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Government backtracks on its preference for open source

Computer Weekly - The government has quietly backtracked from its publicly declared preference for using open source over proprietary software.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) published its Service Design Manual in March, laying down mandatory standards for developing all new digital public services. The document stated: “Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.”

But Computer Weekly has learned that the statement has since been removed, diminishing the preference for open source and instead positioning open source equally alongside proprietary products under a new section titled “Level playing field”.

Government CTO [chief technology officer] Liam Maxwell said the shift reflects a change in priority to focus on creating a competitive market for software where open source and proprietary products can compete on an equal basis.

“Open source is at the heart of our commitment to deliver digital public services designed around the needs of citizens.