Bonum Certa Men Certa

NHS Opens a Door to Free Software This Month

Dumping proprietary software as matter of emergency
Mayo Clinic's St. Mary's Hospital



Summary: A huge fan of Microsoft software is significantly limiting its dangerous spendings on proprietary Novell and Microsoft products

AS we reported last week, the British National Health Service (NHS) has finally popped its collar and made it easier for software freedom to literally guard people's lives. Microsoft's stack was far too unreliable and reports that we gathered over the years shed light on the human toll.



“The only way to ensure the safety of patients is to ensure the code which looks after them is open to auditing (and modifications, if any are found to be necessary).”Key sufferers from the Department of Health's new decision are Novell and Microsoft. The contract Novell had with the NHS accounted for as much of 1% of its entire revenue. Here is some coverage from ZDNet UK (mentioning Novell) and another new article (from publicservice.co.uk) which claims that a spokesperson for the department said: "The current national Enterprise Wide Agreement with Novell will expire on 30 October 2010. Future investment decisions will be taken at a local level in line with the proposals set out in the white paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS."

"Liberating" indeed. The only way to ensure the safety of patients is to ensure the code which looks after them is open to auditing (and modifications, if any are found to be necessary). We found four more articles about it and they mention Novell:

i. DH scraps Novell enterprise agreement

NHS Connecting for Health signed the EwA with Novell in December 2005. At the time, it said it would make it easier for the NHS to use open source products and software.


ii. NHS ends enterprise contract with Novell

iii. Local NHS Trusts Can Rely On Trustmarque For Help

iv. MicroScope's top stories, week ending 1 October 2010

It affects Novell just like it affects Microsoft. In principle, this does not mean that the HNS will no longer buy from Microsoft and Novell (proprietary), but procurement will be more limited and open to Free/libre software options. This is a major victory coming from the NHS, which has historically been a staunch supporter of the One Microsoft Way. Is this a sign of the changing times?

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