Tory criticism of government attitude to open source is 'misguided'

Antony Savvas

The Conservative Party is "misguided in its criticism of the UK government over its lack of support for open source software", says a security company, and "open source software exposes users to significant and unnecessary business risk" anyway.

"The Conservatives have accused the government of failing to capitalise on open source software, despite reports from government agencies that have recommended its usage," said Richard Kirk, Fortify Software vice-president and general manager of Europe.

He said, "Our own research, however, has concluded that open source software exposes users to significant and unnecessary business risk, as the security is often overlooked, making users more vulnerable to security breaches.

"That is not to say that commercial software is not without risks, but any flaws on commercial applications tend to get patched a lot faster than on open source, as the suppliers producing the software have a lot more to lose than an open source programmer," said Kirk.

Last year, security holes in Google's first open-source Android smartphone were blamed on the open source development process by other security researchers.

Kirk said, "It is highly questionable whether the Conservative Party has thought this issue through before criticising the current government for failing to support open source.

"There are a lot more issues to account for than the direct costs of migrating from commercial to open source applications. The government should not just consider OS because it significantly reduces costs, especially after their recent history of data breaches. They have to be able to guarantee that it is robust from a security stand-point too."

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