UK Government and OS

Jun 12th, 2010No Comments

The Tory party made noises prior and during the election about potentially using or even preferring Open Source as one of their money saving schemes, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that the ‘actual’ cost of software involved in IT projects is generally not one of the major costs involved. For example the new UK Supreme Court website reportedly cost £360,000 to develop (although you might be forgiven for thinking it was done with a free WordPress template in someone’s kitchen over a weekend)  and whether Open Source was used or not would have had little impact on the overall cost of the project.

Possibly a more relevant question is whether the government will introduce some competition into the process thus driving down the real costs, the case in point for example did not go through any sort of tendering process but was simply handed out to a pre-determined supplier to complete the work. Even better, the time spent on the project and the individual components of the project was not recorded or broken down, at inception it looks very much like a salesman simply pulled a number out of their **** and at the end of the weekend the government simply slapped the sum down on the kitchen table.

(Details obtained under the freedom on information Act available here)

So there does this leave Open Source in government, or in particular the use of Linux in Open Source projects? It is possible the reason(s) Open Source is not more widely used runs far deeper than simply lack of awareness, issues of incompetence and corruption may need to be addressed long before we worry about whether Mr Cameron runs Linux on his Laptop ..

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