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UK Government Boosts Open Source Adoption

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the here-comes-the-big-discount-offer-from-microsoft dept.

Government 106

Cameron Logie writes "The UK Government has today announced full backing for greater adoption of Open Source solutions in the public sector. According to the article at the BBC News site, '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."'"

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Finally (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981123)

Finally is someone opening their eyes? Cheers,

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26982035)

As far as I'm aware, there has yet to be a single UK government (local, national, whatever) funded software project that isn't hopelessly unfit for purpose and contractually required to remain in use for the next 5 million years.

Sudden outbreak of common sense? Unlikely. Sudden outbreak of trying to make themselves look better? Oh wait, thats all they do anyway.

Well... They need all the money they can get (5, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981153)

So that they can give it to the poor destitute [independent.co.uk] W^HBankers.

 

Re:Well... They need all the money they can get (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981217)

do you know the website number?

Correction! (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981157)

I meant "Is someone opening the eyes of the people which run this country"... Cheers again,

Re:Correction! (2, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981179)

when "there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products"

Damn lies and statistics can be used to prove that open source is more expensive, then it doesn't get adopted.

Re:Correction! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981561)

I'm guessing that "getthefacts.co.uk" would be a good domain to squat right about now...

Re:Correction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981773)

when "there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products"

Damn lies and statistics can be used to prove that open source is more expensive, then it doesn't get adopted.

And if there's a significant cost difference? I guess we'll have to choose the more expensive product.

Re:Correction! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26986733)

There will just be hidden costs that come later...
When was the last time a uk government run it project didn't end up costing more than the original budget?

Re:Correction! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982189)

Indeed, and unfortunately that is all to common of a problem. Unfortunately costs of using software are quite like MPG ratings. Real world use can and will vary from estimates.

That's not to say that open source is as over hyped as the plug in hybrids, but it would have been a better idea to fix the regulatory environment so that there's fair competition.

Re:Correction! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982765)

when "there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products"

Damn lies and statistics can be used to prove that open source is more expensive, then it doesn't get adopted.

Rather, that clause will be used to justify buying the more expensive non-open source...

Re:Correction! (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26985533)

Public servants normally avoid creating those damn lies and statics. That is because creating such things lead to delays and lots of work. One can divide public servants on mostly two classes, one that wants to get things done, and those hate delays, and another that wants to avoid work, they don't like (tada!) extra work.

Now, there is a minority that get bought by software vendors, but this change will quite likely have a lot of impact despite them.

How is that defined? (2)

roe-roe (930889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981169)

This is great news for the F/OSS world. It will come down to how one defines "no significant overall cost difference". I assume this can be spun to fit anyone's needs. So I guess I am in the wait-and-see camp to see how far the governement moves into the Open Source world.

Re:How is that defined? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982007)

Yeah, just "retraining" is pretty much enough to stall the whole thing. Still, I'm VERY glad to see this move. It's a huge step up from the widely ignored bill that was enacted back in 2002/3 or so.

Re:How is that defined? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26987447)

Speaking as a former typist trainer for the UK government I can tell you that the retraining costs of moving to Office 2007 will dwarf those of any move to OOo. Writer may not be exactly like Word 97-2003 but it's a whole lot less unfamiliar than the ribbon will be.

Re:How is that defined? (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26989777)

Oh, but now they have forgotten every non-Ribbon interface, and migrating back to the otherwise familiar Writer will be just as hard as it was to migrate to Ribbon.

The interface is the Ribbon. The interface has always been the Ribbon. The lie became truth.

YES! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981189)

The benefits of open source over closed source are obvious!

We can now look forward to a more community driven approach to oppression.

Re:YES! (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981973)

We can now look forward to a more community driven approach to oppression.

The sad thing is that so much oppression is actually community driven - perhaps far more than the case where the government oppresses the people. It's even got a name:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jante_law [wikipedia.org]

Clarity needed (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981191)

>>>"if there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products"

So does that mean if MS Office costs $200, but OpenOffice costs $0, then the government employees can't adopt OpenOffice because there's a cost difference?

