Regunath Balasubramanian, principal architect of the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) said during an event, "The main reason to use OSS (open source software) in the Aadhaar project was not to save cost but to avoid vendor lock-in. And it was important that we have an ability to replace hardware, software or storage."
Interestingly according to the UIDAI web site there is no metion of any open source technologies used for the project. The only layer which seems to be using some kind of low-level open source is UID Biometric Middleware layer. Rest of the infrastructure is supposedly using proprietary technologies.
Since the web site doesn't give any info on the technologies used, it won't be wrong to conclude that the UID servers are running Microsoft Windows and use Microsoft's proprietary technologies as much as possible. I wonder why the project has not published information on the technologies used as it is a government project funded by the taxpayers money. Should not taxpayers know who is benefitting from this massive project?
If this be the case, why is UID project wasting tax-payer's money on Microsoft's expensive and highly insecure servers, when the Indian government has its own GNU/Linux based operating system. UIDAI project is being headed by Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys. Infosys is known for its blind support for Microsoft. Infosys was one of those companies supported Microsoft controverical OOXML[PDF] format despite India's objections to the format.
If you look at the awarded contract, you don't find a single Open Source vendor including Red Hat, Novell or Canonical. Most contracts have gone to Microsoft's pet companies such as Wipro, HCL and TCS (the same companies which supported Microsoft's OOXML format). Why are Open Source players missing from such a massive project.
UID Is Using Microsoft Technologies
According to a discussion in the Indian LUG, it appears UIDAI is clearly using and pushing Microsoft technologies. One poster writes, "I've been to the UID registration camp in my area. There is no involvement of linux/open source software. The data entry module was made in .NET and was working on an HCL laptop with Windows. The backend, AFAIK, is running on windows servers with MS SQL Server. It is truly sad."
Balasubramanian further said during the event, "We have also reduced licence cost for the world’s largest distributed deployment on thousands of CPU cores. We used OSS like Apache Hadoop, Hive, ZooKeeper, MySQL, Tomcat, Spring and Mule."
UID Endorses Microsoft Technologies
The UIDAI docuements which provides step-by-step instructions to install the AADHAAR Enrolment Client and Biometric components needed for Biometrics capturing clearly requires Microsoft technologis.
Here is an excerpt from the document:
This document provides step-by-step instructions to install the AADHAAR Enrolment Client and Biometric components needed for Biometrics capturing. The document is not intended to be a user manual for the AADHAAR Enrolment Client. The application has been built to work with the given pre-requisites.
1.1 Installation Pre-requisites
• Operating System: Windows XP SP3 OR Windows 7 (only 32-bit editions)
• Windows Installer 4.5
• Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 SP1
• Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express
• Aadhaar QSS SDK Setup
• Vendor Device Manager
All the above mentioned Pre-requisites are mandatory. The 'Enrolment Client' application should be installed & executed only after the successful installation of the pre-requisites.
You can see how the UID project has made Microsoft technologies mandatory. You can't use it without Microsoft. There is no mention of Linux in this important document.
That clearly states that other than the already popular and powerful open source technologies such as Apache and MySQL rest of the stack is proprietary. Calling UID/Aadhar an Open Source project is like calling a Tata tractor a Mercedes just because one of its four tyres is a Mercedes tyre.
I can conclude that looking at the IT stack of UID, it is a pure proprietary project.