In a bold move two months back, The Supreme Court of India decided that it should start using Ubuntu Linux as the primary Operating System across all courthouse-offices. The earlier Operating System across Indian courts was RHEL 5 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), and that is why I call this transition a bold move. The quality of support provided by RHEL is unmatched in the world of Linux. It will be interesting to see how Ubuntu performs as a replacement, now that the transition is in process.
The Supreme Court prefers a customized version 10.04 of the Ubuntu distro for this migration. This deprives them of many new features of Ubuntu. However, Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is the most stable one to come out after Ubuntu 8.04, so this choice is a wise one. There are over 17,000 courts in India that will be migrated over to this custom version of Ubuntu 10.04, as part of this plan.
The main problem faced by widespread adoption of Open Source software has been lack of vendor support. This issue is handled extremely well by Red Hat. However, when it comes to Ubuntu, users have to rely on documentations. Thankfully, the transition from RHEL to Ubuntu will be accompanied by user training. Additionally, a video tutorial and PDF file will be available at all times, at the Supreme Court of India website.
For a welcome change, the guideline message says,
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.
This urges government officials to be familiar with the Ubuntu installation procedure and try it themselves. It also brings considerable cost cutting for the government.