According to Sitaram Yechury, member of the CPI (M) politbureau, the government of West Bengal should be forced to use free software and GNU-Linux based operating systems in the delivery of information for public use so that costs are kept low.
Yechury said West Bengal should take the lead as some other states like Kerala have already started using free software. Yechury’s jibe against software majors like Microsoft earning super profits and turning knowledge into a commodity complemented Stallman’s belief that free software is essential for individual freedom. For Stallman and the movement he created, the term ‘free relates to the user’s freedom to run, copy, modify or distribute the software, rather than to get it free. The first step is access to the source code, something that companies like Microsoft guard jealously. The state’s information technology minister, Debesh Das, played it safe by declining to name any company.