The government has said it is “committed” to using more open source software “where possible”.
In a parliamentary written answer yesterday, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that the government will “actively and fairly” consider open source and proprietary solutions in its procurement decisions.
“Procurement decisions will be made on the basis of the best value for money solution to the business requirement, taking account of total cost of ownership of the solution.
“Where there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products, open source will be selected on the basis of its additional inherent flexibility,” he said.
However, Maude said that the government had not made any estimates on the possible cost savings from moving to open source.
“While more open procurement can undoubtedly save money, it is difficult to ascertain precise cost savings from open source software alone as it is one element in the overall solution,” he said.
Maude said that the Cabinet Office was working with the Office of Government Commerce on a “Guidance for Procurers”, which focuses on open source software.
A recent survey by Accenture revealed that more than two-thirds of businesses expect to increase their investment in open source software in this year.
Meanwhile, last week Atos Origin became the first supplier to announce that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government to launch a ‘single-client’ approach to IT procurement.