The Supreme Court of the world's largest democracy has ordered all courts across India to switch to GNU/Linux based operating system Ubuntu. Prior to this move the courts across India were using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is mainly targeted at servers. More than 17,000 courts around India will now be switching over to Ubuntu from RHEL.
The court not only directed the switch-over but also took all necessary measures to ensure users will have no problems. The court has taken numerous initiatives to help users including setting up channels for support, proving DVDs of the operating system and uploading useful documents on the court website.
This is very important step for the successful deployment of any new technology. Many GNU/Linux installations fail in the government sector, either because of the pressure from Microsoft, as allegedly happened at German Foreign Department, or the lack of documentation and support provided to the user. Even Apple organizes trainings and videos for new users. So, the court's initiative is a lesson for the rest of the world as to how to successfully switch to GNU/Linux. Invest in training users and they will never complain, they will never go back.
Support And Documentation
The court has created detailed video tutorials and documents emphasizing the features of Ubuntu. The court has also set up an SMS channel to provide helpful Ubuntu tips and tricks to the users.
The court documents states, "To maximize the awareness about the features & functionalities of Ubuntu Linux OS amongst the Judicial Officers, Technical Staff and the members of the Court Staff, a free Google SMS channel 'UBUNTU-LINUX' has been created to send free regular SMS of Ubuntu-Linux tips, tricks & information. This channel can be subscribed by anyone having a mobile number.
Free SMS Channel. How To Subscribe?
You can subscribe to the SMS channel by sending first subscription SMS to Google Mobile No. 9870807070, the delivery of regular SMS to the subscriber's mobile no. is absolutely free.
To subscribe to UBUNTU-LINUX SMS channel, the following SMS (in small or capital letters) is required to be sent to mobile No. 9870807070 ON <space> UBUNTU-LINUX. This channel can also be subscribed through Internet by visiting the link http://labs.Google.co.in/channels/subscribe/UBUNTU-LINUX.
The court has invited all the Judicial Officers, members of the Court staff and the technical manpower i.e. Senior System Officers, System Officers & System Assistants working under the eCourts project to join this free SMS channel to get regular tips, tricks & information on their mobile to use Ubuntu-Linux more efficiently.
25 salient features of Ubuntu
The court has highlighted 25 features of Ubuntu which can be used by the users. Some of the features pointed by the court include:
# Live DVD - works as Installation DVD as well as a Live (Trial) DVD. In Live (Trial) mode the full Operating System shall run even without installing.
# Recovery DVD - can work as a Recovery DVD as when installed or even run in live mode, the Ubuntu Linux OS can recognize & access all the installed windows/Linux hard disk partitions in the computer and any external disks connected. This DVD can also recover data of any crashed Windows or Linux computer.
# On a Pen-drive - can be installed on a USB disk (pen-drive of 4 GB) making the USB disk an Ubuntu Boot-able Disk. Such a pen-drive can be used to run Ubuntu.
# Send and Receive Fax - Includes fax functionality for any computer/laptop having a fax dial-up modem. Any PDF file can be sent as fax to any fax machine. Fax can be received from other fax machine in PDF format
The complete list of 25 features is here.
Guidelines for Roll-out
According to the Guidelines for Roll-out and Installation of Ubuntu Linux for Indian Judiciary, "One copy of the DVD be given to Hon'ble the Chief Justice and to each of the Hon'ble Judges of the High Court with a copy of PDF file of 25 salient features of this DVD."
It also states that a copy of the DVD should be given to each of the Judicial Officers including those who don't have a laptop (so that they may use it in any other computer they may have).
It specifically mentions that a detailed video tutorial and a PDF file containing the list of 25 salient features of this Ubuntu Linux OS DVD have been uploaded on the Supreme Court of India
The guidelines further state that all the System Officers & System Assistants working under the eCourts project be instructed to download & watch the Video and understand the contents of the PDF file, so that they can enable themselves to provide support to the Judicial Officers and Courts for installation and use of Ubuntu Linux OS in the laptops and Desktops.
The most interesting part being, "The Ubuntu Linux Operating System can be installed by the Judicial Officer on his own also as the installation process is very easy, intuitive and self-explanatory. In fact, it shall be a welcome change and a desired enablement on the part of the Judicial Officers if they become self-dependent in this aspect also."