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[News] Empty Promises of Free Software in the British Government

  • Subject: [News] Empty Promises of Free Software in the British Government
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 07:51:58 +0000
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

Time to turn open-source words into action

,----[ Quote ]
| Since early 2004, it has been the 
| government's stated policy to use open-
| source software in the public sector 
| wherever possible, as long as it offers the 
| best value for money.
| To date, the policy has had little impact. 
| So will the latest tweaks to its open-
| source action plan make a difference?
| Software is "open-source" when the source 
| code is freely available to be viewed, 
| shared or changed -- things that you can't 
| do with conventional proprietary software. 
| Crucially, open-source is also the cheaper 
| option in many cases.


Letting the cat out of the bag

,----[ Quote ]
| When I blogged about the UK government's 
| open source initiative (or rather the lack 
| of it) a couple of weeks ago. It was 
| obvious to me - and to many of the people 
| in the open source community that the 
| government wasn't exactly pulling out all 
| the stops in its attempts to cut waste in 
| the tendering process.
| [...]
| So, the open source commentators who say 
| that the government has not been 
| enthusiastic about pursuing are completely 
| missing the point. It's not about inertia; 
| it's not about the influence of proprietary 
| software companies; it's not about the 
| perceived lack of maturity of open source 
| companies - it's simply that those newer 
| competitors aren't expensive enough. Those 
| pitches proving cost savings have been 
| going down the wrong path - it's as if they 
| were setting off to play golf and keeping 
| under par the whole way round, only to be 
| told at the end of the game that the object 
| was to take as many shots as possible.


Open Source Toryism

,----[ Quote ]
| Finally, Cameron had a populist swipe at 
| lobbyists. Which is fine. No-one likes 
| lobbyists. But Cameron's attitude towards 
| lobbying is instructive, for it 
| demonstrates the extent to which, despite 
| his rhetoric, he remains a centraliser. The 
| problem with lobbying is a "lack of 
| transparency" and so he'll also slow down 
| the revolving door, making it harder to 
| ministers to move seamlessly into lobbying. 
| Which is also fine but no more than 
| tackling a symptom while ignoring the cause 
| of the disease. Which is, silly, 
| government.


Cameron pledges to publish contracts in full

,----[ Quote ]
| "No ICT project will be commissioned 
| without first seeing if it can be done for 
| free or at very low cost. We will set open 
| standards to encourage interoperability 
| between ICT systems and open up ICT 
| procurement to more companies by creating a 
| level playing field for open source 
| software throughout government."


Q&A: Red Hat's Werner Knoblich on UK open source

,----[ Quote ]
| Vice president and general manager of Red 
| Hat in EMEA Werner Knoblich talks about how 
| open source is going down in the UK and 
| what 2010 has in store.


ICT & Education: Eleven Countries to Watch -- and Learn From

,----[ Quote ]
| With a population of over 31 million, the 
| Indian state of Kerala -- home to the 
| IT@school initiative -- has more people 
| than all but two of the countries listed 
| here. IT@school, which provides ICT-enabled 
| education to 1.6 million students per year 
| in the state, is considered by some to be 
| the largest educational program of its kind 
| utilizing primarily free and open source 
| software. 



Government Plugs Microsoft With Online Training Course

,----[ Quote ]
| The government is promoting Microsoft's
| proprietary software as part of a plan to get
| more UK adults online, despite arguing for
| greater adoption of open source in the past
| [...]
| Some open source supporters may object to
| elements of the new scheme however as, although
| the Online Basics course is supposed to be an
| independent education project, the site contains
| a link to Microsoft's own learning network â
| Microsoft Digital Literacy â which includes
| guidance on how to use Microsoft products. In
| February 2009, the UK government said it
| intended to use open source to save Â600 million
| a year and published guidelines the that effect
| but, despite this, the UK lags badly at open
| source, using it less than countries like Mali,
| open source activists said at a meeting in
| September.

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