EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Huge 180 in Favour of Free Software and ODF in the UK

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US and UK flags

SEVERAL READERS urged us to mention the big news from the UK. This comes as a great surprise given the government's attitude towards Free software.

Here is the source of the news where Free software affinity is shown (they call it “open source”).

Open Source has been one of the most significant cultural developments in IT and beyond over the last two decades: it has shown that individuals, working together over the Internet, can create products that rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations; it has shown how giant corporations themselves, and Governments, can become more innovative, more agile and more cost-effective by building on the fruits of community work; and from its IT base the Open Source movement has given leadership to new thinking about intellectual property rights and the availability of information for re–use by others.

Coverage we were able to pick up is as follows.

OSI: UK Government Getting Real About Open Source

As billions of bail-out dollars become trillions, it is clear that we need to be realistic about the nature and the solutions to our world-wide software crisis. Today the world spends more than $3T USD per year on systems that are largely based on vendor lock-in, not value and not free and fair competition. What is most shocking about the $3T USD number is not its sheer size alone, but the fact that fully $1T USD of that number is written off ever year when people are forced to abandon their projects before putting them into production. The place to fix that problem is not in any specific piece of software (most of which has 20-30 defects per 1000 source lines of code), but in the fundamental system of competition that is responsible for ensuring that malignant software can be successfully removed in the first place. The UK Government’s decision is a strong step in the direction of properly restoring the right kind of competition in the marketplace. The days of rewarding past performance, especially the performance of amassing billions of dollars based on strategic lock-in, must be put behind us. And we should treat any use of such funds for furthering vendor lock-in as extremely suspect and worthy of an immediate and full investigation.

Computer Weekly (UK): Government pushes open source with 10-point plan

The government is getting serious about using open source as a building block in systems development.

Yesterday its top IT policy-making body, the CIO Council, published a10

point action plan that frees central and local government departments to use open source systems where possible.

IDG: Open Source? Labour’s Working on It

There’s no doubt that in the UK the winners so far have been the Conservatives, who have seized on open source as a stick with which to beat the current government’s miserable record on large-scale IT projects, most of which have been way over budget at best, and utter failures at worst (with some managing both).

This has understandably put pressure on Labour to come up with a riposte, and yesterday it was unveiled in the form of something called “Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use: Government Action Plan” (there’s a handy version from WriteToReply here, where you can add your comments.

BBC: UK government backs open source

The UK government has said it will accelerate the use of open source software in public services.

Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software such as Windows.

Advogato: Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use: UK Government Policy

The UK Government has made it clear that Open Source and Open Standards, with a focus on re-use of software development and deployment, is to clearly and unequivocably be part of the decision-making for UK Government I.T. procurement and contracting. Also part of the policy is a clear committment to engage with the Free Software community and to actively encourage the development of “Government-Class” Free Software products.

Alan Lard: UK Government: Starts The Push For FOSS?

Whoa! This comes from the Chief Information Office Council. Yes, the Government is so big they can’t have just one CIO like even the biggest Enterprise, they have to have a whole council of them ;-)

Jupitermedia: Is the UK going open source?

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.

Simon Phipps (Sun): UK Government Endorses Open Source and ODF

Late today (UK time), the British Government issued a bold new strategy for use of open source software – and open standards – in Great Britain. In Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use, the government’s Minister for Digital Engagement (yes, really, and he’s on Twitter too) significantly revised the brave but toothless policy of 2004 “that it should seek to use Open Source where it gave the best value for money to the taxpayer in delivering public services”. This is fantastic news – the digital tipping point is at hand. (The publication is also progressive in having nominated use of the tag “#ukgovOSS” in comment and coverage so it can be found and aggregated).

The Register: Government publishes open-source strategy

The announcement follows a recent declaration by shadow chancellor George Osborne that the Conservative Party favours the greater use of open source and would take action to prove a “level playing field”.

VNUNet: Government publishes open-source strategy

Heise: UK Government policy update supports open source

Torygraph: Labour disingenously adopts Tory position on open source software

There will surely be plenty more in days to come. Since the UK is one of the countries closest this Microsoft, this is pretty major. Microsoft partners like Fortify [1, 2] will soon try to rain on this parade or maybe even 'pull a Quinn' on the CIO in charge.

“[W]hat things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS and not run with DR-DOS. Is there [sic] feature they have that might get in our way?”

Bill Gates

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Jose_X said,

    February 25, 2009 at 11:04 pm


    I’ll quote a pessimistic interpretation from irc:
    “Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use: Government Action Plan” – - >
    “Shared Source, OOXML, and reuse Windows: Government Buyout Plan”

  2. Jose_X said,

    February 27, 2009 at 1:10 am


    180 degree change on my part from my prior comment/view.. because now I actually read the news story. It seems FOSS companies will (in theory) almost be guaranteed to win contracts because the UK has properly based their requirements on maximizing value, which is where FOSS excels.

    See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7910110.stm

What Else is New

  1. Responses to Software Patents in India Though Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions

    India's famous skills, which revolve around software services and software development, are under attack by new laws which strive to grant foreign corporations de facto monopolies on software, even inside India

  2. Mobile Linux (e.g. Android) Still a Victim of Software Patents, No Peace in Sight

    A look at recent developments in the fight against mobile Linux (notably Android these days) and whoever is behind the patent attacks (not always as obvious as people are led to believe)

  3. Bad News for the EPO's Judicial Independence and Due Process in Next Week's Administrative Council (AC) Meeting

    A quick update about what's expected to happen next week when the Administrative Council holds a two-day meeting

  4. More Back Doors Found in Microsoft's Entrapments (Proprietary Software)

    Security flaws and even blatantly obvious loopholes for surveillance are identified in several of Microsoft's so-called 'products', which turn users (and their data) into the real product (to be sold to private companies or shared with spies)

  5. NASA Gives Back What It Took Away in the Form of Patent Monopolies for Private Gain

    Criticism of NASA's habit of clinging onto patents when it is actually the public which pays for everything

  6. The Coup D'état of Benoît Battistelli Follows an Imperialist Model, Threatens Opposition and Dissent

    SUEPO, the staff union, and boards that are independent from the EPO are both under attack and are constantly threatened by Benoît Battistelli and his goons

  7. Links 8/10/2015: Manjaro Linux Releases, Linksys WRT1900ACS, FOSS at NHS

    Links for the day

  8. Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

    Links for the day

  9. EPO Staff to Disrupt Administrative Council Meeting With Public Demonstration That Raises Awareness of Abuses

    The perception of collusion between the Administrative Council (AC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) leads to staff actions demanding investigation of illegal Board of Appeal (BoA) suspension/s (among many other things)

  10. OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That 'Normalise' Software Patents

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

  11. Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

    Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

  12. Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for 'Daring' to Legally Challenge the EPO's Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

  13. Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

    Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate ("embrace") Android to put its apps there ("extend") but ultimately to delete ("extinguish") Android

  14. Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

    Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk's absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli's iron fist

  15. Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

    Links for the day

  16. With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

    Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

  17. New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO's Benoît Battistelli

    Battistelli's bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

  18. Microsoft Customers Complain About 'Inevitable' Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched 'Upgrades'

    In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people's will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

  19. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

    European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

  20. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  21. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  22. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  23. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  24. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  25. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  26. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  27. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  28. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  29. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  30. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts