VARs could be forced to build an open-source component into public sector software tenders under far-reaching government plans.
Minister for digital engagement, Tom Watson, last week published a nine-point action plan designed to increase the pace of open-source adoption in the public sector (Channelweb, 25 February).
The announcement could have a profound effect on the channel as all public sector suppliers will be required to demonstrate their capability in open source. Resellers must also show they have actively considered open source in the solutions they put forward.
It is estimated that greater use of open-source software could shave £600m from the government’s annual IT bill.
Mark Taylor, chief executive of open-source supplier Sirius, said Microsoft and its channel would be forced to sit up and take notice.
“This will mean that the genuine open-source suppliers will achieve a higher profile. But we will also see a lot of new market entrants and a bandwagon effect where a lot of people that are anti-open source claim they can offer open source,” he said.
If properly implemented, it is believed the action plan could thrust the UK ahead of European open-source pioneers such as the Netherlands, France and Spain.
Ketan Karia, senior vice president of marketing for open-source database vendor Ingres, said: “The government is saying the old way of purchasing software is over. It will no longer purchase software without the flexibility seen in open source.”
Of particular note, according to Karia, is the government’s determination to force proprietary suppliers to allow licences to be transferred between government departments.
“This is long overdue. The UK government was a laggard as far as open source is concerned, but this is a stronger announcement than we have seen elsewhere in Europe,” he said.
The action plan comes just three weeks after shadow chancellor George Osborne indicated his support for open-source adoption.
Telco also announced series of initiatives to drive digital growth in the UK
Nana Baffour opens up on Getronics' mammoth acquisition of Pomeroy
Analyst predicts SaaS will remain the dominant segment in the market as it grows 17 per cent in 2019
NSS Labs claims vendors are refusing to have their products tested effectively and are trying to restrict its access