Challenges of Implementing Free and Open Source Software (FOSS): Evidence from the Indian Educational Setting


  • Briju Thankachan Ohio University
  • David Richard Moore Ohio University



FOSS, ICT, India, Kerala, IT@School


The use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), a subset of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), can reduce the cost of purchasing software. Despite the benefit in the initial purchase price of software, deploying software requires total cost that goes beyond the initial purchase price. Total cost is a silent issue of FOSS and can only be evaluated in the particular environment in which it is adopted, in this case Kerala, India, fora state-level FOSS project called IT@School. This project is one of the largest deployments of free open source software FOSS-based ICT education in the world and impacts 6 million students and 200,000 teachers every year. This study analyzes the perception of 43 senior FOSS implementation project officials. It details how FOSS was introduced and reports on major challenges and how those challenges were overcome in a secondary educational setting in India. Email interviews, document analysis, and online case studies were used to collect the data. The lack of adequate resources to train the teachers was the single biggest challenge in the adoption of FOSS. The emerging strategies for efficient FOSS implementation could be used in other states in India and in other developing countries.

Author Biographies

Briju Thankachan, Ohio University

Briju Thankachan earned his doctoral degree in Instructional Technology at Ohio University. As a certified Quality Matters peer reviewer, Briju designs online course for the School of Nursing at Ohio University. In addition, he helps GSG College in India with their technology integration needs. As an adjunct professor, he has teaches advanced Instructional Design and Technology Application in Education classes at Patton College of Education. While as graduate student, his team won first place in the competitive AECT PacifiCorp award. His research interest includes: Concern Based Adoption Models (CBAM), Secondary Orality and Indian Culture, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Education, and Instructional Design.  

David Richard Moore, Ohio University

David Richard Moore is the former Department Chair and Professor of Instructional Technology in the department of Educational Studies at Patton College of Education, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He holds the B.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech. He also holds the M.S. in Training and Development and the Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Design, both from Virginia Tech. Dr. Moore teaches courses in Instructional Design, Computer-based Instruction, and Philosophy of Instructional Technology. His research interests include computer assisted learning, simulations, and instructional design, instructional technology, and spatial response assessment.



How to Cite

Thankachan, B., & Moore, D. R. (2017). Challenges of Implementing Free and Open Source Software (FOSS): Evidence from the Indian Educational Setting. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(6).



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