Haven’t we heard all this before?
The Register today carries an article entitled “UK.gov: We really are going to start buying open-source from SMEs“.
On Tuesday last in London Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said that open source had grown up and it’s time to dispel lingering misconceptions about it.
Speaking at the Intellect 2012 Conference, Maxwell said: “Open source software is not three guys in a shed any more. There are a lot of misconceptions about open source but open source is the future model for delivering IT.”
This isn’t the first time that central government has promised to procure more open source and obtain it from SMEs instead of its usual modus operandi of buying proprietary software from oligopoly suppliers and even though getting Whitehall to change direction is a manoeuvre on the supertanker scale, we open source advocates can’t help feeling there’s been a lot of prevarication and far too little action on central government open source deployment. Indeed, some leading open source SMEs have heard it all before and don’t believe it. Moreover, they won’t believe that change is happening until action replaces words, since all they’ve had from central government for years is words while Whitehall continues its current pattern of spending some £20 bn. per year on proprietary IT.
Finally, another post on Computer World UK reveals that a mere 12% of government contracts awarded to SMEs, so it looks like Whitehall not only has a long way to go to reach its target of 30% procurement from SMEs, but even further to go to dispel suspicions that its words are worthless and business will continue very much as usual.