Cabinet Office publishes open source procurement toolkit

Using document format that was proprietary until 2008

The Cabinet Office has published an open source procurement toolkit for the public sector on its website.

It said the purpose is to ensure that there is a level playing field for open source and proprietary software and that some of the myths associated with open source are dispelled.

The toolkit includes six documents:

  • All About Open Source – including FAQs;
  • ICT Advice Note - Procurement of Open Source;
  • Procurement Policy Note on Open Source;
  • OSS Options; Total Cost of Ownership;
  • and CESG Guidance on Open Source (this site will only open for users who have previously registered with a .gsi.gov.uk email address).
  • The first five papers are all available on the Cabinet Office website as PDFs.

The options document contains details of different IT functions such as servers, databases, application development, networks and business applications.

The document on cost of ownership advises taking into account issues around acquisition – such as purchase price, licences and integration – operation and management – including migration, upgrades, support services, training and software scaling – and end of life management.

It also advises that the total cost of ownership is only concerned with the financial cost of any solution, and does not involve any other benefits.

The government has had an open source policy dating back to the Labour administration in 2004, although it was reiterated in 2009 and 2010. Before coming to government, the Conservative party called for an increased use of open source technology in government IT systems.

The Government ICT Strategy, published in March, says that open source solutions should be considered alongside proprietary ones in procurement, and that when there is no significant cost difference open source should be chosen on the basis of its flexibility.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

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