Tories put toes on Linux bandwagon
Free software's cheaper, right?
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 full report is not available,
but the Tory press office assured us that anyone emailing "email@example.com" 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Update: The Tories have been back in touch - the full report will not be published or released - but there will be extracts on their website.
The interesting thing about this article is not so much the open source but, rather the bit about splitting projects, and increasing competition. Though the open source will open op competition a lot more than staying propriatory.
Most Government projects, at least in Denmark, where I live, and other countries, have the problem that for one thing, governements being humanists (of sorts) tend to believe in the hollistic point of view,
That is all or nothing.
The next bit is what goes in to the project, everyone who can wants their finger print on the project, therefore the planning phases, become enormous, development interrupted, concepts skewed, basically, too many cooks ....
As an engineer, I have learnt, that if a project cannot be split into small very manageable components, then the system cannot be constructed, within any kind of given time frame. Having teams of 120 people working together on a single project is far too much, the intercommunication will blow your budget. I know most people believe teams are the best, well yes and no, a team of 5 is optimal, any bigger and it risks becoming slower than if just one person was on the task.
However, having an over all goal, with general design guidelines set at the start, and building it like you build a house, one brick at a time (task), working towards the plans that the architect has drawn up, is far more efficient than trying to get the carpenters, brickies, electricians, et. al. running on the work site at the very same time, falling over one another.
I seem to notice that most government projects are like the state it self, huge monoliths that are designed all at once, and they try to build them hollistically, while trying to bring in the various political changes that changing polticial power wants, ofc it will end in a disaster!
re: misonomers about open source
You kids. Your big misnomer is thinking that closed source is the normal way. Open source was the normal way.
Source code was how you got your OS and applications out there.
The source code being available WAS THE WAY.
It is only a recent invention where you sell a binary blob and keep the source code closed.
And the computers in the 40's-80's worked absolutely A-OK. Even though the source was open.
Copyright is not amenable to software
There is no expressive content in the binary. Copyright law is all about expressive.
Derived works do not work in software. Take linking. Even symbolic linking. You run the program and it loads and executes the library linked. But that then constitutes from copyright law a clear case of derived work: you have now effectively quoted huge sections of the library code to ensure YOUR code works. Illegal.
Two clear examples of where copyright does not work with software.
And it used to be that copyright DID NOT APPLY to software. That's why all that bollocks about AT&T vs BSDL went on. There was no copyright on code, so no license so no mention of licensing or anything ON THE CODE.
Then people started finagling copyright to apply to source and the trouble started.
Then people started finagling copyright to apply to binary output and the trouble got much much worse (you no longer owned the work and when copyright expires, the public have NOTHING to show for it). Then the accountants started applying copyright to the Look and Feel. Worse.
Then SCO tried "Negative Know-how" (i.e. "When they tried this, it didn't work, so don't try it" is benefiting from the work of the person who failed, so you OWE THEM).
Copyright on software:
Only with the source code. (NOTE this doesnt mean you have any license to copy chinks any more than having the plain english latin character set of "Harry Potter and the Higgledy Piggles" in the pages of the book lets you copy JK Rowling's work [though, it does let HER copy someone else's work, but let's not get into that]).
No source code = no copyright. You can use trade secret.
No EULA on non-copyright controlled actions. E.g. You can say "for one computer only" but not "No benchmarks" or "You must activate your copy".