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

gazz pmgazz at gmx.co.uk
Fri Feb 4 11:14:12 UTC 2011

This might be of interest, there's clearly already a consultancy
project assessing barriers to adoption of OSS in the civil service - as
I thought, these aren't trivial. It could make sense to talk to the
OSSG about any projected event? Anyway, I'm going to attend one of
these meetings. 

Barry - I'd like to go to the first one on 22 Feb - which is the day
you arrive in London. Need to organise something as it starts half an
hour after your train arrives! 


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *Mark Elkins* <markelkinsmsc at yahoo.co.uk
<mailto: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 <mailto: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 <mailto: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



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

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
    * 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 unchallenged.
    * 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

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