Re:Clarity needed (2, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981309)

TFA words it differently: "when it delivers best value for money"

It still won't be cheaper, because of the costs of retraining every last government employee, including the retarded ones, to use the new software.

Re:Clarity needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981351)

And presumably because instead of funding the development by buying the finished product, they'll have to fund the development by paying coders to fix bugs and add features that they want.

Re:Clarity needed (3, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981517)

It could easily be argued that since these are government projects, paid for by our taxes, that they should prefer options where their funding gives more overall value to the public.

As such, even if it were somewhat more expensive to pay a team of coders to add 'feature X' to OpenOffice than to use MS Office with 'feature X' already included, they should still consider doing so in order to contribute both 'government services' and improved software to the public, as opposed to contributing 'government services' to the public and funding for software development to a private company.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993963)

Since they waste billions of pounds on systems that they just throw away I don't think that's going to be a problem..

Re:Clarity needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981383)

Your government have non retarded ones?

Re:Clarity needed (2, Interesting)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981405)

Easier than training them to use Office 07. All my younger new hires get OOo and they work fine with it once they realize possible hangups over file formats.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981585)

This is politics. They'll happily accept the Latest! New! version of office with zero retraining but give them anything that's not Office and they'll demand £hundreds worth of training per user.

Re:Clarity needed (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981699)

I once had a user request training after their old keyboard was replaced with a new one. I wish I were joking.

Re:Clarity needed (2, Funny)

oever (233119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983677)

Not everyone enjoys Dvorak.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983855)

I once had a user request training after their old keyboard was replaced with a new one. I wish I were joking.

Sounds like someone just looking for an excuse to avoid doing any work. There's someone like that in a lot companies of any size.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26988845)

That really is a big part of the problem. People wanted Outlook/Exchange here because "Groupwise was too hard", but the funny thing is we spend more time now "Training" the same people on this product that is "so much better" and we actually get more complaints! There is workflow functionality that is just not there in Outlook or if the feature is there it is that hard to use people don't bother.

It really astounds me and boggles my mind. But I don't pay the bills and now we send most email problems out to a 3rd party support company. TCO is up quite considerably, so is down time. (Scheduled and Unscheduled)

Re:Clarity needed (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982241)

So, in other words it'd be a cost savings over the hundreds of thousands necessary to retrain workers to use newer versions of MS Office.

Kidding aside, OOo requires less retraining than that previous upgrade. The one that decided to completely rearrange the interface hiding things in new and entirely unintuitive places. _I_ had a hard time figuring out where everything went, and I hardly ever have that sort of trouble.

Re:Clarity needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981671)

I'm sure many would argue retraining from office 2000,2003 or XP to OpenOffice would actually be cheaper and easier than trying to train them for Office 2007.

Also, Office 2007 isn't worth getting, there is almost certain to be an Office 2010 to coincide with Windows 7, so it's a lot of money on software and training for a bit of software that will already be out of date by the time said training is complete throughout each government agency/department that undertakes it.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983861)

Oh you mean press a different icon to start to start office?

Ok, you can [troll|faimbait] me on that one.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26987527)

It still won't be cheaper, because of the costs of retraining every last government employee, including the retarded ones, to use the new software.

While switching from proprietary software to open source software does have retraining as a cost, so does upgrading proprietary software.

Falcon

Re:Clarity needed (4, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981485)

So does that mean if MS Office costs $200, but OpenOffice costs $0, then the government employees can't adopt OpenOffice because there's a cost difference?

Deploying any piece of software requires proper planning, configuration, infrastructure and training. Even free software costs money to own, hence the 'overall cost' they refer to. This is a good thing though, it's what keeps us employed even though the software is 'free.'

So it's those costs +£200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26983625)

For Office and just those costs for OpenOffice.

I suspect there's a £200 per seat saving with one option.

Re:Clarity needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26983023)

It doesn't cost $0.

That's like saying Windows costs $200 and Linux costs $0.
Which Linux ? Companies always want support.

so it ends up being Windows $200 and then RedHat $200.

Free software is not about cost, it's about freedom, they all cost the same when support is factored in.

