Feeds

UK.gov tweaks open source policy small print

Enforce or fall on own sword, warns Ingres

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Everything changes but you

However, it has tried to pin down suppliers by requiring them to provide evidence that open source-based technology had been considered during procurement.

Bidders who do not provide proof could be disqualified from the procurement, said the government.

In addition, the policy requires that where a "perpetual licence" has been bought from a proprietary supplier that gives the appearance of zero cost to that project, procurement teams will need to apply a "shadow" licence price to ensure a fair price comparison of total cost of ownership.

The government said today that it expected all software licences to be bought "on the basis of reuse across the public sector, regardless of the service environment it is operating within."

In other words, when the Cabinet Office launches the Government Cloud, the public sector won't foot additional bills for shifting licences skyward.

Ingres worldwide operations veep Steve Shine, who had been a vocal opponent of the government's failure to police its own policy, said his company welcomed the announcement. But Shine also warned that the policy could remain toothless if the government continued to fail to enforce its own rules.

“From the outset, we have commended the UK government for its comprehensive and balanced approach, however we still struggle to see how these latest changes will have much impact as this policy is not being enforced," he said.

"These latest changes still leave it unclear as to which part of the government will be responsible for enforcing these policies and we look forward to the CIO’s office clarifying this vital point as soon as possible."

He called on the government to look at various high profile IT tenders, including the Olympics, the upcoming MoD database refresh and several NHS contracts, to show how serious the Labour administration was about its policy.

“Since the government’s initial announcement last year to consider open source on a level playing field to proprietary vendors such as Oracle and Microsoft; we have in practice seen little difference during the sales cycle," he added.

The Register asked Microsoft if it would be displaying more of a "philanthropic spirit" when it comes to selling its products to the public sector, given the government's latest rejig of its open source and open standards rules.

We also asked if the company planned to offer up OSS products of its own.

Microsoft's UK national technology officer Dave Coplin reaffirmed to us that the company welcomed the government's "focus" on how to improve public sector IT procurement.

"The development of the 'Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use Action Plan' within the recently released Government ICT Strategy does not change the current position for a level playing field and a neutral procurement environment," he said.

"It is crucial that government IT procurement policy ensures that all software developers, whatever the software development model they choose to use or size of company, are given the opportunity to pitch for public sector contracts."

Coplin added that Microsoft "looked forward" to crunching cost of ownership numbers with the Cabinet Office. He claimed that the procurement of software amounted to only a "small fraction" of the costs of the life cycle of that product's deployment.

"Many other components such as ongoing support, maintenance, systems integration, training, downtime, etc., constitute costs which need to also be taken into consideration," he said. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.