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Training on FOSS Tools Can Enhance Employment Prospects in the IT Industry

Advanced Training on GNU/R Launched as First Event in 10th Anniversary Celebrations of FOSS in Kerala.

Free and Open Source tools were eminently suited to stimulate employment in the IT Industry, said Mr. Satish Babu, Director, ICFOSS, Technopark, Trivandrum. He was inaugurating the two-day Advanced Training programme in GNU/R, jointly organized by ICFOSS and the Department of Statistics, University of Kerala. This was also the first programme of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of FOSS in Kerala. He said that the two-day training programme attempted to create a critical mass of trained resources in the Open Source tool GNU/R, so that the local IT industry–especially small and medium-sized firms–could employ them.

GNU/R is one of the most powerful Open Source statistical analysis software in the world, with rapidly increasing presence in the Business Analytics and Business Intelligence (BABI) domain of the IT Industry as a substitute for proprietary software that were both very expensive and also implemented stringent licensing mechanisms.

Dr. Sudha Purohit of Pune University, an authority on GNU/R and the author of a popular textbook on it, said that despite the superior power and flexibility of GNU/R–and the fact that it was Open Source and zero-cost—many faculty and students in India were not really aware of the product. She lauded the Department of Statistics and ICFOSS for arranging such a programme for the benefit of faculty and students.

Dr. Yageen Thomas, Head, Department of Statistics, University of Kerala, said that the programme targeted both faculty and students across the state. He said that it was very important to ensure that

there was a sufficient number of trained resources in GNU/R as there was currently a shortage.

Mr. T. Balachandran, CEO of Quantilez, a company in Bangalore and San Francisco, said that there were ample opportunities in the BABI subsector for trained hands. He said that the high cost and stringent licensing mechanisms of proprietary tools made it difficult for entrepreneurs, students and small companies to experiment with them, and this was, in turn, preventing smaller companies from entering the market. GNU/R was an ideal solution in this situation, as it was zero cost, had no licensing problems and was extremely powerful, he said.

Dr. E. Abdul Sathar proposed a Vote of Thanks in the inaugural function. The Advanced Training programme was attended by over 50 students, faculty members and industry participants from across the state. The two-day programme was held at the Department of Statistics of the campus of the University of Kerala at Kariavattom.


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