Becta has dealt another blow to Microsoft by including an open-source specialist in its schools software supplier list for the first time.
Open-source consultancy Sirius Corporation is one of 12 suppliers to make the government technology agency’s Software for Educational Institutions framework.
The framework, which has been organised by OGCbuying.solutions, is due to go live on 9 October and will be worth £80m over four years.
The full list comprises Sirius, Academia, Civica Services, European Electronique, Insight Direct UK, Joskos Solutions, Pugh Computers, Ramesys, RM, SCC, Trustmarque Solutions and Viglen.
The move has been greeted as a logical follow-on from a recent report in which Becta ruled that schools should be made aware of free-to-use alternatives to Microsoft.
Phil Hemmings, director of corporate affairs at education integrator RM, said Sirius’ inclusion reflects the growing legitimacy of the open-source movement.
But he cautioned: “The watershed moment will come when we see a significant quantity of non-open-source enthusiast schools adopting open source because it is good value and is doing what they need.
“Very few have taken a decision to use open source of any kind at the moment.”
Rob Wileman, sales director at Ramesys, said: “As an integrator, Ramesys is happy to see the choice of relevant and appropriate products available to schools widen.”
Tom Callway, marketing director at Sirius, said the potential is huge: “You will see a small number of schools give this a go at first and then it will balloon very quickly as they realise how much money they can save and how suitable it is for them.”
LinuxIT, one of the 21 firms invited to tender for the framework, criticised it for not being commercially attractive for open-source outfits.
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