Feeds

Becta green lights open source software in schools, at last

'We almost fell off our chairs', say openistas

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.