Tories want open source Whitehall

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he government could save more than £600 million a year if it used more open source software, the shadow chancellor has estimated.

George Osborne said the savings would cut 5% off Whitehall's annual IT bill.

He called for a more "level playing field" for all software companies, and urged "cultural change" in government.

Open source software allows users to read, alter and improve its code - in contrast to proprietary software where a company controls the source code.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr Osborne said that despite a government report in 2004 saying there would be "significant savings" in hardware and software if open source software was used, many government departments had not implemented it.

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A bill filed in Congress that proposes the use of open source technology in government is drawing lackadaisical support from the country's lawmakers.

House Bill 5769, also referred to as the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Act, mandates the use of open source software in government and public academic institutions.

The bill, authored by Bayan Muna party list representative Teddy Casino, was filed September last year but has undergone only a single hearing so far in the previous Congress.

During a conference Thursday, Casino said the bill will likely be re-filed when the next Congress resumes session midyear.

He said only three congressmen expressed interest in the bill, including Cebu representative Simeon Kintanar, who heads the Lower House committee on ICT.

Open source bill hits snag in Congress