UKGov embraces open source – a bit
This ITPRO article about the UK government’s damascene conversion to open source includes a quote from Francis Maude that government has made a pledge “to create a level playing field for open source software.” Marvellous. However, the article follows it with another quote from the report:
“Where appropriate, Government will procure open source solutions”
“Where appropriate”, hmm >strokes chin – or fluffy white cat, you choose – thoughtfully< “Where appropriate”. Did those getting their hands dirty in government IT procurement ever consider whether it was “appropriate” to employ a proprietary solution? I doubt it, unless they were addressing the issue of how much profit was “appropriate”. And just who is goin to be assessing this appropriateness? Someone with an entirely objective and long-term view of public service goals and a clear understanding of the mechanics of providing large-scale digital services?
The addition of that phrase “where appropriate” reduces what the government no doubt felt was to be congratulated to little more than a sop almost entirely obliterated by a get-out clause. Perhaps we in the open source world should be pleased with this grudging move towards implementation of open source in the highest echelons, but somehow I can’t be. The words “lip” and “service” come to mind. I think the phrase “where appropriate” will come back to haunt what could have been a laudable step. UKGov embraces open source is, at this stage, merely laughable instead.