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UK public administration's use of open source growing in importance

OSOR - Open source is a topic rising in importance for public administrations in the United Kingdom. Very recent examples of public administrations turning to this type of software include city and county councils, hospitals and government departments, and politicians increasingly recognise its importance.

Last March, the cabinet unveiled its new ICT strategy, in which the use of this type of software is one of the ten key themes. To tackle the failing of big and complex IT projects, and to increase sharing and reuse of IT and data, the cabinet says that it wants to 'create a level playing field for open source software'. A second theme is to 'impose compulsory open standards, starting with interoperability and security'.

Among the most recent reports of public administrations implementing open source solutions is the Oxfordshire County Council, moving its web site to Drupal, an open source system for managing web sites. The H-Online, an IT news site focussing on open source last week reported that several hospitals are considering the use of an electronic patient record based on open source components. A third example is the department of transport, that earlier this month signed a contract to start hosting some of its web applications on open source.