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Why the government needs to renew its public commitment to open source software

Information Age - The government needs to fully embrace open source as part of a future-proof IT strategy.

The government has played an important role as champion of open source in the public sector and this has been essential to the great progress that has been made to date. As the new government lays out its strategy, it should publicly reaffirm its commitment to open source software. This will add impetus to those in the public sector considering open source if the government acknowledges its value in relation to its agile vision.

There are three indisputable reasons why the government should play such an integral role in the open source software debate.

First, open source is liberating the public sector from traditional IT contracts. Led by Francis Maude, the government made significant steps to introduce open source software standards. This has been one of the big successes of the last Parliament because it has begun to break up the deeply rooted and overly complex licensing arrangements with traditional commercial vendors. No matter how hard such vendors fight, central government has made its intentions clear.