Re:Clarity needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26985235)

Why are you so bad? Let him dream.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

Leynos (172919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26988239)

More like Windows $200 + $200, RedHat $0 + $200.

Getting support for Windows means paying someone on top of the cost of paying for the software. Just as with Linux.

Re:Clarity needed (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994001)

No, it's about where the money is going.. America or into UK jobs maintaining and supporting the software.

Overall cost difference? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981215)

FTA:

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".

The problem is that the "overall cost" depends on how much marketing $$$ [wikipedia.org] is thrown in.

Re:Overall cost difference? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981281)

Perhaps "cost" refers not just to money, but time and effort required in possibly changing existing procedures, and incompatibilities that might become problems when dealing with other organisations and non open-source systems.

Re:Overall cost difference? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982485)

I think that statement is being widely misinterpreted. I interpret the rules like this:

1. Use whichever is most cost-effective (presumably including re-training costs for switching away from MS products)
2. Where there isn't a major difference in cost-effectiveness, prefer OSS anyway due to inherent flexibility

now (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981287)

Every software sales goon is busy fabricating reports which show significant cost difference between using their products and using Free products.

Spin (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981289)

Spin... tell me when a viable open-source project actually makes a big *official* splash into anything approaching a UK government system. Various schools have been trying it for years on their own and never got anywhere because it's always seen as "nice" but then nothing ever happens further and money is still poured into Microsoft's wallet every day. The other IT projects run the UK government are a farce - starting with the NHS computerisation, through to the systems used for the police national computer and similar systems.

I *want* to see it. I am so pleased when I hear of countries trying it, but I know that in my own country this is nothing but spin. I would seriously consider emigrating to a country that treated its IT systems correctly and did things like this when they were needed. I haven't seen it happen yet, though.

Re:Spin (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981347)

I would seriously consider emigrating to a country that treated its IT systems correctly and did things like this when they were needed. I haven't seen it happen yet, though.

I would serious consider moving out of a country with 1 CCTV camera for every 14 people before I worried about how they treated their IT systems.

Re:Spin (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981447)

Repeat after me...

There is no right to privacy in a public place.

Re:Spin (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981589)

why are there doors in public toilets then ?

(sorry for feeding the off-topic)

Re:Spin (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981763)

Because nobody wants to watch you shit, Shoot up, or go down on George Michael [wikipedia.org]

Re:Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991155)

I've even seen cameras installed in public toilets in the UK.

Re:Spin (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994019)

BS, provide some evidence or stfu.

Re:Spin (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981619)

Just because there's no right to privacy in a public place doesn't mean that I have to like being taped. Nor does it mean that I have to stay in the country, city, county, business, or any other place that I'm being taped.

The remedy would be to leave, and that is exactly what I'm proposing.

Re:Spin (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981645)

That claim is true in a narrow sense; but annoyingly misleading. "I see you, you see me, we both depend on memory" public spaces are a whole different animal from "I don't see you, your cameras see me, and whatever happens is indexed and recorded for who knows how long" public spaces.

Small scale, socially driven, symmetric transparency vs. large scale, technologically sophisticated asymmetric transparency. "Public Space" has never meant "Panopticon", and anybody who wants to make it so is pushing a truly radical change.

Re:Spin (2, Informative)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981701)

Addendum:

I'm sorry, I don't have the figures, but I'd rather live in a country where the police are rarely seen, and when they are they act with (relative) prudence, instead of like drunken cowboys.

I'd also prefer to live in a country where they don't incarcerate 1/8 of all black males under the age of 30 [wsws.org] , or detain people without charge indefinitely [webcitation.org] .

Those topics are far more important to me than some cameras placed in public places.

Re:Spin (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982023)

So the conclusion is, mostly, avoid English-speaking countries, then?

Re:Spin (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983649)

I hate when people assume that all those black males under 30 are perfectly innocent or that what they did was somehow justified by their imagined oppression...

Re:Spin (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26987989)

I hate when people assume that all those black males under 30 are perfectly innocent or that what they did was somehow justified by their imagined oppression...

I hate it when people assume most of the prison population in the US are violent criminals when in fact the largest number of people are in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Violent criminals are set free early so someone caught possessing drugs can be put away for 20 years to life.

