03.18.13

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UK to Mandate Free/Open Source Software in Public (Taxpayers-Funded) Sector, Now is the Time to Guard Rules From Proprietary Software Lobbyists

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: British government says it will back FOSS, but this policy is assured to get opposition from Microsoft and its UK partners, as usual

So, government policy in the UK is again announced as being FOSS-friendly. We heard this before, but is this time different? The MSBBC seems not to cover it and Microsoft partners ganging up against Free/open source software support suppliers is how it typically ends up. Here is the one report we see cited widely regarding the policy:

The government has, for the first time, mandated a preference for using open source software for future developments.

The new Government Service Design Manual, released as a beta version on 14 March and effective from April, lays out the standards that must be used for all new digital public services developed across Whitehall.

Iophk asks: “Is it real or just a bid to get better prices on the next M$ contract?”

“It’s just cynicism,” he clarifies. “Part of it comes from M$ reaction teams swooping in, part of it comes from otherwise good people knuckling under to M$ when the reactions teams swoop in.”

Here is what Robert Pogson wrote about it: “That’s the official position of the government of the UK and that’s very similar to what I recommended to the government of Canada a while back. It makes no sense to prefer or to accept lock-in, EULAs and restrictions on IT and pay for that rather than making FLOSS the default choice.”

Here is the original message.

Iophk writes: “The part about avoiding lock-in through open standards is very important. The catch there is that while M$ often has support for standards on paper, in practice they are usually broken in such a way as to prevent interoperability.”

The source says “take care to mitigate the risk of lock-in to a single supplier by ensuring open standards are available…”

iophk concludes with: “Yet another risk is that the manual is only in beta. M$ could change it, if there is corruption before the release in April.”

Here is the latest report on this from JoinUp. Let’s keep our eyes open because Microsoft et al. must already be lobbying.

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