Richard Steel, president of the public sector IT managers’ organisation Socitm has given a cautious welcome to the government’s announcement that it was “levelling the playing field” for open source to compete with its proprietary rivals.
Steel on his blog said the new policy would lead to increased competition, which is "great for keeping suppliers focussed on delivering customer value".
But he added, “Software is only one part of the Total Cost of Ownership equation; don’t consider it in isolation, but as part of the full TCO and lifecycle costs.”
Steel also suggested that open source software development "lags behind proprietary development by several years," and he suggested it lagged behind in technologies surrounding “anytime, anywhere fixed and mobile infrastructure with tele-presence we require, now, for flexible and new ways of working using”.
Steel famously signed a landmark 10-year contract with Microsoft and HP, after a competition that pitched Windows against Linux. Microsoft agreed to fund hundreds of thousands of pounds of independent consultancy to let Newham evaluate the Windows business case.
Newham council, nevertheless, uses open source software for some applications, where appropriate, Steel said.