Major FOSS Initiatives

Major Initiatives in area of Free & Open Source Software

1. NRCFOSS - National Resource Centre for Free & Open Source Software

The National Resource Centre for Free & Open Source Software (NRCFOSS) has been established to provide design, development and support services to the FOSS community in the country and also strengthen the global FOSS ecosystem by contributing to the open source pool. Several milestones have been achieved including indigenized GNU/Linux Operating system distribution “Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS)” with Indian languages support, National Help-Desk for FOSS, National FOSS portal and Human Resource development in FOSS. The participating agencies in this consortium mode project are CDAC (Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi), AUKBC Research centre, Chennai and IIT (Bombay, Madras).

Research and development has been undertaken in the areas of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) stack delivery, Service oriented architecture (SOA) design, Service oriented kernel for Linux, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), mobile applications on Android platform, enhancing accessibility of FOSS Desktops for disabled persons, Human Resource development and On-line courses & certification. The outcomes have been presented in national/ international conferences and a number of research papers have been published.

2. BOSS – Bharat Operating System Solutions

BOSS, Bharat Operating System Solutions, is a GNU/Linux based localized Operating System distribution that supports 18 Indian languages - Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. BOSS has been certified by Linux Foundation and is expected to meet the stringent demands of e-governance. Desktop and Server versions are available for BOSS. Also an educational variant EduBOSS has been brought out for schools. All versions are available for free download from http://www.bosslinux.in/. BOSS offers a low cost computing platform, flexibility and choice to the end users.

3. BOSS Support Centers

To make BOSS Linux popular, BOSS Support Centres are being set up throughout India. In addition, creating awareness through training and workshops, distributing free BOSS CDs/DVDs among end users are all part of the proliferation efforts. Pan-INDIA BOSS Support Centres provide hand-holding support to users for installations as well as maintenance support. BOSS has been deployed in e-governance and education domains.

BOSS Linux deployment:

BOSS has been deployed for e-governance applications in Chattisgarh and Kerala. A MOU has been signed with National Informatics Centre (NIC) for deployment of BOSS/Linux across the country in e-governance applications developed and maintained by NIC. Punjab State Government has deployed BOSS in many schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme. Indian Navy has adopted BOSS for their office applications. BOSS has also been deployed in Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Haryana in various applications.

Recently, Tamil Nadu Government has released the Government Order for use of BOSS Linux as one of the Mandatory Operating Systems in all Government Departments;

  • Over 20 lakh BOSS installations have been completed so far;
  • MoU has been signed with HCL for BOSS Linux preload in all their systems. BOSS preloaded HCL desktops are being deployed by Govt of Orissa and CHiPS Chhattisgarh.
  • EduBOSS has been/ is being deployed in schools under EDUSAT project of Govt. of Punjab; schools of Pondicherry and Maharashtra; schools under EDUSAT society ;
  • BOSS Linux has been deployed in Tamilnadu, under the Free laptop scheme;
  • NIC Thrissur has migrated the RedHat desktop systems in the Collectorate to BOSS Linux;
  • Several promotion/ training programs are being conducted across various government departments, academic institutions, schools etc. for further proliferation.

4. Enhancing Accessibility of FOSS desktops

CDAC Mumbai has developed number of tools and applications for enhancing accessibility of FOSS Desktops for differently-abled users. Software based assistive technologies for differently abled users have been developed, named as, Accessible Linux for Visually Challenged (ALVIC). Gestures with Mouse (GeM) have been developed exclusively for physically challenged users. It is intended to mainly use gesture-based input mechanisms for various ‘navigation and input related tasks’, thereby facilitating physically impaired people, easy interaction with the system. Also, enhanced ORCA developed by CDAC Mumbai has been released; and Anumaan- a predictive text entry system has been developed and deployed. Training programmes and pilot testing sessions for visually challenged users have been conducted;

5. GNU Compiler Collection Centre (GCC)

GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) Resource Center at IIT Bombay has been set-up to undertake focused research in GCC covering Optimizer Generator, Precise Pointer Analysis and Simplifier Machine Description mechanism. GCC research has been recognized by international GCC community (http://gcc.gnu.org/); Training programs/ workshops are also conducted by the Centre. Several research papers have been published and presented in national and international conferences.

6. Open Source e-Learning Laboratory

Open source e-learning laboratory has been established at C-DAC Hyderabad. E-Learning solutions such as LMS, CMS, Authoring Tools, Video streaming tools and e-Learning standard compliant solutions have been developed. Certificate courses in “Linux System programming”, “Linux Kernel Programming & Device Drivers” and “Web Application Development using Open Source Software” are being run on-line by the Centre. Also, an On-line course on `Financial Literacy’ to be offered through e-Shikshak and Moodle, has been developed. It is available in ten languages (Assamese, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malyalam, Tamil, Telugu and English).

