25 February 2009

Open Source? Labour's Working on It

One of the great things about free software is that it transcends politics. Those on the left love it because it is a collaborative effort, born of altruism; those on the right love it because it is efficient and flexible. This has led to some interesting jockeying on the political scene, as politicians of all stripes have tried to prove that they were more open than their rivals.

There's no doubt that in the UK the winners so far have been the Conservatives, who have seized on open source as a stick with which to beat the current government's miserable record on large-scale IT projects, most of which have been way over budget at best, and utter failures at worst (with some managing both). This has understandably put pressure on Labour to come up with a riposte, and yesterday it was unveiled in the form of something called “Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use: Government Action Plan” (there's a handy version from WriteToReply here, where you can add your comments.

On Open Enterprise blog.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the UK government is more in hock to Microsoft than most. Certainly whenever I check a government website it comes back as IIS. I know that Windows is used throughout the NHS front-end, in the forces and the list goes on. Strangely other European governments and even the US seem to more into using and contributing to Free Software.

I'm very doubtful that any UK politician will go full throttle into Free Software or even open and semi-open source. Microsoft will pay back some of the money the UK spends on their products to ensure that is the case and political will in the face of someone waving money tends to crumble.

glyn moody said...

You're certainly right about the past; what's interesting is what this means for the future. And even the fact that it's being said is an improvement.

plh said...

Government too slow to adopt FOSS? Don't complain, just hack into the Royal Navy's submarines' Windows based missile systems and point some Tridents at the HP. That'll gee 'em up. :P

glyn moody said...

Sadly, I suspect they'd just arrest the entire country to be on the safe side...