Kerala Houses World’s Largest Free and Open Source Facility ‘Swatantra’

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Swatantra will house a Free and Open Source Software Training Space and an Incubation Center. Kerala is also the first state in India to adopt a pro-FOSS IT policy

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday launched Swatantra, which is considered as the world’s largest integrated Free and Open Source (FOSS) IT facility in the government sector.

The facility was developed by the International Center for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), which was set up by the Kerala government in 2009. Swatantra will house a Free and Open Source Software Training Space and an Incubation Center.

As reported by Indian Web 2, the initiative is aimed at enhancing the government’s agenda of promoting democratic access of information with the objective of sustainable economic development.

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As FOSS-based systems offer greater reliability, transparency, and efficiency at reasonable costs, they are rapidly gaining popularity across the world.

Kerala first state in India to adopt a pro-FOSS IT policy

In 2001, Kerala adopted a pro-FOSS IT policy, becoming the first state in India to do so. Eight years later, the state government started ICFOSS headquartered in Thiruvanthapuram.

In March 2015, the Central Government of India announced a policy on adoption of FOSS.

Besides this, Kerala has a Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment Act (SPACE), a registered society that has members from academia, the IT industry, professional societies and Government of Kerala. Its objective is to promote FOSS in academics, corporates, governance and for generating employment within the state.

ICFOSS has been organising a free software treasure hunt to promote its Swatantra International Conference since 2001. People can now host their own treasure hunts within an hour using the website code released by SPACE on GitHub.

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