Episode 153

Kailash Nadh and the FOSS United Foundation


February 10th, 2023

42 mins 29 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Kailash Nadh


Richard Littauer | Justin Dorfman

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We’re super excited to have as our guest today, Kailash Nadh. In 2020, he co-founded the FOSS United Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the FOSS ecosystem in India, where he serves as director. He also has been the CTO of Zerodha, India’s largest stock broking firm for the last decade. Today, our conversations with Kailash will take through the FOSS program at Zerodha, and he’ll explain how they’ve grown to be one of the largest financial tech companies in India. He’ll take us through the journey of starting the FOSS Foundation, Zerodha’s funding for FOSS, and Kailash explains why people getting interested in open source is such a huge valuable concept and philosophy. Download this episode now to learn more!

[00:02:20] Kailash tells us about the FOSS program at Zerodha and being a CTO.

[00:06:46] There’s a FOSS Pledge on the FOSS United website and Kailash explains who it’s for and if anyone can sign it.

[00:08:04] We learn about Zerodha’s yearly budget to the FOSS Foundation.

[00:10:36] A question comes up if there are any documents or resources Kailash has in place to help ensure that their interests at Zerodha don’t erode away the native interests of any open source project.

[00:13:04] Kailash tells us about paperd.ink.

[00:15:04] Justin is curious to know if every part of the product is open source or if there’s some type of proprietary in there and what their focus is for the funds.

[00:16:01] Dwayne O’Brien’s name comes up with the FOSS Contributor Fund, and if Kailash has ever talked to him.

[00:17:32] Since it’s hard to find people to fund right now, Richard wonders what the intake process is for Kailash to get new contributors and maintainers.

[00:18:26] Does Zerodha have Community Managers or social media people to help out the foundation?

[00:20:27] We hear about the different conferences in India.

[00:23:58] Kailash explains what the people were interested in hearing about at the FOSS focused events and how enticing it is for people to go to them.

[00:28:41] We hear Kailash’s views on what he thinks about people getting interested in open source, and he tells us about the social development sector.

[00:34:23] A questions comes up if there are any resources people could reach out to if they are in the NGO sector, or social sector. where they can learn what FOSS tools are best for them.

[00:36:15] Find out where you can follow Kailash and his work online.


[00:04:00] “We have close to zero SaaS subscriptions even as a really large enterprise.”

[00:04:20] “FOSS really is why Zerodha exists today in the form it does.”

[00:04:31] “We’ve grown to be one of the largest financial tech companies in India all on the back of FOSS.”

[00:06:32] “Building everything community first, first principles, is really key.”

[00:08:50] “At Zerodha, we’ve set aside one million dollars a year minimum to fund FOSS.”

[00:20:29] “The conference a few months ago was IndiaFOSS, then a conference that happened in Kochi they named KochiFOSS, then DelhiFOSS, and there’s an upcoming one MumbaiFOSS, which has a nice ring to it. This evolved organically with people in Kochi because they really wanted to call it KochiFOSS to identify with the city.”

[00:32:50] “FOSS is the answer to the massive systematic risk that is the lack of technical capacity in the most dire of needs.”


  • [00:37:13] Justin’s spotlight is a project he’s been working on with his co-worker Camden called, conc: better structured concurrency for go.
  • [00:38:04] Richard’s spotlight is Ben Acker.
  • [00:39:06] Kailash’s spotlight is Matt’s FormMail and Planet Source Code.



Support Sustain