24 February 2009
The Government today published a new policy on Open Source software that will ensure maximum value for money for taxpayers.
Minister for Digital Engagement, Tom Watson, said the new policy reflects changes to both the Open Source market and the Government’s approach to IT. It sets out ten actions that will make sure of a level playing field for Open Source Software, and encourage the use of Open Standards.
Tom Watson MP, said:
“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.
“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.
“Several Government departments already use Open Source components and I hope this new policy will encourage others to follow suit.
“Open Source software is a not a cure-all remedy and is not the only solution to IT questions. However, by levelling the playing field and allowing Open Source to be as competitive as possible we can ensure that taxpayers get maximum value for money from Government IT, something that is more important than ever during the worldwide financial climate.”
There are three aspects to the new policy:
Open Source software: the policy includes 10 actions that will actively help make sure the best possible, best value for money software solutions are put forward for tenders, be they Open Source or propriety products.
Open Standards: the policy contains an explicit reference to Open Standards, ensuring systems are inter-operable and avoiding getting locked into a particular product where possible.
Re-use: the Government will look to re-use what it has already bought, with successful solutions being made available across Government.
Examples of open source currently in use in Government: 50 per cent of main departmental websites use Apache as their core web server; the NHS spine use an open-sourced operating system; 35 per cent of NHS organisations covering almost 300,000 users, will soon be supported on Linux infrastructure; open source components are used in major systems such as Directgov and electronic vehicle licensing.
The government’s previous open source policy statement was published in 2004.