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3 November 2011 | Angeline Albert
Open source software is
proprietary (licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder) software,
which restricts these rights. It guarantees the right to access and modify
source code and to use, reuse and redistribute the software, all with no
royalty or other costs.
toolkit includes the documents: All about Open Source, ICT Advice Note –Procurement of Open Source, OpenSource Options v1.0 and Total cost of ownership - things to consider v1.0.Created in conjunction with the
Home Office, the guidance said more widespread use of open source can
encourage reuse, innovation, flexibility and reduce the price of software. It
also increases the options for support, reduces monopolies and promotes competition.
When purchasing IT, the toolkit
said government departments should, where possible, buy open source solutions.
This would make government assets open for reuse to maximise return on
investment, avoid technological or supplier lock-in and reduce operational risk
in IT projects.
guidance also dispels myths about open source – including that it is a security
risk because the source code is open to all. The guidance said “open source
options cannot be excluded from evaluation on the basis of the above security
arguments. The security implications are the same as for proprietary software.”
The toolkit said procurement
decisions should be based on best value for money, the solution to the business
requirement, total lifetime cost of ownership (including exit and transition
costs), after ensuring that solutions fulfil minimum, essential capability,
security, transferability and support requirements.
The documents support the
government’s IT strategy, published in March, which states that a level playing
field should be created for the use of innovative IT solutions such as open