...public services should where possible avoid being "locked into proprietary software".The government says:
Government departments will be required to adopt open source software when "there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products" because of its "inherent flexibility".I'm applauding these statements from the UK government. However, I'm afraid that if it is left to the individual government departments to make a decision about open vs. proprietary software - merely based on that last criteria - then this announcement will not mean a great deal of open source adoption. Departments can always cite 'user re-training costs' in order to artificially inflate the supposed cost of open source software. And proprietary vendors will just employ their usual tactic of lowering prices to fight open source.
I have said before that open source should always be the default choice. Only under exceptional circumstances should proprietary software be considered, since proprietary software is always missing the number 1 feature: Openness.
As Mr. Watson said: It is important that [tax payer funded] public services avoid being locked into proprietary software. But as long as the mere costs of purchase and maintenance contracts is considered, proprietary vendors will easily be able to play along. The true benefit for the public will not be realised and I expect that many public services will remain locked in for a long time to come.
Other related posts:
25 open source projects for software development
Dabbling in OpenSolaris
Richard Stallman visits New Zealand: Visit one of his talks near you
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