British Local Authorities Hesitant on Open Source

Aug 11, 2009

A new survey by the Public Sector Forums in the U.K. on public financing of IT costs was based on a sample of 168 local authorities.

Although hesitant in using open source, there's obviously someone using it.

According to the Public Sector Forums survey report, "Open source software is already used widely by local authorities at many levels and for a very large number of different applications - primarily on open source web servers, databases and web publishing tools." The desktop sector has not been so lucky, with users not being as aware as they could about open source implementation on the backend.

Licensing costs, however, still prove to be a concern among local authorities. License savings showed to be the primary reason for applying open source software, vendor independence being in second place. 64% of the respondents felt that their organizations needed to increase their open source usage, although a scant 44% would see an actual increase over the next three years. 37% would see no change at all. The most significant growth potential for the open source alternative showed to be in the office software sector.

The survey of 168 respondents was conducted between mid-November and mid-December, culled among District Councils (31%), Unitary authorities (27%), County Councils (17%), Mets (14%) and London Boroughs (7%).

The main reason for the use of open source is still money.

The 15-page report, "Open or Closed? A Survey of Open Source Software in Local Government," is available from the website, an online network sponsored by Bull and One Point Consulting since April 2009. The project is an initiative of the Public Sector Forums originally dedicated in the U.K. to being a public information source on digital television and its use as an e-Gov channel, but having expanding its reach to Internet and open source activist issues.

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