[Klug-general] Linux and Open Standards in Public GovernmentOrganisations

Ian Pascoe ianpascoe at btinternet.com
Sun Sep 13 16:14:53 UTC 2009

Hi all

Apologies for jumping onto this thread rather late.

Now that the Framework that governs how both Local and Central Government
can decide on which products and services to be used has been amended to
allow FOS, the first step has been completed.  Although this may open the
gates to those IT individuals who are far sighted and have the necessary
expertise, there is still a lot of groundwork that needs to be covered
before Government will adopt FOS wholesale, or even partially.

The biggest problem is, as James alludes to, that of in life support.

I'm afraid that within the UK at the moment, there is no one organisation
that can offer the type of support that a Government IT buyer is looking
for, unless that person is factoring in the training requirements for their
in-house support organisation.

The other thing to remember as well is that most of the UK Government IT
requirements is out sourced, and working for one of those approved
companies, we certainly embrase FOS internally, but don't have the necessary
expertise to offer it out to our customer base.  This is mainly down to the
same problem as detailed by James - there are no ways in which SLAs (Service
Level Agreements) or T2F (Time To Fix) contracts with appropriate penalty
clauses can be obtained from the relevant FOS project.  Yes, you have the
likes of REL and Cononical that provide Enterprise grade support, but that
is for their entire platform, not just for, say, Open Office.

So, until either ourselves or one of our competitors are willing to take the
big, and it is a very big step in the current financial climate, to take
these penalties in-house, FOS is doomed to live it's life outside of Central
Government, and most of Local Government - look at the Birmingham City
Council web site fiasco as an example.

Having painted this picture of doom and gloom, there is the silver lining
that Colin indicated in his post - taking the longer view, the more students
at all levels  that are introduced to FOS, the more likelyhood there is of
it's adoptation as time goes by .... good phrase that, wonder if I could
make a TV sitcom out of it ....


An ex-Kent lurker

-----Original Message-----
From: kent-bounces at mailman.lug.org.uk
[mailto:kent-bounces at mailman.lug.org.uk]On Behalf Of James Blake
Sent: 03 September 2009 12:54
To: Kent Linux User Group - General Topics
Cc: Kent Linux User Group - General Topics
Subject: Re: [Klug-general] Linux and Open Standards in Public

Further to this email and my last posting, you're right that the
government is trying to drive open source adoption (as well as cloud
services).  This is a government-driven policy (i.e MPs), which I was
lucky enough to contribute to under the Digital Britain consultation.

The actual inplementations (in any part of government that handles
protectively marked material) will have to be assed by CESG (civil
servants) before adoption.

As usual government promises are subject to the reality of


Sent from the mobile device of James Blake

On 3 Sep 2009, at 12:38, George Prowse <george.prowse at gmail.com> wrote:

> nicolas diogo wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> i have joined a local government institution recently and i am
>> impressed (if that is the right word) with the lack of open-source
>> standards used.
>> what i means is that everyone uses MS word 2007, and there is no
>> interest in using alternatives such as openoffice.
>> likeways, there are many database servers running MSSQL but none
>> with postgresql or mysql.
>> so i wonder if there are other folks reading this list that some
>> experience with public government organisations.
>> thanks,
>> Nicolas
> Actually and update to my previous post:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/opensource/
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7910110.stm
> "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.
> Open source software will be adopted "when it delivers best value for
> money", the government said.
> It added that public services should where possible avoid being
> "locked
> into proprietary software". "
> _______________________________________________
> Kent mailing list
> Kent at mailman.lug.org.uk
> https://mailman.lug.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/kent

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