Feeds

Becta green lights open source software in schools, at last

'We almost fell off our chairs', say openistas

High performance access to file storage

Updated Open source providers have scored a significant and timely victory to get their software into UK schools with an official government blessing.

The Sirius Corporation revealed yesterday that it was among 12 software suppliers to have been awarded places on the £80m Software for Educational Institutions Framework (SEIF) agreement.

Becta, Blighty’s education technology agency, is expected to announce the full line-up of software providers it has tendered under the three-year procurement deal later today.

Mark Taylor, who is president of the Sirius Corporation, founder of the Open Source Consortium and a noisy critic of Becta’s reluctance in the past to adopt open source software in favour of proprietary beasts such as Microsoft's offerings, was stunned by the decision.

“We almost fell off our chairs when we heard”, he told The Register. Becta informed Sirius that it was on the list of 12 providers in the SEIF deal last week, but has kept a lid on making any announcement until today.

Taylor said that the move represented a “significant breakthrough” for open source software in the UK public sector.

When asked if being awarded official status might be seen as a political motive by Becta to appease openistas, Taylor said: “Whether it’s a bone thrown to us or not, it’s still a good thing.”

The decision by the organisation that advises the UK government on IT policy in education also represented an “acknowledgement of the way the market is going and Becta simply can’t ignore it any more,” he added.

Novell is also understood to be on the coveted list and will be providing SUSE Linux to British schools, according to Taylor. Becta said it will tell us about the other 10 software companies to have won accreditation on the SEIF agreement later today.

Many will see Becta's decision to open its arms to some open source fanciers as a timely move in light of the European Union's ongoing probe of Microsoft's business practices, which some have claimed continue to stifle the European software market.

Meanwhile in recent months Becta has also somewhat distanced itself from MS. In January it issued a scathing report on the firm's Vista operating system and its equally fresh-faced twin Office 2007 because of concerns over “interopability and potential digital divide issues". ®

Update

The Office of Government Commerce has now released the full list of accredited companies. Here's the rundown in full (NB: Novell does not appear to have made the final cut, afterall).

Academia Ltd, Civica Services Ltd, European Electronique, Insight Direct (UK) Ltd, Joskos Solutions Ltd, Pugh Computers Ltd, Ramesys (e-business services) Ltd, RM plc, SCC, Sirius Corporation, Trustmarque Solutions and Viglen Limited.

So no real surprises there other than the inclusion of Sirius, of course. Becta has more about the framework, which launches next month, here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.