A colleague recently invited me to comment on a proposal they have been reviewing before a major government department undertakes a technology update in the near future. I was reminded of our post back in April last year optimistically titled UK Government Encompasses Open Source. I wonder if I might have been breaking out the champagne bottles a little early, as it seems that little has changed in the glacial world of government IT thinking. Obviously my colleague, the government department involved and the suppliers involved will not be named for legal reasons.
It appears that it might take the closed world of government procurement and suppliers a few more decades before the radical concepts of open standards and best value impinge on the practices and closed thinking. After all, Open Source would mean we could use WordPress, PHP and MySQL on Apache for non critical applications such as Intranet sites, for example, or the Joomla portal engine and content management system.
However, the proposed technical solution in the, soon to be rolled out, upgrade is likely to exclude Open Source (presumably on grounds of security!) and any operating system except Microsoft Windows. I will not stoop to comment again on the browser version, as you can read previous musings in A Few More Nails in the Coffin of IE6
In a touch of spookiness reminiscent of the best spy movies, since starting this post, the source material has disappeared from the Cabinet Office web site! At the start of writing it was at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/cio/transformational_government/open_source.aspx, but the link now returns a Page/Document not found! It is not just us who are pointing to the missing link, as writetoreply.org also carry the broken link at writetoreply.org/ukgovoss/, along with some of the details.
For those who did not dig into the content of the paper before it disappeared, the document outlined the expected expansion in the use of Open Source and Open Standards, with the main action points as follows:
- Clarity in procurement
- Increasing capability within Government
- Reuse as a practical principle
- Maturity and sustainability
- Supplier Challenge
- International examples and policies, and keeping up to date with developments
- Industry/Government joint working
- Open Standards
- Open Source techniques and reuse within Government, and appropriate release of code
- Communication, Consultation and Review
Government Action Plan on Open Source Awry
If only someone had a copy in their cache, we could read the whole thing. If you are linking to this post or referring to it or it’s source, please use the tag #ukgovOSS to enable interest in the subject to be tracked.