Posted by: commonsresource | April 21, 2010

Getting the Best Solution – U.K. Government and open-source

Last week, I read an interesting post entitled  Government remains vague on open-source commitments on the V3.co.uk site. In her article, Rosalie Marshall writes about an interview with Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms.  In particular, she notes that “Timms was less clear when it came to how the government would encourage more open-source technology into the public sector”  and set out the following quotes:

“Open-source software is useful, holding opportunities for low-cost and highly reliable solutions, but I don’t think it is right for the government to use only open-source technology,” he said.

“I don’t think we need to bias procurement in open-source. Just because it is open-source, there is not necessarily cost savings. Government procurement should be most focused on getting the best solution. We intend to be pragmatic in our use of open-source.”

As I have the privilege of speaking to a government group this afternoon about open source software, I thought it was timely to reflect on this issue. While I will grant Rosalie’s point that the statement is somewhat vague, I fully agree with Timms pragmatic focus “on getting the best solution” and will revisit the “need to bias procurement in open-source” issue in an upcoming post.  In the meantime, I am off to my talk.


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