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The two faces of UK open source

ITWorld - There are two perceptions about open source in the United Kingdom's government.

First, there is the public-facing perception: that national and local government organizations have launched multiple open source deployment and integration projects over the years that sometimes seem to have trouble actually getting off the ground. But then another open source project is launched--sometimes by the same local governments, and all seems right in the world again.

Then there are the glimmers of what appears to be a darker truth about how open source is really handled in the UK. Glimmers like Minister of Parliament (MP) John Pugh's 2007 statement at the launch of the National Open Centre (NOC): "Open source has enemies, and its enemies are very, very close to government." (The story of NOC and its ultimately fizzled launch was detailed last summer.)

More recently, the CEO of an open source vendor out and out accused one of the systems integrators tasked with implementing the Bristol City Council's latest open source project of deliberately fumbling the project in order to keep the integrators' connections with Microsoft secure and their own wallets fat.