This is the story I wrote for Eweek Europe on the UK gov take on open source:
The UK government has announced that open source could be key to helping the public sector cut IT costs during the downturn with some commentators claiming savings could be as much as £600m a year.
In a statement released late on Tuesday, the government announced what it claimed was a new policy on open source that should “ensure maximum value for money for taxpayers”.
The new policy is a reaction to the development of open source and the government’s approach to IT, said the minister for digital engagement, Tom Watson: “The world of technology has moved on hugely since we last set out our thinking on Open Source, which is why it was so important to update our policy,” he said.
The decision to encourage greater use of open source was also based on greater support for community development by IT vendors, he said: “Open Source products are more competitive and have become easier to include in business, and major players in the IT industry now support the use of Open Standards.”
In fact, most leading vendors have been selling or open source products for several years, including the industry stalwarts such as IBM, HP, Sun and Dell.
Microsoft, which supplies IT to numerous government departments and public sector organisations, has only recently begun to work with the open source community and support truly open standards.
Open source providers and the UK open source community welcomed the announcement, saying that as long as the government doesn’t fall prey to proprietary versions of the open source message, it could save large amounts of money on public sector IT budgets.
For more go to: UK Government To Save £600m With Open Source