTC, LIC and State Bank of India rely on FOSS to scale operations and provide timely and efficient digital services to millions.
  • GovTech 3.0 has been started to focus on Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs), the underlying philosophy suggests that the government should focus on creating the “digital commons”. Promoting OSS is a part of GovTech 3.0.

By harnessing power of the crowd, open-source software allows developers to benefit from accelerated innovation, quicker development processes and having more success troubleshooting when problems arise.


  • Initiative aiming at promoting open networks for all aspects of exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.
  • Based on open-source methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform.
  • Providers and consumers would be able to use any compatible application of their choice for exchange of information and carrying out transactions over ONDC.
  • ONDC goes beyond the current platform-centric digital commerce model where the buyer and seller must use the same platform or application to be digitally visible and do a business transaction.
  • Consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service by using any compatible application or platform, thus increasing freedom of choice for consumers.
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