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Open source and the sluggish UK public sector

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OSS
Ubuntu

Confronting their rapidly shrinking budgets, public sector bean counters must imagine that someone somewhere has been casting Chinese curses about living in interesting times. Because when money gets tight, things sure do get interesting.

You would think that at times like these open-source deployments would be the obvious solution. Open source has to be considered for public-sector IT projects and with no upfront licensing costs it ought to be a shoe-in.

But it doesn’t seem to work that way. Jane Silber, chief executive of Ubuntu’s commercial champion Canonical, has a feeling that open source is used as a negotiating tool but that its benefits are not always taken into account.

“I’d like to think open source has a value other than as a negotiating tool,” she says. “There has been some good progress in getting it considered. The government is doing some things with procurement laws to encourage system integrators to include open source in proposals.

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