Muktware broke the story that ELCOT (Tamil Nadu government) recently made modifications to a tender dropping Linux from the laptops they government was ordering for students. Microsoft's Windows was selected as the default operating system for the laptops, cutting out Linux and Open Source vendors from participating in the tender.
The story created quite a lot of buzz. In response to to coverage, the government has now changed its stand on the default operating system. According to reports, Tamil Nadu Minister for Information Technology R.B. Udhayakumar says:
ELCOT wishes to clarify that Linux Operating System will be made available to the vendors for preloading in laptops. The hard disk drive of 160 GB can be used for loading multiple operating systems. A Linux Operating System under the name ‘Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS),' which has been developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Chennai, a Government of India organisation, will be preloaded in the laptops. This will ensure that Linux Operating System with its drivers will be made available to the students uniformly. The cost for providing the Linux OS along with the drivers would be borne by ELCOT. Thus, the freedom of the students to choose the operating system of their choice is encouraged.
Governments should adopt a vendor-independent approach where they are not locked into a particular vendor. Choose Windows as the default OS meant locking the mammoth project to on vendor. It will also have deeper impact on India's own Linux-based distribution BOSS. You can read our breaking story here.