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Is 2011 the year of open source in the public sector?

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Speaking shortly before Christmas, cabinet office minister Francis Maude reiterated the importance of open source software for future government contracts. Speaking to a delegation of large IT suppliers, including BT, Cap Gemini, Hewlett Packard and IBM, Maude pulled no punches, stating:

“The days of the mega IT contracts are over, we will need you to rethink the way you approach projects, making them smaller, off the shelf and open source where possible.”

The speech, at a supplier summit in London, broke no new ground, but it is the clearest indication yet that the coalition government is committed to pre-election pledges from both parties to level the playing field for both open source and smaller IT suppliers in providing IT goods and services to the public sector.

“We will open up the market to smaller suppliers and mutuals, and we will expect you to partner with them as equals, not as sub-ordinates,” Maude told the delegation.

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