Pick a Free OS

Linux is a natural for India

Linux and open source offer the cost advantage of the software being free, and that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s important for Indian people who are flocking to Linux.

To give an analogy which people can relate to, I was speaking to a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) outfit. These organizations typically perform business activities outsourced from companies situated in the West. For them the cost of a Wintel computer is 60 percent of the employees yearly salary. When they hire a person they end up paying a huge cost for a P4 desktop with Windows and MS Office. If they move to alternatives such as Linux, Open Office, LTSP, etc. the savings the move can bring are huge.

Unix has been popular in India since its early days of computerization. Computerization in India started later than the West, hence India bypassed the mainframe and minicomputer eras and went directly to Unix and Novell.

This was because mainframes and minicomputers were very expensive, and not many India corporates could afford them, nor was trained manpower easily available. Companies implementing computers had to send people abroad for training or had to fly in the trainers. At that time the government didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t think computers were important, so the import duties were high. This made computers even more unaffordable.

Things improved when Unix came. It reduced the costs of hardware, expertise became more common, and duty structures, too, got revised, so all IT Managers in India worth their salt have used Unix at some point in time. They appreciate the power of Unix, and Linux is a natural progression. Most of them find Linux a better version of Unix. This also brings in a pool of talent that is already familiar with Unix that can pick up Linux very quickly.

Intel has been very active in India for a while now, and that has paid off. Intel has more market share in India than in most parts of the World. My estimate would be in the range of 90 percent or higher. One reason for this is that the Indian PC/Server industry is dominated by the white box manufacturers known here as \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"assemblers.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Most of these offer Intel-based solutions only. Since India predominately uses the x86 platform, and that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s where Linux runs the best, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s easy to get started with Linux here. But there are occassional Linux problems with incompatible hardware, particularly Winmodems.