Linux makes inroads into India

The open-source software is reaching further into government offices and major banks in the country, with seven new users of Oracle applications opting for Linux.

Linux is reaching further into government offices, with several state and private organizations in India adopting the open-source operating system.

Seven government and private entities in India plan to use the Linux operating system to run Oracle applications, the business software maker said this week. The agencies include the state-owned Central Bank of India, government telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam, the treasury department in West Bengal state and two private banks.

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Using Linux would result in savings of up to 30 percent in information technology expenses for the Central Bank of India, officials said. That translates into savings of $4 million per year.

A number of other Indian state governments are expressing interest in using open-source software, and Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has publicly supported open-source technology. Linux companies, such as Red Hat, are opening offices in the country.

Indian Railway Catering Services and Tourism said it has chosen Red Hat Linux to work with Oracle's e-business suite.

"2004 will be the year of Linux in India," Shekhar Dasgupta, managing director of Oracle India, said in a statement. "We see the banking, government and education sectors leading the adoption of Linux to run mission critical applications."

To counter the growing influence of open-source software, Microsoft is considering sharing source code for its Windows operating system with Indian government agencies, as it has done in China.