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Friday, 2 December 2011

The UK Government throws itself behind OpenSourse

UK government open source procurement toolkit

Tools to help public administrations procure open source were published by the UK government yesterday. The toolkit is part of the cabinet's ICT strategy to "create a level playing field for the use of innovative ICT solutions". 

According to the introduction, the six documents are intended "to ensure that there is a level playing field for open source and proprietary software and that some of the myths associated with open source are dispelled. It is intended for those who need to consider, evaluate or procure open source solutions as well as anyone just wanting to know more about open source."

Open source software is underused across Government and the wider public sector, the toolkit explains, "despite the current and previous administrations intention to promote its use".

One of the documents, titled "ICT advise notice- Procurement of Open Source" provides "high level advice on how to ensure open source software is fairly considered when procuring an ICT solution. Providing a level playing field for open source entails ensuring that the requirements specified are justifiable and output based taking into account operational and technical requirements and cost. Procurers should not be naming a particular software vendor or drafting the tender documentation in a way that favours a particular vendor. To do so is a breach of EU procurement rules."
Read the full article.
The highlighting in bold italics above is me, This is good news not to favour any commercial organisation. It is equally good news that the Government are looking at OpenSource software as this is definitely going to be the future. This will mean great pain for companies like Microsoft and Apple as they have the completely wrong financial model to capitalise on OpenSource which is the future now that the whole of Europe have thrown their arms around it..

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux started with a handful of staff and now have well over 400 staff in twenty-six countries (conservative estimate). They grew by giving their main product with full source code away. They make their money by offering support for companies using Ubuntu (their largest client has an installation of half a million desktop computers running Ubuntu). In addition, they run training courses for software engineers on Ubuntu Linux.

Alas, I cannot claim to be Canonical's smallest client, I do use Ubuntu but do everything myself! And I run our local community newspaper using it.

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