7. Technology / applications development for Mobile platforms

Technology development for Mobile Platforms, using open source software, is being pursued at C-DAC Chennai. A variant of BOSS titled NetBOSS has been developed for Netbooks which has a fast booting time and supports touch screen displays. The features of NetBOSS include multilingual support, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Android application development for mobile platforms has been undertaken by CDAC Delhi. The team has developed an open source voice enabled information retrieval system named as Swar-Suchak. The voice gateway successfully integrates the mobile telephone network with automatic speech recognition, text to speech for Hindi & English and web navigation system based on open standards using open source software only. Applications for live weather information, daily vegetable prices, current flight information, real-time currency exchange rate information and BSE Sensex information have been developed. Research papers have been published in leading international journals.

Research Papers

i) Title: “Swar-Suchak : Open Source Voice Enabled Information Retrieval System”

Conference Name: IEEE – International Conference on Recent Trends in Information Technology.

Conference Venue: AU-KBC Research Centre, MIT Campus, Chennai. (June 3 - 5, 2011).

This paper is uploaded in IEEE Explore.

(http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=5972474).

ii) Title: “Voice Enabled G2C Applications for m-Government using Open Source Software”

Conference Name: EGOVIS 2011 (Electronic Government and the Information Systems Perspective).

Conference Venue: University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France. (Aug 29 - Sept 03, 2011).

This research paper is also published in the prestigious journal “Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS 6686) pp.344-356 by Springer, Germany”.

(http://www.springerlink.com/content/j14618241825554q/).

8. HR development in FOSS

AUKBC Research Centre, Anna University, Chennai has taken giant strides in HR development in the sphere of FOSS. A pool of FOSS trained teacher and student community has been generated across India through awareness campaigns, training programs and workshops. FOSS elective courses are now part of curriculum in several higher institutes of technical learning. Open source Library Management System Koha has been implemented in all the 32 District Central Libraries in Tamil

Nadu as part of Tamil Nadu DPL project. Also, an Online M.Sc (CS-FOSS) program has been launched (http://cde.annauniv.edu/MSCFOSS).

9. Development of Service oriented Architecture for Kernel services

Dhara - a Service abstraction based OS Kernel design model has been developed at IIT Madras as part of NRCFOSS project.(dos.iitm.ac.in/)

10. Bharti Sim: An Advanced Micro-architectural Simulator

Today, there is an urgent need to parallelize the simulation software as the number of cores is increasing exponentially. BhartiSim is being developed by IIT Delhi as a highly configurable parameterized simulator with simple XML interface. The salient features of the simulator are Parallel Execution, support for Multiple Emulators, Transactional Memory, Accelerators and Network on Chip (NoC).

11. Localization and Hardware Interface for Android Based mobile devices

This project being implemented by CDAC (Chennai, Delhi) and ICFOSS Kerala has multiple research components aimed at enhancing the utility of the Android platform. Under the project, a Telepresence Robot has been developed which uses Android Tablet as it’s computing and communication component while using open hardware – Arduino board for controlling the wheel movements. The robot can be operated remotely from a desktop with key strokes while viewing the video from robot’s eyes (the camera in Android tablet). It also enables two way audio communication and operates over WiFi. Proof-of-concept Rovers has been developed which are controlled from Android mobiles and tablets, which interfaces through WiFi or Bluetooth and operated using simple gestures (tilt up and down) from mobiles. The computing and communication in rovers are enabled through Raspberry PI boards which in turn pass control commands to open Hardware Arduino board for movements of rover. The camera connected to Raspberry PI board transmits video, enabling vision supported control from mobile devices.

12. Educational domain projects

Project “Trainers Training & Students Talent Transformation” has been initiated along with CBSE for e-content development (enhanced with multimedia, experiments, question banks etc.) for Secondary level Mathematics, Science and Social Science subjects and training CBSE teachers. An e-Journal “Creative Computing @ Schools” has also been developed as part of the project. The project is being implemented by CDAC (Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore & Delhi).

Project “Computer Enabled Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) Using Adaptive Learning Technologies” has been initiated for development of a prototype model using Moodle (version 2.4) as a proof of concept to cater to the need of overall

CCE System. The prototype model contains Question Bank Management, Formative and Summative Assessment, Evaluation of Assessment and Aggregation of Grades of various Assessments, Hotspot animations developed for Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

13. INDO-US R&D Projects

Indo - US projects have been initiated at CDAC (Chennai, Trivandrum), IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IIIT Delhi to pursue high-end research in areas of Smart buildings, Power grid and Healthcare along with US counterparts. . Project “Pervasive Sensing and Computing Technologies for Energy and Water Sustainability in Buildings” is being executed by IIIT- Delhi, CDAC- Chennai and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA; Project “Designing a Smarter and Greener Electric Grid: A Sensor Data Driven Approach” is being executed by  IIT- Bombay, CDAC- Trivandrum and  University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMASS) Massachusetts, USA, and the project “Foundation of Trusted and Scalable “Last Mile” Healthcare” is executed by  IIT- Delhi, AIIMS- Delhi and CDAC- Chennai and Dartmouth College, Rice University, USA.