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How Has Open-source Software Revolutionized Business Growth in India Many IT companies have built their entire business model around commercial open source, offering business value in the form of subscription services

By Dhiraj Khare

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Role of Open Source Software in revolutionizing businesses in India is significant. However, before we study this topic, we need to understand the quantum of these two terms (i.e Open Source and Business Growth) independently and then try to figure out how they sound like a synonym in a business context. So let's understand these terms one by one:

Open Source Software

The OSSs are the outcome of the several like-minded software developers working towards developing one software which has an objective to solve a problem while following the discipline which is coming from the Open Source philosophy. This Philosophy also allows copyright holders to grant users the right to study, change and distribute the software to anyone for any purpose. This philosophy not just helped in making software's faster and of high quality but also made it affordable for various businesses, governments and non-profit organizations.

Linus Torvalds initiated this revolution by releasing the first-ever open-source software known as Linux Kernel in the mid-90s, the software industry we see today is an outcome of many such small and big initiatives since then. Many IT companies have built their entire business model around commercial open source, offering business value in the form of subscription services (aka Opex Model) giving a tough fight to the multi-billion dollar proprietary software industry selling perpetual software license with YoY maintenance (aka Capex Model).

Business Growth in India

It cannot be achieved if we fail to grow our per capita income. The population has been the biggest problem for various policymakers in India and hence faced common challenges like:

  1. Reaching to masses

  2. Economy of scale

  3. Bringing transparency

  4. Self Service Driven Utilities and

  5. Security

Classic problem statement for India is even if you have to spend 1 USD per citizen just to provide a national identity number it will cost you nearly 1.5 billion USD. The even bigger problem with policymakers is to implement thousands of such policy which each policy implementation request major technology adoption and India in its current economic state is not in a position to afford unnecessary expensive proprietary software hence Open Source plays a major role in the overall upliftment of Indian Businesses.

Some of these changes are directly visible to the common man and some are not, but the majority of this policy implementation has been powered by technology and a large portion of government services in India is backed by Commercial and free open-source software. However, any project of large scale will use a combination of technology and it will be a mix of both the world (proprietary and open-source) but India being a price-sensitive market and we have a large population to feed most businesses and government try to make their software spend wisely. Some of the examples of projects with mass significance powered by Open Source are Eg. paying utility bills (electricity, water, property tax etc) or doing branchless banking(RTGS, UPI, NEFT, IMPS), income tax return filing, direct bank transfers, public distribution system etc.

All of the above examples belong to the service provider category, however none of this would have been possible if end users do not have access to the internet and a smartphone powered by Android (the most successful example of Open Source Software as mobile operating system) India is probably the only country which has 650 million + internet users and over 90% of these users use the internet via mobile device largely powered by Android.

Nutshell: We can say that open source software has democratized the Software Industry by bringing the higher pace of innovation at a lower cost of development and a country like India would not have grown the way it has grown without Open Source Software.

Dhiraj Khare

Manager Global partners at Liferay.in

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