UK goes Open Source

Feb 26, 2009

Initiated by the Conservative opposition party, the push towards Open Source Software will now be realized in a ten point Government Action Plan penned by the governing Labour Party.

A suggestion made by the Conservative opposition in the House of Parliament a few weeks ago has been picked up by the Labour Government. In a move that could save 100 Million British pounds, Labour wants to develop and promote an open source strategy.

The reasons are simple and obvious: in the past few years the use of free software in government departments has saved the British taxpayer a lot of money. The Action Planwill create the necessary conditions for municipal institutes to consider open source projects and software on a level footing with commercial alternatives. Further education of IT sections will enable those responsible to make objective decisions about project distribution and a policy of open documentation will ensure that ministries share their knowledge of the open software with the public.

In addition, government CIOs will make regular recommendations for the use of free software that has been evaluated and security-tested. The ten point plan promises to utilize open standards, and encourage the development of tailor-made free government software. Last but not least, open source used by the government will, where appropriate, be returned to the community.

If the Labour Party remain true to their words, or if this is just an attempt to steal the idea from the Conservatives, remains to be seen -- especially with point 10 of the plan being a commitment to keep the public informed of the strategy's progress.

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