Feeds

Becta green lights open source software in schools, at last

'We almost fell off our chairs', say openistas

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.