Saturday, 6 June 2015

Throw Windows use Open Source and save India Post

6/06/2015

Before going for in details, I shall give you an overall intention of this article because some of you may not understand the technical terms in heading itself or some of you may think that this article is meant for techies.


Actually this article is not going to elaborate any technical issues or matters.  More than that of technological aspects, I am giving more importance to spending of Nation’s money and thereby trying to give an insight into how we can spend Nation’s wealth in productive manner.

As all of us know, India Post is a Government of India entity and all the spending is the contribution of the general public.

Every one is saying every time that Department of Post is huge loss making institution and it has to be reduced by introducing various strategies like reducing staffs, increasing the charges of various services, introducing new services using new technologies, etc.  Our thoughts will not go beyond that.

India Post is spending crores of rupees for the technological renovation every year.  Most of the decisions taken in the higher level in connection with technological implementation are only the continuation of the existing mechanism.  They are afraid of making some experiments in this field.  Due to this only, India Post is making huge recurring expenses in certain areas.  

Use of Operating Systems in India Post is one of such decisions which could have been taken in the earlier stage of computerization itself. 

Now India Post is depending only on Windows for running its software across the country.  Unlike other organisation, even a spending on ribbon cartridge is huge expense for Dop since the number of offices is very high.  Then think of the huge expense which is incurring while purchasing windows.

Various strict measures are taking in divisional and Circle level inorder to reduce the running cost each division or circle.  But why top authorities are not concerned about the huge expense recurring due the use of Windows Operating system.

While reading this, so many questions may rise in your mind like how windows incur huge expense?  Whether use of windows is an expensive activity?  If we do not use Window, what we will use?

I know that you have so many questions to ask.  I shall try to answer some of your questions.

How Windows incur huge expense?

India Post is spending crores of Rs for purchasing Windows operating systems either in the forms of separate license or in the form OEM license. 

For better understanding I shall explain the word OEM.  OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer.  If you purchase branded Desktop or laptop preinstalled with original windows OS, you are also purchasing OEM version of windows.  The price of windows is included in the price of PC.


Every time India Post upgrades its hardware, they need to buy latest version of Windows OS.  So we cannot say that this is only a onetime expense instead it is recurring in nature.

If it uses a Proprietary OS, the expense of related software should also be considered while assessing the cost factor.  Every Post Office are using Microsoft SQL server for its database management and each post office is using highly expensive ativirus software.  It is another huge expense for India Post.  In the sense, uses of windows pave the way for another expense.

Inorder to give overall picture of expense, I have created a table with proximate numbers of computer used in different units in India Post.  After analyzing the table, you decide whether the use of windows is expensive or not. 


No of Computers in India Post

SL No
Name of Units
Total No. of offices
Approximate No.of Computers
1
Circle Offices
22
1320
2
Regional Offices
47
1880
3
Divisional Offices
446
8920
4
Circle Stamp Depots
17
85
5
Postal Store Depots
46
230
6
RMS Divisional offices
69
690
7
Postal Training Centres
6
2412
8
General Post Office
21
1470
9
Head Post Office
789
24459
10
Sub Post Office
24683
53243
11
Sorting Hubs
89
1780
12
RMS Offices
450**
3600

Total No. of Computers

100089

Total Expense (100089x10000*)
1000890000
*approximate cost of Windows and related software
**approximate
Spending more than 100 Crore rupees merely for Windows is not a good move for India Post.

Computers used in the Postal Directorate, Software development centres, Sub Divisional offices, Speed Post centres and some specialized centres are not included in the table due to lack of availability of figures.  So the actual figure will be more than that of figures shown in the table.

What we will use instead of Windows?

Normally this will be your next question in this regard.  Answer is Open Source Operating System based on Linux.  Some of you may not understand what Open source software is and how it differs from windows.

In simple words, Open Source software is free software both for commercial and personal use.  At the same time the source code is open for modification and customization.  On the other hand Windows is a Proprietary OS and need to pay for personal and commercial use.  We cannot make any modification in Windows according to our needs.

Linux is the powerful and most commonly used open source platform across the world.  Now majority of the giant companies have switched over to open source platform from proprietary OS due to many factors.  

What about the security aspects?

No compromise can be made in security aspects whether it is proprietary or open source platform.  But one thing I can say is that the Linux OS is more secure than Windows.

Google, the final word in web world had already restricted the use of Windows operating system for their internal purpose due to security concerns in the middle of 2010 itself.  Instead of Windows they had started using Linux and Mac OS.

All the giant companies like Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Amazon, etc. are using their own customized version of Linux Operating System.  So why we are more concerned about security aspects.

Scope in India Post

The things are easier than even before because India Post is moving to web applications in almost all fields.  Till recent years the India Post was depending only on windows form applications which is not cross platform software. (Cross platform software means software which can be used in different types of OS)  All the applications developed by CEPT are based on Windows and .Net framework and these are all the output of Microsoft Visual Studio.

The amazing list of software used in India Post and its applicability has alredy mentioned in my post India Post an Unknown Wonder.

Scenario has changed a lot and now tech world is spinning around the word ‘software independence’.  So CEPT should start developing independent software (cross platform) even if India Post is now running on windows platform. 

India Post should select any one of the variants of Linux as its base OS for their applications and should develop software or web applications based on that OS.

Even though it is very difficult in the beginning stage, it will give more possibilities and flexibility afterwards.


One thing should remain that “You cannot reach as high as Google, Facebook or Amazon without software independence.” And “if you use Windows all time, you will be a slave of Microsoft all time.”

Editor S Kumar

A blogger from God’s own country, thinking about various things and speaking loudly about what he have learned and observed. And acting as one man Army against corruption and mismanagement.

7 comments:

  1. dear s.kumar .....what will be the cost of open source software...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Software is entirely free. No need to pay any licence fee. Only thing is that if you need professional software support, you have to pay for it, but it is comparatively cheap. Different Linux support companies are there to select according to your requirements.

      Delete
  2. The department spends crores of rupees in names of modernisation etc of taxpayers money just to be profitable to the select clientile big corporates what it has achieved the feel good factor and the customer satisfaction levels, and employees satisfaction levels and service levels have increased by all these means definitely no. Let Indiapost wake up from deep slumber. Make India?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great thoughts sir, but your ideas have to reach the authorities

    ReplyDelete

  4. I always spent my half an hour to read this website's content all the time along with a mug of coffee. gmail sign in

    ReplyDelete

 

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