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Open solution for `hang'ing problems

Most of the international players in Information Technology business are already working on open source possibilities.


WHEN PROPRIETARY software was ruling the roost in the computer operating systems industry, open source software (OSS) was something the Information Technology professionals were longing for.

The initiative to find an OSS was started by a US-based computer researcher Richard Stallman in 1984.

Then, Linus Torvalds, a US-based computer programmer, achieved a major breakthrough, when he introduced Linux kernel in 1991. As the system was open for suggestions and improvements, various technocrats nurtured the mission. The technical contributors then hosted the developments on the website for public use and further enhancement.

Though a user-friendly system, the proprietary software lost much of its sheen with the advent of the OSS, just because of its lack of flexibility and over-dependency on the service provider.

Unlike the proprietary software, the codes of OSS were hosted on the net. The entire software could be downloaded free of cost. Moreover, the user had the liberty of modifying the source programme to satisfy his specific needs, which was one of the key benefits but with a condition that the modified software should be hosted on the net for the benefit of other users.

Besides, the cost factor was also crucial. Many big business houses considering the higher cost of investments in proprietary software had turned their attention to the OSS for their needs. For, they not only had to pay a huge sum as licence fee but also had limitations in using the software as per their requirements while operating on proprietary software.

In the case of the OSS, the total investment was drastically reduced as the client had to pay only for the value added support services offered by the service provider. Further, the user had the full freedom of ownership.

Most of the major international players in Information Technology business are already working seriously on open source possibilities.

"Unlike other systems, the OSS could be used in lower end machines also. Further, the user could feel the stability of the software and even if he or she found any trouble it could be cleared at her end itself with the support of technical persons," says R.Sivarajah, Director-Operations, Winways Systems Private Limited.

"This operating system runs mainly with C and C++ languages. The software is a bit tough for the user who had so long been familiar with user-friendly systems," he said.

"Since OSS believes in participative aspect of functioning, technocrats and other IT professionals regularly meet and discuss possibilities of improving the system. Last discussion was organised in Bangalore in November," said Mr.Sivarajah

The system had all freedom for the user to modify but the complicated nature of the software leaves much to be desired regarding the future of OSS in our country, though technical experts are making sincere efforts to make it user-friendly.

T.SARAVANAN

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