Feeds

UK.gov: We really are going to start buying open-source from SMEs

Groundhog Day again already?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Intellect 2012 Open source and open standards are the direction for UK government IT, the civil servant leading the government's technology change agenda has said.

Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said Tuesday in London that open source has grown up and it's time to dispel lingering misconceptions about this technology and development process.

Maxwell told the Intellect 2012 conference: “Opensource software is not three guys in a shed anymore. There are a lot of misconceptions about open source but open source is the future model for delivering IT.”

He was speaking the day before the Cabinet Office opens a three-month period of consultation on open standards to be used in the government's G-Cloud initiative.

G-Cloud is intended to establish a series of frameworks on software, hardware and services and on purchasing to help deliver IT more effectively and reduce costs across government.

The three-month consultation process due Friday is intended to take input on open standards that would underpin G-Cloud. Maxwell promised the consultation is an important part of G-Cloud saying it has the “same authority” as the consultation on a new airport. “We are serious about this,” Maxwell said.

The consultation comes as the government prepares to announce which IT vendors will be G-Cloud certified. More than 600 companies are reported to have expressed an interest in the framework.

Underscoring the government’s interest in open source Maxwell said that last week he'd accompanied Cabinet Office minister Frances Maude, overseeing the government's digital transition, on a tour of Silicon Valley tech companies working with open source and big data – Cloudera, specializing in the Google-inspired Hadoop data munching framework, and MongoDB specialist 10Gen. Maxwell also introduced his ministerial boss to cloud software infrastructure specialist Joyent and eBay's payment arm PayPal.

“We have a minister who really gets this," Maxwell said. "That's where the future is moving. It's moving to  a new model of service and delivery, it's big data and big data is going to be open source. We are going to spend a lot of time looking into that. If we move to being one common government we need open source,” he said.

The idea is to move away from what Maxwell called “black-box” contracts involving big IT vendors to more agile systems delivered by small and medium sized enterprises. The thinking seems to be SME equals open source and open standards, while big means the same old proprietary vendors.

“For years we spent on IT systems built for bureaucrats, they were not built for people,” he said.

It's a message that's been coming out of government for a long while. Perhaps this time it will actually happen. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.