UK Gives Open Source The OK - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
10/28/2004
05:37 PM
50%
50%

UK Gives Open Source The OK

A UK government report encourages public agencies to consider using Linux and other open-source alternatives to commercial software.

The British are coming--to the open-source software community.

This week, United Kingdom government agencies got the go-ahead to use Linux and other open-source products in a report published by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC). The report, which analyzed the costs and benefits of open-source software in several pilot programs, concluded that open-source infrastructure and server products provided a "viable and credible alternative to proprietary software" for the UK public sector.

"OSS server and infrastructure products," the report stated, "are now perceived by the market as mature, gaining increasing acceptance, and delivering significant value."

A number of governments around the world have adopted Linux and open-source software to some extent. In Europe, the city of Munich recently approved a switch from Windows to Linux for 14.000 PCs, and the city of Paris is reportedly considering a similar move. Other nations, especially in Asia and South America, mandate the use of open-source software wherever possible and are developing regional Linux distributions.

Microsoft, which continues to dominate the public-sector software market, has responded with price cuts and a program that gives limited access to Windows and Office source code. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also recently circulated an email to customers and partners, reiterating the company's claims that Windows is more secure and offers a lower total cost of ownership than Linux.

According to the OGC report, a variety of UK government agencies participated in open-source software pilot studies between late 2003 and mid-2004.

"These pilots provided us with valuable evidence on open-source software," said John Oughton, OGC chief executive. "They show it could support government bodies by offering efficient and cost-effective IT solutions."

The OGC report, Oughton stated, would give UK government agencies the ability to make "informed, value-for-money judgments when deciding upon which solution best suits their needs."

After evaluating the pilot studies, the OGC concluded that open-source software is "now a viable desktop alternative for the majority of government users" and that interoperability generally was not a major problem. The report identified major cost savings due to the use of open-source products, including server consolidation and delayed hardware replacement, and it noted the environmental benefit of discarding obsolete hardware less often than before.

The report also, however, identified potential problems with open-source desktop and business applications, weighing cost savings against potential compatibility and performance problems. "OSS Business Applications are generally still immature," the report states. "Those applications . . . are currently more appropriate for small or medium-sized businesses than for large public-sector bodies."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
The DevOps movement brings application development and infrastructure operations together to increase efficiency and deploy applications more quickly. But embracing DevOps means making significant cultural, organizational, and technological changes. This research report will examine how and why IT organizations are adopting DevOps methodologies, the effects on their staff and processes, and the tools they are utilizing for the best results.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll