View Full Version : UK Govt Backs Open-Source

February 25th, 2009, 01:18 PM
Thought you might be interested in this :)


I've not read the entire article yet, but it looks promising.

February 25th, 2009, 02:11 PM
Are you suprised? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7853086.stm)

February 25th, 2009, 03:53 PM

The UK Government has said it will accelerate the use of open source software in public services.

Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software like Windows.

Open source software will be adopted "when it delivers best value for money", the government said.

It added that public services should where possible avoid being "locked into proprietary software".

Licenses for the use of open source software are generally free of charge and embrace open standards, and the code that powers the programs can be modified without fear of trampling on intellectual property or copyright.

Announcing an open source and open standards action plan, the government said it would:

ensure that the Government adopts open standards and uses these to communicate with the citizens and businesses that have adopted open source solutions

ensure that open source solutions are considered properly and, where they deliver best value for money are selected for Government business solutions

strengthen the skills, experience and capabilities within Government and in its suppliers to use open source to greatest advantage

embed an open source culture of sharing, re-use and collaborative development across Government and its suppliers

ensure that systems integrators and proprietary software suppliers demonstrate the same flexibility and ability to re-use their solutions and products as is inherent in open source.
Government departments will be required to adopt open source software when "there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products" because of its "inherent flexibility".

Sounds awesome - since when did they suddenly change their mind on FOSS?

February 25th, 2009, 03:54 PM
With our government I shall believe it when I see it...

Hope it does go through, I'm having to refresh myself in word and excel in order to be able to get a job

February 25th, 2009, 04:34 PM
About time too!

That is assuming our UK government delivers on it's promises which may or may not be likely.

February 25th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Even the Tories are talking about Open Source, Labour went and stole their idea, just as I had predicted::guitar:



February 25th, 2009, 05:25 PM
Ill believe when i see it. Gordon Brown is pretty much in Bill Gates pocket most of the time... One government report suggested using open source software would be a huge security risk to them. Tories started this, labour just jumped the band wagon now its seen as 'cool'

February 25th, 2009, 05:45 PM
At least England is considering open source publicly. Whether they do it or not is debatable. I hope it does happen and influences the governments here to follow suit.

Here (Canada) it seems every level of government wants nothing to do with anything open source. Basically it's Microsoft or nothing (although there are a few Macs floating around). And then each level of government keeps telling us they have no money to spend on things like roads, hospitals, education, etc. It's quite hypocritical.

February 25th, 2009, 06:03 PM
It's unlikely that anything in that article will make a difference. IT sysadmins will still be able to argue the case for the closed software they are familiar with.

They will just use arguments like:

-Open Office can't do some things that MS Office can do (Access, VBA etc).
-It will take too long to migrate code
-Staff will need retrained
-Hardware X doesn't work on Linux
-Software Y doesn't work on Linux
-Using product N will make us incompatible with the software used by our clients.

I support Ubuntu and like some (but not all) open source products, but even I have to concede that Ubuntu/OSS would be unsuitable for most of the workstations in my workplace because it doesn't meet the needs of the users.

I also don't think these guidelines will have much influence on Techies who have had most of their training on MS or MS funded courses.

February 25th, 2009, 09:49 PM
Whilst this won't cause many gov. departments to adopt Linux OSs. any time soon, it sort of gives the green light to use OO.org in place of MS Office. That alone would save UK tax payers a fortune and that could eventually lead to the use of Linux based OSs.

February 25th, 2009, 10:43 PM
The current economic crisis may help them decide, if they think money is to be saved.

I doubt linux systems will be rolled out, it will be more like apps like open office

February 26th, 2009, 12:23 AM
OO doesn't have alot of the tools Office has and isn't compatible with existing VBA scripts and databases used by many companies. Migrating to OO isn't always as simple as installing OO. Companies and departments who use MS Access would be in serious trouble if the were forced into switching. Also, many government departments already use filing/retention systems that are plugged directly into MS Office. An example of this is the Meridio eDRMs system that is used by many civil servants in the UK to maintain and store files. Upgrading those systems to be compatible with OO could potentially cost millions in development and training.

February 26th, 2009, 12:23 AM
A lot of the big central gov projects are driven by the big consultancy houses whose "srategic partners" are the ones providing the biggest backhanders. The small players never get a look in. It all stinks at that level - hence the disgraceful track record of central Gov IT.

At the local gov level things are better and there is more diversity and clearer thinking - except where there is central gov interference.

How this could start to make inroads is in tenders for new software where a question may be "Is your system Open Source?" If it is - this means more ticks than if not - and may be a way in.

February 26th, 2009, 12:34 AM
Even the Tories are talking about Open Source, Labour went and stole their idea, just as I had predicted::guitar:

I really don't think it's correct to say that adopting open source was the Tories' idea. Hell, I adopted open source a long time before the flaming Tories jumped on the bandwagon!

Also, what does it matter where the government got this sudden passion for Free software from? It's a Good Thing regardless. If it actually happens...

February 26th, 2009, 12:34 AM
"Locked into proprietary software"

That quote is just plain stupid, it is impossible to be "locked" into proprietary software as it was not forced on the UK Government, it was a choice they followed.

February 26th, 2009, 12:50 AM
"Locked into proprietary software"

That quote is just plain stupid, it is impossible to be "locked" into proprietary software as it was not forced on the UK Government, it was a choice they followed.

I disagree. It is perfectly possible for one to lock oneself into a situation. Dekkon should bear in mind that one can lock handcuffs even if one doesn't have a key.

February 27th, 2009, 06:11 PM
I found this: http://www.cio.gov.uk/transformational_government/open_source/index.asp

What does anyone else in the UK think??

EDIT: Sorry, didn't find this thread although I searched.

Cheers for moving!

February 27th, 2009, 06:36 PM
It does make me sick the amount of Private companies screwing the NHS especially when it comes to IT.

I so wish I could be in charge of IT in Goverment, I would give them 12 months and terminate all their contracts, and put this money back in to making the hospitals better, paying some of the nurses a bit more money.

Hope I'm not being to hard line here, but honestly its wrong that any hospital should be paying any outside company for consultants.

I have heard that some of these IT people being paid 300 - 400 a day, honestly I would feel ashamed to take that sort of money.