Conservatives renew call for open source in government

The Conservatives have called for a level playing field for open source software in its battle to win the political high ground on government spending and procurement.

The Conservative Party yesterday published a report which found the government was "wasting" up to 600 million a year through closed procurement procedures and proprietary software lock-in.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the recommendations from the report. "These proposals aren't just about saving money they're about modernising government, making the public sector more innovative and improving public services," he said.

The report said savings could be obtained if the government adopted a more effective open IT procurement process. "The open source savings would come not just from reduced licensing costs, but importantly by freeing government bodies from long-term, monopoly supply situations," it said.

The report also called for new government data standards to be introduced that would enable large-scale IT projects to be split into small modular components.

This, it argued, would mean that the UK government should "never again need to sign an IT software contract worth over 100 million so no more IT 'white elephants'," it added.

Open source software has long been a subject of debate in public sector education particularly, where the education agency Becta has been criticised for slow attempts to move schools away from using proprietary software.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.