Falcon

Re:Spin (1)

Leynos (172919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26988337)

Maybe, maybe not, but when figures like that arise, it's indicative of a problem somewhere along the line. And those figures are highly suggestive of a society more interested in treating the symptoms than the causes.

Re:Spin (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982057)

CCTV cameras don't bother me. The people *watching* them do, but then it's been proven that the CCTV cameras make zero difference to crime even in the big cities (there was an analysis published a while back on the UK systems, in particular London). Therefore, there's zero chance that they will ever affect me in my lifetime, because of factors like the UK not being able to do anything with any flashy technology that it decides to buy.

Along with that, the majority of those cameras are in private hands, so nothing anyone can do to stop that, and working within places that have had CCTV installed, I tell you that the Data Protection Acts *really* get in your way of doing anything useful with them. As far as I'm concerned 4 million cameras in a populous of about 65 million people doesn't affect my life in any way, shape or form - I own five myself. However, loss of my medical records, wanting to introduce poor electronic voting, police database corruption meaning innocent people are turned down for jobs - that's serious in my eyes and I'll do what I can to avoid it.

Re:Spin (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994047)

Of course they make a difference to crime.

It's obvious, how do you think they get shop lifters. If you live here you must of at least seen one TV show on CCTV cameras and the crime people do in front of them.

Re:Spin (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981359)

Germans are doing it (not central gov but local ones). Prolly English will arrive there as well? I'm confident...

Re:Spin (3, Interesting)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981625)

Many government websites in Brazil are hosted on Zope and Plone (I work as a part-time consultant for one of them). There is an open-source turn-key solution for legislative bodies freely available and used by hundreds of them (it's also Zope-based and I did some consulting for them too). Several huge databases run on PostgreSQL clusters - chances are if you filed a tax report in Brazil, a lot of your data now resides on a PostgreSQL server. As of our last election, all electronic voting ballots ran Linux. With about 120 million inhabitants, any federal agency here is easily the size of a medium country or a huge company.

That said, there is still a long way to go and a lot of steering to keep us on the right course.

Re:Spin (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981743)

120 millions? Wikipedia says it's 196 millions.

Abraços de Portugal, irmão. ;-)

Re:Spin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26982037)

That includes the elephants, presumably?

Re:Spin (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982673)

That number was from the top of my mind. Thanks for the correction.

You know... It's an awful lot of people to count ;-)

And thanks for the hugs, brother!

Re:Spin (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26985815)

There is an once popular music from the 1970 World (soccer) Cup that used that number. Population has grown, but lots of people can only remember the 120 millions.

Re:Spin (1)

Redrover5545 (795810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983563)

I think I worked with a guy who did a lot of that Zope/Plone work for the Brazilian Senate. FWIW, an Irish company called Propylon (www.propylon.com) does a lot of government projects using open source platforms and standards (a lot of ODFs) for both the Irish government and a few US state legislatures too.

Re:Spin (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26986033)

Interesting. Never heard about them.

I think I should ;-)

Re:Spin (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26985765)

"Several huge databases run on PostgreSQL clusters"

If you look at "Decreto 666/2008" you'll see that it almost guarantees that every government body that manipulates geographical data (who doesn't?) uses PostgreSQL to store it (it doesn't mandate Postgre, but it does mandate data formats that can only be obtained on Postgre or some very expensive specialized DBMS). That is quite a new rule, wait for wider adoption the next years.

By the way, that is a very interesting number for a good piece of law.

Also licensing (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981673)

I've looked into Microsoft licensing for a number of things in the past and a few of the clauses make for interesting reading.

Let me preface this by saying I'm in the UK, I've been speaking to MS UK and it's them this information comes from. I have no idea how well these terms would stand up in a court of law or how flexible they are if you've got government-sized budgets but.... if you want an educational license - or, for that matter, one of the more flexible enterprise license schemes, one of the terms of the license is you MUST buy a license for every computer that's physically capable of running the software.

Every PC, every laptop, even every x86-based Mac.

