UID Project goes into Collaborative Mode [Partially]

Unique IDentification Authority of India (UIDAI) has embraced collaboration in its latest message for client-side Software development. Here is the message:

We believe that a National project of this magnitude and importance cannot be implemented without the active support and involvement of people at various levels and in varying degrees – communicating the message of the UID to encouraging enrollment and monitoring implementation.”

This is an invitation to the Community of Developers to contribute to this important National Mission and develop the Client Software. Currently the Authority is seeing Client Software developed for any of the standard operating systems in standard development languages (eg. Java, C++ or C#). Developers may also develop some specific modules (an example, transliteration module, address normalization module) that can be integrated with the Client Software through well-defined APIs. In the coming days, the Authority will define these APIs and provide further details as part of system design.

The invitation adds:

As the Client Software will be required for multiple standard Operating Systems (Windows, Linux, Mac), the Authority will require that the Client software should be capable of running on multiple Operating Systems. Alternatively, there can be different version of the Client Software made for different Operating Systems.


There are rules in the effort as well. And the rules are proposed at this stage, so they are gonna be finalized as per inputs from the Developer Community:

QUOTE:

  1. Any Company or an existing open source project and even individual developers (each of these categories will, henceforth, be described as Developer) may volunteer to undertake the development of the entire Client Software or a module of it.
  2. When a Developer undertakes to develop the Client Software or a module of it, the Developer should inform the Authority. The Authority will give the Developer a registration number(Registered Developer). This will, however, be given only to those who, in the opinion of the Authority, demonstrate a potential for positive contribution to the achievement of the objective.
  3. The Registered Developers may seek answers and participate in discussions among other registered developers and/or with UIDAI regarding the software specifications and requirements using the collaboration environment setup by the Authority during the course of software development cycle.
  4. Authority is under no obligation to accept the ideas and codes developed. Acceptance and evaluation of the codes submitted is at the sole discretion of the Authority. Further, the Authority does not make any guarantees with respect to answering questions within a prescribed time.
  5. When a Registered Developer feels that the software or a module is fit for trials by the Authority, the source-code may be submitted to the Authority along with the Manual and other documentation using the code submission tools and procedures setup by the Authority. If the Authority is of the view (in its sole discretion and assessment) that the code developed could be useful to the UID project, the Authority may ask for further help from the concerned Registered Developer in improving the functionality or any other aspect as deemed necessary. The Registered Developer may be invited by the Authority to give the final shape to the product.
  6. If the Client Software or a module developed by any Developer is accepted by the Authority for implementation in the field for enrolment, the contribution of the Registered Developer will be recognized. However, the source code, documentation and IPR will belong to the Authority. Accordingly, the Registered Developer will be required to enter into appropriate agreements transferring all rights and intellectual property to the Authority for their product and contribution.
  7. This effort for creation of the enrollment software is completely voluntary and the Authority is under no obligation to provide any financial incentive or consideration to the concerned Registered Developer for the product.
  8. The use of design / drawings/ or any other material by the developer in writing the enrollment software shall be fully at the risk and liability of the developer. UIDAI shall not be liable for IPRviolation on this account and shall not be made a party to any court proceeding on this account.
  9. The Authority reserves the right to open source any part or in full, any of these components and contributions in the future for the betterment of the community.
  10. The Authority reserves the right to change/ cancel any specification, requirement, change tools, architecture, or any part of the system as required.
  11. During the development of the software component, a Developer will have the discretion to share/ not share the source code with other developer. However, once the code is submitted and accepted by the Authority, the Authority can make the source code available to with a view to further enhancements/improvements or additions for any additional features.

Unquote:

Pluggd.in being one of the largest connect among the techies in India feels proud to report on the latest development from Nandan Nilekani‘s stable. This might just turn to be the first step in adoption of open-source & format of API’s in the Government. There is plenty of benefits by executing a UID integration project for our countrymen where technology is the enabler. Pi believes that this is a great opportunity for techies & open-source developers around the world in doing their bit for this Country and help the project take off in a good shape; especially from – Rural perspective.

The beginning seems good, but generous contribution from the world of Technology & Social Media (the magic hand) would begin only after some proof of purer commitment and actual adoption of social tools by the authorities. At this stage providing just an email id: enrolmentsw@uidai.gov.in and accepting invitations for work seems a little less transparent.

To keep things rational, we think providing a “black-box” email-id does not serve enough purpose at this and alternate techniques such as wikis, blogs and other collaboration tools should be brought in.

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