You’re reading it here first: The team behind Aarogya Setu quietly open sourced the iOS version of the app on OpenForge, the government’s own open source platform, on August 10. People can’t raise issues on the platform yet as “pull requests” are currently disabled. MyGov CEO Abhishek Singh told MediaNama about this development earlier this morning. The server side code and KaiOS code have still not been open sourced though KaiOS is listed as a project on OpenForge.
The repository only has one “commit” right now, from Rajeev Arkvanshi, a senior iOS developer at NeGD. It is not clear how the government will consider issues from people right now.
Unlike the iOS client, the app’s Android client was open sourced on GitHub on May 26 amidst much fanfare and announcement of a bug bounty programme. The open sourcing of iOS code was more than two months overdue. Singh told us that NIC, the agency in charge of the app, will announce the winners of the Android Bug Bounty Programme soon. In response to our question about whether there will be a similar programme for iOS, Singh said, “I guess so. NIC should be notifying it.” We have reached out to the NIC for more information.
Singh said that the iOS code was released on OpenForge instead of GitHub “because Open Forge is our own thing. In fact, so why not? Open Forge is our GitHub.” When we asked him why the Android source code was also not released on OpenForge, he said, “The technical team had done that but when this [iOS] one was being done, with all the focus on aatma nirbhar and all, when we felt that where should we do that, we felt that if we have out own GitHub, then why go on a Microsoft product and not on a OpenForge. Being as part of Digital India Corporation and as part of NeGD, I felt that Android should have also been done. But anyway, that was done when it was done. But iOS has been done on Open Forge.”
The Aarogya Setu team has been criticised for not engaging with developers on GitHub despite open sourcing the Android code. For instance, the last commit (upload to code from the development team) on GitHub is dated June 1 even though the Android app was last updated on July 8 as per the Play Store. Similarly, the last pull request was closed, that is an issue was resolved, on GitHub on July 16 and before that on June 3, and despite there being 142 open pull requests, only 12 have been closed so far.