Of course you can go down the "Open" licensing route which (AFAIK) has no such rule but while I haven't priced it up, I bet it quickly becomes drastically cheaper not to.

Suddenly, OpenOffice doesn't look like such a cost saver unless you roll it out to everyone. Nor does Ubuntu.

Re:Also licensing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26982039)

one of the terms of the license is you MUST buy a license for every computer that's physically capable of running the software.

a) Suggest to MS that this clause might interest the European Comissioner for Competition.
b) Watch said clause disappear as 'an oversight' 'left over from a previous version of the license'.

Re:Also licensing (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982767)

Because Microsoft have been shown time and again as a meek and fearful opponent with neither the funding nor the legal expertise to attempt opposing the fair trading offices of major governments.

Oh, wait...

Re:Also licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26989339)

And they have managed to every time avoid getting fined billions by the EU.

Oh, wait...

Re:Also licensing (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26989801)

Didn't say they were invincible, just pointed out that they're not scared of the government, which means that they're not going to lie down and change a presumably very profitable lock-in policy without years of legal wrangling. They're certainly not going to change it quickly because someone threatens to contact the European Comissioner for Competition.

Re:Also licensing (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26990325)

Those fines are supposed to make anticompetitive practice effectively unprofitable. Microsoft's margins run so far above the fines that it's actually good business sense, for their shareholders, to continue the practice and get deducted what is essentially a small "illegal practice" tax. Never mind that the economy is kneecapped because it depends on a monopoly with licensing that would make the RIAA blush.

Re:Also licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26986251)

Yep, if you're a school you get hit for every machine which is why the school I admin uses OEM everything and Linux servers. No CALs, no repeat licencing, basically no crap, and we save about £18,000 a year.

Putting an end to bribery scandals? (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981489)

Sounds like decision-making will become less questionable by the openness OSS introduces at several levels: source, formats and price (not necessarily zero, but leaving little room for overspending to factor in kickbacks), to name a few.
In a perfect world, politicians would now start campaigning and competing to advocate and introduce whatever affordable and sufficiently functional software keeps existing hardware usable even longer, minimizes public spending and allows for the biggest tax cut.;-)

It would have been terrible for future generations' access to public records if further decades of material had to be stored in proprietary, DRM-encumbered crypto bottles [heise.de] on closed-source systems which can't be kept alive without the consent of their corporate overlords, and if these could get schools to indoctrinate kids to obey them [blogspot.com] .

Now all they have to make clear (to prevent monopolies from being built by other means) is that there should be no such thing as software patents [oxfordjournals.org] ...

Re:Putting an end to bribery scandals? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981735)

I wouldn't bet on it. The UK government has been making noises both for and against open source every couple of years.

SOP with these things is that Microsoft send out a few of their top salesmen who then concoct a bunch of figures about how much more expensive open source software is and before you know it the ink will be drying on a contract with Microsoft for many millions of £.

Anyone who's been in IT any length of time has read these "cost-savings" figures salesmen like to produce - they almost invariably include at least one absolutely ridiculous overblown item which only applies to the competition and suddenly - as if by magic! - their product looks fantastically cheap.

No choice anymore... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981563)

Todays headlines are the result of *years* of work behind the scenes.

The UK Opposition party, the Conservatives, are absolutely serious about implementing an Open Source, Open Standards, Open Procurement policy should they win the next election.

Government departments are increasingly talking about sustainability (ie "we've run out of money") with Becta being the first to actually do something about it (appoint Sirius as the first and only Open Source company on a Government procurement list).

There is at least one National Open Source infrastructure project just about to come out of stealth mode, and politicians are smelling some positive press commentary for once.

This may be an essentially defensive move in the light of George Osborne's recent pronouncements, but it will inevitably lead to real progress in the historically extremely difficult (for Free Software) political scene in the UK.

Re:No choice anymore... (1)

Alkarismi (48631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981809)

It is a *fact* that Sirius' appointment has led to a noticeable uptake of Free Software in the Education sector.

It seems likely that the Becta procurement list appointment is some kind of 'trial run' by UK Gov, and we are likely to see Free Software vendors appearing on other lists.

