[Linux-aus] Fwd: UK Government publishes open source strategy

Anthony Hornby anthony.w.hornby at gmail.com
Thu Feb 26 11:15:20 EST 2009

Found this interesting, forwarding from another list I'm on.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
UK Government publishes open source strategy
By Tom Young
26 February 2009 06:28AM

The UK Government has laid out a radical 10-point policy for using
open-source software that is aimed at gaining greater value from IT.

Traditionally, the Government has used software primarily developed by
commercial companies, though there are scattered examples of the use of
open-source software, after a commitment to use more in 2004.

Half of the Government's departmental web sites use Apache as the core
web server, while the NHS “spine” uses an open-source operating system.

But the Government wants to go much further, according to minister for
digital engagement Tom Watson.

“The world of technology has moved on hugely since we last set out our
thinking on open source, which is why it was so important to update our
policy, " he said.

“Open-source products are more competitive and have become easier to
include in business, and major players in the IT industry now support
the use of open standards."

The Government's 10-point strategy
<http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/government_it/open_source.aspx> is:

• To actively consider open source solutions alongside proprietary ones
in making procurement decisions;

• Procurement decisions will be made solely on the basis of the best
value for money solution to the business requirement;

• There will be an expectation on suppliers to consider a mix of
proprietary and open-source software;

• Where there is no difference on cost open-source software will be
chosen as preferable;

• The government will, wherever possible, avoid becoming locked in to
proprietary software;

• Where non-open-source products need to be purchased, government will
expect licences to be available for use across the public sector;

• The government will use open standards in its procurement
specifications and require solutions to comply with open standards;

• Rights for re-use will be sought for all commercial software purchased;

• All systems developed for one part of the public sector are expected
to be reused in another rather than developed again;

• When suppliers are proposing a third-party product there should be
full price transparency.

The CIO Council will work with government buying agency the Office of
Government Commerce to develop a programme to educate government IT
buyers on open source software and accompanying guidelines.

Technology industry body Intellect welcomed the announcement.

"It is in the Government’s, economy’s and UK software sector’s interest
that the opportunity to compete for public sector business is available
to software companies regardless of their business model," said a spokesman.

"Open standards are fundamental for ensuring interoperability across
government, a crucial factor for a joined-up government."

Copyright © 2009 Computing

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