[ubuntu-uk] Fwd: [Ossg-announcements] Adoption of Open Source across HM Government – London 22/02/11 and 01/03/11

Chris Rowson christopherrowson at gmail.com
Thu Feb 3 20:39:31 UTC 2011

I thought that some of you may might be interested in this.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mark Elkins <markelkinsmsc at yahoo.co.uk>
Date: 2011/2/3
Subject: [Ossg-announcements] Adoption of Open Source across HM Government –
London 22/02/11 and 01/03/11
To: ossg-announcements at ossg.bcs.org

Two events are being hosted by the Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG)
http://ossg.bcs.org that considers adoption of Open Source across HM
Government. These will be held at the BCS Central London Offices, First
Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA (
http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/london-office-guide.pdf)) on Tuesday 22nd
February 2011, and Tuesday 1st March 2011 both from 1800 to 2100.

These bookable events are *free and open* to all with buffet and
refreshments. To book a place to attend please contact Mark Elkins via
mark_elkins at bcs.org

A member of the Home Office IT Team is undertaking research in conjunction
with the Cabinet Office to:

(1) try and understand why Open Source is not represented better across HMG
and the wider public sector, and

(2) identify and address barriers to adoption of Open Source across HMG and
the wider public sector.



1. The Coalition Government believes Open Source Software can deliver
significant short and long term cost savings across Government IT.

2. Typical benefits of Open Source include lower procurement prices, no
license costs, interoperability, easier integration and customisation,
compliance with open technology and data standards giving autonomy over your
own information and freedom from vendor lock in.

3. OSS is not currently widely used in Government IT, and the leading
systems integrators for Government Departments do not routinely consider
open source software for IT solution options, as required by existing HMG
ICT policy.

4. There are significant and wide ranging obstacles to Open Source in
Government. Some of these are lack of procurement guidance, resistance from
suppliers, concerns about license obligations and patent issues, and a lack
of understanding of open source maturity and its development ecosystem.



The debates will focus on (1) understanding the barriers to wider adoption
of Open Source across HMG, and (2) potential solutions to these barriers.

We will aim to have representatives from major IT suppliers to HMG to help
us understand the barriers from their perspective, and to help us understand
how well any proposed solutions might work. The debates should be more a
dialogue with the IT suppliers than amongst OSS supporters.


*Evening Debate 1 – Tuesday 22nd January*

1. Supplier Challenge – how can we incentivize the traditional IT suppliers
to consider OSS when evaluation software options?

   - Suitable OSS is not currently being considered equally – why?
   - What are the disincentives for IT suppliers? In-house skills. New
   support relationships with OSS vendors and support companies. Any others?
   - If they do work with OSS, how can we be sure the cost benefits are
   passed onto customers?

2. Procurement – how can it be better?

   - What are the current obstacles? Do the existing contracts and
   frameworks discourage OSS – if so, how?

3. OSS Assessment Model – working with IT suppliers

   - IT suppliers aren’t very open with how they select software as
   candidates for evaluation – not sustainable when spending taxpayers money.
   - We can help make this more transparent by working with them to build an
   assessment model they can sign up to. What would suppliers like to include
   in this assessment ? I have started a model to de developed.
   - List of top software per category (virtualisation, monitoring, email,
   collaboration, etc) – needs to be maintained to be useful, but will get the
   ball rolling in current lack of knowledge.

4. Case Studies – evidence of short and long term value for money. Where are
these? Also proven examples of OSS use in high demand, volume or
availability applications.

 5. Other Ideas – especially for the next debate.


*Evening Debate 2 – Tuesday 1st March*

1. Security. OSS is insecure compared to commercial software?

   - By what criteria can we select software to minimise security risks?
   - Does OSS need a different approach to patching?
   - Can we simply use empirical evidence when comparing OSS with closed
   software? Statistics for internet browsers are common – published
   vulnerabilities, known exploits, time to fix
   - Key question for HMG is – all things being equal, open code means
   vulnerabilities can be discovered and exploited before there is time to fix

2. Buy-not-Build. Can OSS actually benefit HMG because HMG doesn’t want
custom or re-engineered software?

   - HMG generally asks IT suppliers to build systems from COTS components
   and minimise customisation and re-engineering – it wasn’t want to maintain
   special code because of cost and risk. So does a significant benefit of OSS
   not apply to HMG?

3. Legal advice for OSS

   - OSS has some unique legal aspects compared with commercial software –
   where to get advice? Myths around legal obstacles and obligations are going
   - Patents and liability issues are often raised – resolved by major OSS
   suppliers who will shield customers?

4. Long Term Strategy

   - OSS won’t happen overnight.
   - Should we work backwards from insisting on open information formats for
   HMG interactions with the public and other sectors? This way the use of open
   standards compliant software filters back into HMG organisations.

5. Other Ideas

Ossg-announcements mailing list
Ossg-announcements at ossg.bcs.org
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