Dave Cameron pledges to Open Source UK.gov
It's conservatism 2.0.1
The UK’s two major political parties have demonstrated the benefits of bringing the open source ethos into government, by getting into a punch-up over who thought of the idea in the first place.
David Cameron embraced Linux, open source and bottom
s-up decision-making today as he detailed his vision of a Tory innovation policy in a speech at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
Cameron pledged that a Tory government would set the UK’s data free – but not in a bad way, like HMRC. Rather, he said, he wanted to ensure people could access information which allowed them to create “innovative applications that serve the public benefit”. This “information liberation” meant ensuring spending data was transparent for example, and that people could easily compare crime figures.
At the same time, he said, “We also want to see how open source methods can help overcome the massive problems in government IT programs”. Cameron said the Tories would reject Labour’s addiction to the mainframe model. Instead, he claimed, a Conservative government would follow private sector best practice and introduce open standards, “that enables IT contracts to be split up into modular components”.
“So never again could there be projects like Labour’s hubristic NHS supercomputer.”
Leaving apart the issue of whether Labour has got the NHS running on a supercomputer – hubristic or not – Cameron’s pledge to open source comes just days after the minister for transformational government, Tom Watson, claimed that Labour is the party that really, you know, gets open source.
In his speech on Monday announcing the government’s Power of Information taskforce, he referred to an earlier speech where “I talked about the three rules of open source - one, nobody owns it. Two, everybody uses it. And three, anyone can improve it." He then recounted how the Tories immediately sent out an email “laying claim that in fact they are the ‘owners’ of these new ideas. I was accused of plundering policies from the Conservatives.”
The irony that laying claim to the ownership of a policy on open source was lost to the poor researcher who had spent a day dissecting the speech.
The conclusion? Our political class really has embraced the ethos of the open source movement, and are even as we speak battling over the tech clichés of the day with the same ferocity and ultimate futility as open source utopians discussing the merits of the GPL. ®
Ahh, an open source zealot. Firstly I would like to give thanks for the info on the Sun and the Debian programs, I will certainly look into them. However, from your comments you are exactly the type of person I try to avoid in the OSS community. You are so fixated on OSS as the only way to go that you ignore any merits of proprietary software. Personally I measure software not on where it came from, but on how good it is at doing what it's supposed to. What do you suggest as a replacement for photoshop? The GIMP? It's crap, it comes nowhere near photoshop and from the reports of our art department who we gave it to to trial is unstable and keeps freezing when handling large images. Also, one thing you have overlooked is an an education provider we are supposed to be preparing our students for work. If they want to be a designer, they most likely WILL end up using photoshop as it is the most widely used piece of software in the industry, therefore we have an obligation to give our students the skills they will need to be employed. If the industry changes its preferred vendor, then so shall we. We do utilise many pieces of software that are free or open source or both based on the merits of what it can do for us, but if we need to pay for something because of its suitability we will. And yes it is an achievement if we can make that software cost less than the vendors prices, especially when we make a change that benefits everybody not just a one off deal for us.
@sixth form AC
You should take a look at Debian Edu. It scales to the size of all the schools in a Norwegian city. It could easily run your college for zero licensing cost. Then you could spend your adobe license and the MS bribery money (wait a minute - you still pay them to push their products on children, right?) on a bit of training for yourself. As for your CS3 brag - congrats on helping Adobe push their stuff on tomorrow's designers. Another generation of vendor lock in can only be good for software innovation right?
"Why don't the *nix providors cotton on and run a one off (per org) free in school training for people. "
Talk to Sun about the Campus Ambassador program. Sun pay one of your staff/postgrads to be an on-campus advisor/evangelist. Obviously intended to encourage you to use Sun kit etc., but useful all the same. It can get your students direct contact with Sun engineers.