Open source in India

It was a great experience for me for the second year in a row to speak in India for a mostly Indian audience on open source legal issues. Last year the annual ITECHLAW Asia conference took place in New Delhi. This year the conference took place in Bangalore and I spoke on Distribution in Open Source.

It has been known for at long time that open source has great potential for developing countries. But there also seems to be the perception in the open source community that the love affair between open source and developers in emerging economies are somewhat skewed. Developers love open source software because of its high quality but maybe even more because it is free – that is free as in free beer.  The developers however have a tendency not to give anything back. They like to get the free code but not to contribute their own modifications back. I am not saying that this attitude always prevail – see next paragraph – but more than a few of the Indians that I talked to at the conference seemed to confirm my suspicion.

I will posit though that this will change soon as Indian IT-companies – as they already have to a large extent – moves up the value chain. As these firms are gaining ever bigger presence in the market for high-quality project management and consultancy the value that they bring to their customer will be service on top of the software. And for such a service based business model open source software fits like hand in glove.

Kapil Bhalla (right) and Rajeeva Parasar of Tricon Infotech
Kapil Bhalla (right) and Rajeeva Parasar of Tricon Infotech

There are probably many Indian IT-companies that already today could reposition themselves as “open source companies” as in providing services and development regarding primarily open source solutions. One such company is Tricon Infotech, two partners of which Reejava Parasar and Kapil Bhalla I had the pleasure to met today in Bangalore. Tricon provides software development & support services across the globe in different business models, which includes Fixed Price Turnkey Projects, Time & Material Projects, Offshore Maintenance & Offshore Development Center.

As Kapil and Rajeeva firmly convinced me the majority of the platforms and projects that Tricon today builds their solutions for customer is in fact open source. And Tricon also contributes code back to several open source projects.

I don’t see any reason why a company like Tricon shouldn’t to the benefit of all – in particular the company itself – become much more active in the open source communities relevant to their solutions and brand this commitment much more openly. Why not reinvent themselves as an open source service and development company?

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