Leverages its Open Source Expertise to support the Non-Profit Organization in providing affordable education
Colombo (July 28, 2010) – Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ: VRTU), a global IT services company that offers a broad spectrum of business consulting and outsourcing services, has initiated a novel pilot program towards supporting the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program, a UN endorsed Open Source project. Through the Virtusa Tech Reach initiative, the company is leveraging its Quality Assurance (QA) expertise and practices to help improve overall product stability of OLPC laptops at zero cost to the OLPC initiative.
Open source software is a software whose source code is openly published, often developed through voluntary efforts and is usually available at no charge under a license. However, many software testing teams are paying over the odds for highly priced software test automation tools.
As part of the support, Virtusa has done a combination of both software and hardware testing on the new XO-1.5s laptops, and multiple versions of their customized Redhat-based operating system. The team has worked on 12 laptops by dedicating 40 man-months so far. The testing has resulted in 800+ test scenarios for the laptops.
According to Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU), India and Sri Lanka have a low internet penetration of about 7% and 5.5% respectively. With an objective to reduce this digital divide, the OLPC program provides each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful and self-empowered learning.
Targeted at children from ages 5 to 12, the open source software provides them an opportunity to fully own the laptop, which is an open source machine. The children—and their teachers—will have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content.
Therefore, OLPC will not only revolutionize the way children learn, but will also scale up the eco-system of sharing between diverse set of communities existing in these countries. Kerala and Manipur are the first Indian states to have initiated the orders of the XO laptops. About 1,300 laptops for 13 rural schools have already been distributed in Sri Lanka.
Chamindra de Silva, Head of Strategic Initiatives, Global Technology Office, Virtusa Corporation said, “Most small and medium Open Source projects focus more on development rather than quality assurance. We initiated the Open Source Quality Assurance program as we identified an opportunity to contribute a lot of value to the Open Source community, utilizing Virtusa’s industry grade maturity in Software Quality Assurance.”
OLPC Community Support Manager, Adam Holt, excited about Virtusa’s contribution to the OLPC program, said, “Corporate professionals and community volunteers working side-by-side in worldwide collaborations are literally waking up our planet to what education can become. Eco-sustenance cannot work in isolation. Large organisations across geographies and expertise must come together to support such world-impacting initiatives. Utilizing its software and hardware testing capabilities, Virtusa’s contribution to the OLPC initiative is an excellent example of corporate support”.
Based on the success of the pilot project, Virtusa will seek to continue to partner and expand the program to this and other projects of social benefit.
Virtusa QA trainee, Dhanushka Nuwan, elaborated on the experience. “The Open Source has enabled us to engage and interact with a global community of OSS OLPC developers. I initially received an extensive on-the-job training where I was able to methodically gather requirements, analyze, and define scope and review testing in Open Source projects. We got an opportunity to be creative with testing new technologies such as wireless mesh, build automation frameworks, create new testing methodologies and learn many of the Red Hat skills.”
Virtusa has long been a pioneer in the development and use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The company has been a strong contributor to the open source movement and has implemented open source tools extensively, both within its internal operations and for its clients.
Virtusa developers got the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the power and flexibility of FOSS tools from the Sahana project for disaster management, initiated after Asia’s tsunami disaster in 2004. Recently, through the Sahana project, Virtusa helped in testing a coordination software website that was deployed for supporting the disaster relief activities towards the Haiti Earthquake in January 2010.
About One Laptop per Child
The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC) is a nonprofit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and others from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are inexpensive enough to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education.
Its mission is "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning."
To learn more about the OLPC project, please visit http://laptop.org