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The UK now has its own national think tank for open source and open standard policy.

The National Open Centre, which its backers hope will make for better working relationships between the open source community and government, business, and education, launched today (Monday) at the Houses of Parliament.

The centre will carry out research and analysis and host conferences and workshops to facilitate the debate around open source and open standards. The results will ultimately be developed into policy recommendations.

Barbara Held, responsible for open source and open standards within the EU Commission's IDABC programme, commented: "The work of the NOC will also contribute to coordinate and further the use of open source and open standards at the European level."

She said such national focal points would be important in a pan-European push for "openness and interoperability".

IBM and SCC also wheeled out spokespeople to pat the new venture on the back. IBM's Dr Chris Francis said: "It is vital that current UK public and corporate OS&S policies deliver flexibility and efficiency for public and private organisations alike."

Basing work on open standards, would be a major part of this, as would open source "wherever appropriate".

SCC's Brian Prangle, meanwhile, said he regarded open source and open standards as "second only to the development of the internet and web in terms of accelerating the evolution of information technology".

He went on: "They are great drivers in disintegrating the bastions of proprietary technology which have kept IT expensive and slow to respond to change." ®

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