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Open Source Software

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what action his Department is taking to increase confidence in Government Departments in moving to open source operating systems and programmes. [116658]

I announced the publication of the Government's Open Source Software (OSS) Policy in July last year. It sets out a level playing field for procuring OSS and proprietary solutions based on value for money considerations.We are raising confidence in and awareness of the use of OSS solutions in Government in a number of ways. Firstly, the publication in September 2002 of the Office of Government Commerce's Guidance on implementing OSS has made advice on procuring OSS solutions available to the public sector procurement community. Secondly, the establishment of the UK Public Sector OSS Special Interest Group (OSS SIG) has helped to share best practice on OSS implementations and build competence in procurement.Recent research reports supported by Government have also served to increase awareness of OSS solutions: the OGC commissioned case-study based report by QinetiQ provided a documented methodology for approaching OSS case studies in a consistent manner; and the DTI supported report for OpenForum Europe, "Market Perception Analysis of Open Source Software", revealed how business and Government's perceptions of OSS positively changed between 2002 and 2003.The Office of the e-Envoy and Office of Government Commerce will continue to appropriately support Departments to ensure that OSS solutions are procured where they demonstrate best value for money.