e-Governance projects in the country sometimes suffer from duplicity and fragmentation. Development cycles for government applications tend to be long, with low levels of standardization and many applications exist in silos. All of this results in higher development costs, lower quality and long project implementation periods. Besides in many cases, the source code for custom applications may not be archived properly for later reuse.
Additionally it is to be noted that open source software and tools have had unprecedented success across the world. The world's largest internet companies like Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter etc. are largely built using open source software. Open source communities like Linux, Mozilla, Apache, Android, Drupal, Wordpress etc are driving innovation and low cost development across the technology world. Source code repositories like GitHub and SourceForge have made it possible for millions of open source developers to work collaboratively and share their code.
What is OpenForge
OpenForge is Government of India's platform for open collaborative development of e-governance applications. Through this platform, the government wants to promote the use of open source software and promote sharing and reuse of e-governance related source code. In 2015, the Department of Electronics & IT, Government of India rolled out the "Policy On Collaborative Application Development by Opening the Source Code of Government Applications", which provides a framework for archiving government custom developed source code in repositories and opening these repositories for promoting reuse, sharing and remixing. By opening the source code, the Government wants to encourage collaborative development between Government departments / agencies and private organizations, citizens and developers to spur the creation of innovative e-governance applications and services.
Goals of OpenForge
OpenForge has the following objectives:
- to provide a platform for maintaining code repositories and version control for government source code
- to promote a culture of open collaborative application development between public agencies and private organizations, citizens and institutions
- to reduce development cycles and fasten the rollout of e-governance applications in the country
- to deliver e-governance services and solutions of higher quality and security through increased transparency and mass peer review
- to reduce e-governance project cost and bring down total cost of ownership through a system of reuse, remixing and sharing
How does OpenForge work?
OpenForge allows two possible collaboration models:
- Government to Community (G2C): In G2C, projects can be created in the public mode by either government or community members. Subject to the approval of the project administrators, anyone can participate in these projects and contribute to open collaborative source code development. The administrators can choose to configure the project access settings in whatever way suits them.
- Government to Government (G2G): In G2G, projects can be created in a controlled mode by government agencies/members only. Membership to these projects will be on approval basis (by the project administrators) and restricted to government entities only.
A special case of G2G is when a particular government department wants a project for private use without any external sharing (i.e. use OpenForge's code repository and version control for internal departmental development). Please note that this private use-case is only allowed for government entities.
Types of Projects on OpenForge
OpenForge is targeted specifically at e-governance applications. Any project (applications, frameworks, libraries, SDKs, APIs, datasets, components, plugins etc) which deals with governance or civic areas is welcome. Applications without any apparent governance overlap are not allowed on the platform. OpenForge reserves the right to decide on the suitability of a particular application for OpenForge.