The Indian State of Tamil Nadu will solve its Windows XP problem by adopting Linux.
Tamil Nadu is home to over 70 million people and its capital city is Chennai, a hub for India's business process outsourcing industry second only to Bangalore.
The decision to move to Linux is outlined in this letter (PDF) from the State's Information Technology Department. The letter points out what we all know about Windows XP support ending next week, notes that Bharat Operating System Solutions Linux is a fine replacement for XP and suggests to all department heads that they adopt the operating system.
The letter explains that “the support cost for BOSS is very minimal compared to other Linux flavours” and that its low, low price of $0.00 means “the huge investment cost involved in purchasing closed software may be avoided, which in turn translates into huge savings for the Government.”
And that's before we consider hardware: it sounds like Tamil Nadu has no plans to replace its current XP PCs.
Tamil Nadu's web site lists 37 departments, 125 municipalities and 1,127 “Firkas” or revenue collection areas. We mention those data points in an attempt to point out the scale of this upgrade. If we imagine that each municipality has 10 PCs and each Firka one, we quickly get to a couple of thousand PCs. If each department has 100 PCs we're at over 5,000 PCs about to get an injection of FOSS BOSS.
We've not been able to find a source describing the number of people Tamil Nadu employes, so those are pretty conservative estimates but even at 5,000 PCs this has the potential to be a significant Linux on the desktop implementation.
There's also Tamil Nadu's influence to consider: the State may only be home to about five per cent of India's population, but is among the more developed regions of the country. Where Tamil Nadu goes, others may follow. If more Indian states start to embrace Linux on the desktop, the many announcements Microsoft made about Windows this week may have less impact than it hopes for. ®