Feeds

FOSS vendors lick chops over ConLib IT plans

'OpenOffice can save UK from doing a Greece'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

But will it be Google or open source vendors wot won it?

“Both parties' technology manifestos have differed in terms of the degree of implementing the 'level playing field' for both open source and proprietary vendors. Whilst they have both acknowledged the contribution towards public savings that can be brought about by the increased use of open source software, only the Conservatives actually outlined some practical steps towards opening up the public procurement process,” said Shine.

“For example, one such proposed measure would be the public availability of tender documents, which would enable smaller open source companies to bid for public IT contracts. In effect, such simple policies would be the key for public IT systems to gradually break free from proprietary vendor lock-in and consequently save a substantial amount of taxpayers' money."

However, reaching a consensus within the ConLib love-in could yet prove to be a stumbling block, especially given that Nick Clegg’s party didn’t go into the kind of detail that the Tories did in their manifesto about what money should be spent, or indeed held back, on IT projects under the new administration.

In reality, UK.gov probably won’t be unpicking IT policies left in place by the previous government all that much. Instead it will be trying to deliver on some of the promises already pledged in January’s open source policy tweakage, which according to the Sirius Corporation’s Mark Taylor “looked great on paper” but lacked any real commitment for the former government to get the job done.

“It is my opinion that the new government has a genuine and sincere interest in open source and this will now be reflected in both policy and action,” Taylor told El Reg.

“We do not even need to posit that there is ideological buy-in for this. The reality of the situation is that with a pressing need to cut the £163bn deficit, and central government ICT spending exceeding £14.5bn per annum, there is a compelling case to slash waste in the ICT area and open source fits the bill,” he said.

Taylor labelled the previous government's IT spending record as being "absurdly wasteful" thereby leaving an "easy win" for the new administration to make cuts and save money for the British taxpayer.

"I expect to see the new government to push strongly for the three opens - 'open data', 'open standards' and 'open source' - and in this order," opined Taylor. "Councils like Windsor and Maidenhead are already putting details of all spending online and in searchable form, this will spread."

But it's not going to be an entirely easy process to bring more open source software into government, admitted Taylor.

"I know that one of the blockers for the spread of open source, and especially projects like Open Office on the desktop, is the huge number of existing public sector applications locked into proprietary office formats.

"Pushing for, or even insisting on, open standards in this area will open up competition and bring down costs, not to mention paving the way for much wider adoption of Open Office in the UK."

An optimistic Taylor is also convinced that the new government will stick to its promise to reduce the size of IT projects, making it easier for smaller software vendors to compete for contracts.

That's not to say that Microsoft, which has recently been defensive about its relevance in government IT procurement, will necessarily be an high-profile victim of deep cost cuts in Whitehall.

At the same time he expects the David Cameron-led UK.gov to "outsource some fairly hefty chunks of IT" that could ironically open the door for the likes of Google, which is of course a tech multinational that the Tories had a cosy pre-election relationship with. And presumably that particular love-in hasn't changed now that Cameron occupies Number 10. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.