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Is the UK going open source?

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From the 'read in between the lines' files:

A little bit of buzz today about the United Kingdom going open source - kinda/sorta. The BBC reports that the British government would, "..ensure that open source solutions are considered properly and, where
they deliver best value for money are selected for Government business
solutions."

Sun's Simon Phipps blogged
that the move will advance the digital tipping point for open source in
the UK. Phipps noted a few key provisions that he is keen on which
include:

  • support the use of Open Document Format (action 8);
  • work to
    ensure that government information is available in open formats, and it
    will make this a required standard for government websites (action 8);
  • general purpose software developed by or for government will be released on an open source basis (action 9).

The
new UK initiative however is not a wholesale rip and replace of the
proprietary tools it already uses. It does not restrict the use of
proprietary software either, but rather 'supports' open standards over
closed proprietary lock-in.

Yes this is a move in the right
direction since lock-in is not something that benefits government
transparency. As well the standard open source argument that open
source leads to better(lower) costs may well also be in play.

Don't
forget though that Microsoft will argue (and has) that it uses open
standards too (as it does) and that it too has open source software
(check out Codeplex for a list).

In my opinion, the shift to
open isn't something that will hurt tech vendors - but it might help to
further encourage those that are not open standards based to rethink
their ways.

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