It's high time the UK joined the rest of Europe in its rapid uptake of FOSS in across the Public Sector.

Re:No choice anymore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26982259)

The UK Opposition party, the Conservatives, are absolutely serious about implementing an Open Source, Open Standards, Open Procurement policy should they win the next election.

I'm sure they're very serious now. Until they get into power and get nobbled in the usual ways.

No brainer. (1)

hunnybunny (92335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981631)

Coming soon:

UK government suspects bears s**t in the woods.

Doesn't mean much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981633)

I don't think it means a lot.

In practice since "delivers best value for money" can mean whatever you want it to mean the statement doesn't amount to a lot.

"Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said ..."

Well, he had better say something hadn't he? - before the opposition parties do. And specially since the main opposition party already has. That's the context in which I think one should see this.

Frankly, the current administration has been in long enough and has pissed off virtually everyone in the country - that must sound familiar to U.S. citizens, contemplating their last U.S. president - so what its representatives say isn't going to matter a lot. They - just like much of the electorate - will be out of a job sooner rather than later.

I think the sitting party was to some extent held together by the personality of the untrustworthy but attractive ex-PM, Tony Blair. Now he's off the scene and a grumpy, unattractive and too-obviously arrogant power-seeker is centre-stage the contempt that, in a democracy, is always born of time and familiarity is starting to kick in. Formerly friendly papers such as the Times are running swingeing cartoons.

The current leader won't last long. But even if his MPs knife him, neither will they.

So I think this is more a PR-gesture from Tom Watson that anything else. But even if not in the long run it doesn't matter what he says, because the current administration's days are numbered.

How will MS respond? (1)

dogeatery (1305399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26981667)

I recall, just a few years ago, the state of Massachusetts announcing it would consider switching over to Linux. Microsoft quickly deployed the flying corporate propaganda monkeys to spread doubt and mistrust over "untested" software. Britain's a lot bigger than Massachusetts.

Should be interesting, in any case.

The full document is here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26981853)

http://www.cio.gov.uk/transformational_government/open_source/

fuck A Homo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26982003)

GAY NIGGERS FROM [goat.cx]

Nerd links (1)

trancemission (823050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982185)

Full document/info here:

http://www.cio.gov.uk/transformational_government/open_source/index.asp [cio.gov.uk] [Copy and paste of the actual 'policy' below]

The last update to this policy was 5 years ago,

Reads to me like:

-> HP/EDS/Microsoft/Accenture/$privateCompany have informed government 'advisers' they will be using more open source software. Many of these companies have 'open source' investment/business interests - Probably because there is less money being chucked at them from hedge funds/banks/gordon brown etc.

-> Government turns this into 'policy'

-> This get Spun to the BBC [UK Government back open source software]

-> I read it on slashdot

Back to private eye......

6. The Government's policy is as follows:

      1. Open Source Software The Government will actively and fairly consider open source solutions alongside proprietary ones in making procurement decisions,

      2. Procurement decisions will be made on the basis on the best value for money solution to the business requirement, taking account of total lifetime cost of ownership of the solution, including exit and transition costs, after ensuring that solutions fulfil minimum and essential capability, security, scalability, transferability, support and manageability requirements.

      3. The Government will expect those putting forward IT solutions to develop where necessary a suitable mix of open source and proprietary products to ensure that the best possible overall solution can be considered.

      4. Where there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products, open source will be selected on the basis of its additional inherent flexibility.

      5. Non-Open Source Software The Government will, wherever possible, avoid becoming locked in to proprietary software. In particular it will take exit, rebid and rebuild costs into account in procurement decisions and will require those proposing proprietary software to specify how exit would be achieved.

      6. Where non open source products need to be purchased, Government will expect licences to be available for all public sector use and for licences already purchased to be transferable within the public sector without further cost or limitation. The Government will where appropriate seek pan-government agreements with software suppliers which ensure that government is treated as a single entity for the purposes of volume discounts and transferability of licences.

      7. Open Standards The Government will use open standards in its procurement specifications and require solutions to comply with open standards. The Government will support the development of open standards and specifications.

