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Tories put toes on Linux bandwagon

Free software's cheaper, right?

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The Tory party will if elected end government over-spending on IT projects by simply choosing open source alternatives and splitting projects up, it believes.

This cunning plan will save us £600m a year, we are told, mostly thanks to increased competition. According to figures from Mark Thompson of Judge Business School, 80 per cent of savings will come from apparently increased competition while 20 per cent will come from reduced licensing costs.

Other Tory dreams include this: "New government data standards should be introduced across government, enabling large scale IT projects to be split into small modular components."

We are also told: "Smaller IT projects mean less risk of failure." The Tories claim they would stop any project exceeding £100m.

The Tories hope that "open procurement" will mean lots more smaller firms bidding for government projects, leading to better value. Having smaller projects also "de-risks developments... and also allows for a more agile approach to change".

Is this true? Would the disastrous National Programme for IT, currently spending £12.7bn, work better with 120 separate project managers and specs?

There is no doubt that the Labour government's management of IT projects is utterly awful - even given the rubbish record of governments of all colours. Sadly, it looks like the Tory's answers on technology are just as glib as those they use for saving the UK economy.

The European Community and Office for Government Commerce have all made similar noises in the past.

The full report is not available, but the Tory press office assured us that anyone emailing "contact@georgeosborne.co.uk" will have a copy sent to them.Get involved - and let us know what you think of the complete findings.

Update: The Tories have been back in touch - the full report will not be published or released - but there will be extracts on their website.

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