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DWP to pilot open source desktops

dwplogoWell, who’d have believed it? (The blogmeister wouldn’t have for starters! Ed.) The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to trial open source desktop software in a move which could pave the way to the large-scale deployment of non-Microsoft PC software in the public sector, Computer Weekly reports.

The DWP is to run a trial of open source software on 1,000 desktops; the Department runs some 15,000 desktop machines in total.

Mike Truran, the DWP’s customer delivery director, told the Datacenter Dynamics Convergence conference the DWP had not yet moved to open source on the desktop because the department relied heavily on Microsoft Access and Excel (makes a change from the usual excuse of the accounts package. Ed.). “If the pilot works we will take it forward,” he said.

Truran said the DWP is committed to open source to meet the challenges set by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. We have of course, heard such fine words before and it’s good to see the DWP doing more than mouthing the mantra.

If the DWP can make open source software work, Truran believes it will be difficult for other central government departments to ignore open source desktop software. “There will always be exceptions, but it will be very difficult for other departments not to comply.”