When I joined Comat this August, the project which I had to start contributing was RBC TCConfig. Though this was started as a internal project for telecenters that comat was operating all over rural Karnataka, soon it had the potential to become a separate product with indivual value. Thus a couple of days ago, jace moved a part of the project code to Google Code. Now it stands as an Open Source project.
RBC TCConfig stands for Rural Business Center – Telecenter Computer Configurator. This was initiated to configure and manage the rural telecenters which are at a minimum of 4 kilometers from an urban area, where it could get technical support, which happens to be places having frequent power outrages and system meltdowns, connected by intermittent or low bandwidth networks. Thus managing these remote rural centers becomes a vital task for some one operating these RBCs. RBCs are places where technology is used to serve the rural people, especially in providing basic government services like issue of birth/death certificates, IRCTC booking services, Bus ticket booking services, land record document service and many more. If not the RBCs, the rural people have to spend a lot of time in the government offices in their local taluk head quarters which needs a lot of patience and most time proves to be a bit unnecessarily expensive too.
Thus, we were working on a management framework to configure and administrate these remote computers which are very far from our physical reach. We basically developed this framework to work on a GNU/Linux machine as the base operating system, if required there is a provision to run M$’s proprietary operating system on top of a virtual machine. The main features of this management system are remote monitoring, remote updates and installs, and remote administration of the computers. We have been facing many challenges during this project, which is still in its early ages with a lot of things to be improved from their current state.
The Google Code project for the same is an endeavor to share this experiences and make it open so others can pick it up, tweak it to their needs and implement as a solution to similar requirements of remote management of computers. We hope this will open up more suggestions, interesting ideas to improve our current framework and some free contribution as well.
Though I am a member of this project, the right person to contact for knowing more specific and technical information about this project is Kiran Jace. But you are most welcome to put your comments to this post if you have anything to say about our project. He had indeed plans to speak about this during the foss.in 2007 schedules to happen this December, but unfortunately his talk got rejected stating it is not yet an FOSS project. Hope we will soon be able to get a recognition of ours as a FOSS project,of value, considering the need to take technology to the rural parts of India. 🙂