      8. Re-Use The Government will look to secure full rights to bespoke software code or customisations of commercial off the shelf products it procures, so as to enable straightforward re-use elsewhere in the public sector. Where appropriate, general purpose software developed for government will be released on an open source basis.

      9. Where the public sector already owns a system, design or architecture the Government will expect it to be reused and that commercial arrangements will recognise this. Where new development is proposed, suppliers will be required to warrant that they have not developed or produced something comparable, in whole or in part, for the public sector in the past, or where they have, to show how this is reflected in reduced costs, risks and timescale.

    10. When suppliers are proposing a third party product there should be full price transparency. If there is a pan-Government agreement there should be the option to source through this where doing so would maximise overall public sector value. The Government will expect to be charged only the cost the supplier incurs unless the supplier can clearly and transparently provide evidence of the additional value created.

What about costs of contributing? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982457)

I wonder if they will consider the case where an open-source solution does not completely cover the requirements, but the cost of hiring a developer to make it meet those requirements is still less than the cost of the proprietary solution?

Will they be willing to hire developers to create required features if it is still within the cost limits? Because that would be win-win for everyone.

(They should consider long-term licensing costs for the proprietary software of course, since in the OSS solution once the feature is implemented there are no continuing costs thereafter.)

Re:What about costs of contributing? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26987353)

Good God no! The last thing we want is our government's idea of what constitutes a good IT company making even more of a hash of OOo.

Open format more important than open source (3, Insightful)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26982611)

As a citizen, I don't really care whether my gov (US) uses Microsoft, Mac, Solaris, Linux, or AmigaOS. I *do* care when they publish documents [cbp.gov] I need to work with in an undocumented proprietary format. And no, OOXML doesn't fix that (it only pretends to). Yes, I can get by with Open Office DOC importer for the time being.

Re:Open format more important than open source (1)

aembleton (324527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26989291)

Absolutely. According to the article 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".

The next time I get a .doc or .xls then I guess I should be able to demand an open standard. I sure hope so.

A press release only. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26983511)

This is just a press release, it's intended to neutralise [telegraph.co.uk] the Conservatives open source policy announcements. Nothing is actually going to happen.

Slightly later this afternoon the Government, orchestrated by Tom Watson MP, is planning to slip out an announcement that it will to stop discriminating against open source software in its procurement in an apparent attempt to look hip.

When George Osborne advocated the change, the Government briefed that open source was bad for security. Most geeks seemed to disagree with the position of the Government's briefings. Gordon Brown has always been keen to be close to open source's ultimate enemy, Microsoft founder Bill Gates: Mr Brown was responsible for Mr Gates receiving a knighthood and has co-authored a newspaper article with the software entrepreneur.

While many hard-pressed businesses have decided not to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft products, I'm told the Government has no plans to stop its negotiations with Microsoft though OGC Buying Solutions, the public sector procurement agency, to keep licensing new version of Microsoft products.

In other words, I think we can safely deduce that the Government's announcement is about out taking away a Tory argument and is unlikely to result in any actual change in Whitehall.

Open Source Adoption (1)

snevig (555801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26983935)

Is that where you get the full DNA of a child prior to adoption?

1st strip away all your rights then take opensourc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26984503)

ya who cares what UK does its about as bad a place rights wise to live almost as china , only diff is the illusion of freedom, go ahead take a ppicture of a cop today at the next protest and see what that gets ya

Re:1st strip away all your rights then take openso (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26985407)

Can anyone translate the previous message?

Re:1st strip away all your rights then take openso (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994115)

I'm pretty sure I can take a photo of a policeman in England. In the US however I'm pretty sure I'd be beaten.

Lots of shit about the CCTV camera's however the US police force of laughable in comparison.

Ironically, (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26984619)

they intend to use it to keep track of all their surveillance activities.

At least one good thing (1)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26986535)

The UK government may have the cohesion of slush, but at least they can do one sensible thing...

Good strategy (1)

mahadiga (1346169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992727)

there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products

This is a good strategy because all these days Closed source proponents have been advocating there is NO significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products.

Open source is about transparency and Governments must accommodate and appreciate transparency wherever possible.

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