Thursday, June 17, 2010

BOSS is Nobody's Boss!

A few days back I was watching the much hyped "Life" series on Discovery Channel. The episode on that day was on Amphibians and Reptiles. It was interesting, but what caught my attention was an advertisement on Bharat Operating System Solutions, a.k.a. BOSS.

I was happy to know that Indian Government is waking up to such novel OSS initiatives. But that happiness faded away after a little combing of distrowatch and the project's own website. After all it is a Governmental project, and like other such projects - it's dated, ill-maintained, and never meant to be widely deployed.

Developed by C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), it's yet another Debian fork with packages more dated than the current Debian stable, Lenny (Remember, Squeeze is close to freezing and is unofficially ready for mass consumption). BOSS' software stack has all the usual suspects such as - Web server, proxy server, Database server, Mail server, Network server, File and Print server, SMS server, LDAP server, plus all major Indian language packs. However, all these and the underlying kernel, desktop environments and userland is very old. Now, the latest, at version 3.0, it still sticks to linux 2.6.22, xorg 1.3, gnome 2.20, OOo 2.2 and FF 3.

I ran it on my test machine (Dell Optiplex 360 - Intel Dual Core, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, Integrated Intel Graphics & Audio and Gigabit Ethernet). Looked sobre but worked poor. In comparison, Lenny was more responsive in almost every aspect - booting, program startup and overall stability.

To all users looking for an Indian Free Linux, I would strongly recommend a vanilla Lenny (or Squeeze) + the required Indian language pack from Debian repo.

I just wonder why India fosters such a distribution and drains big money into advertisements. Why anybody will ever choose BOSS over Debian, CentOS or Suse!

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