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Dec 19, 2009

Use Free and Open Source Software for different applications’

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) can be used for a number of applications in the rural sector, Gopi Krishna S Garge, Professor of the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering of the Indian Institute of Science, said here on Friday.Speaking at the inaugural of the Anna University Free and Open Source Software Association (AUFOSSA), he said that most of the focus now was on the Information Technology (IT) domain. FOSS could be used for applications related to rural infrastructure, maintenance of records and capturing the rural wisdom.Inter-disciplinary interaction in FOSS would bring innovation and revenue in the future.

Mr. Garge said FOSS was the essence of community effort in software.Software packages that were available off the shelf might not meet the entire needs of the customers.FOSS helped customise, add the required functionalities and avail of the source code.

The FOSS was now available for almost all branches of learning. Yet, only 60 per cent of what was needed in the application space was available. “Apart from adding functionalities have far-sighted approaches. Come up with ideas that are workable and innovative,” he said. There were numerous opportunities to code, integrate and suggest ideas.

T. Kannadasan, Vice-Chancellor (Officiate) of Anna University, Coimbatore, said the association was an initiative of Anna University, Coimbatore and the United Institute of Technology.The university was organising awareness programmes and training for the faculty in association with the ICT Academy. It was also trying to give IT-enabled soft skill training to about 5,000 engineering students to enhance their employability skills.

S. Palaniswami, Registrar of Anna University, Coimbatore, said policies governing the life of traditional software were not applicable to FOSS.

Pradeep Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Amphisoft Technologies, said students had the opportunity to collaborate, form communities and participate in discussions through the association’s web portal.R. Mahalingam, Co-founder of United Institute of Technology and Vice-Chairman of the association, said FOSS was confined to educational institutions earlier. Now, it was a business model and many innovators used FOSS.

The association would drive open source software among educational institutions in the region for learning and research.It would also encourage the faculty and the students to contribute to the FOSS community.

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