UK's first national open source IT project to demo soon

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UK's first national open source IT project to demo soon

Warwick Ashford

A demonstration version of the UK's first government-backed national open source IT project, is to go live in two weeks' time.

The National Digital Resource Bank (NDRB) will provide content for digital learning systems to schools free of charge.

The move comes after increasing cross-party political support for the greater use of open source software and open standards in public sector.

The system will benefit all UK schools that have invested in digital learning systems, but do not have content to fill them.

The content repository is the first UK national project to rely entirely on open source, open standards and open content.

The NDRB is based on open source digital content repository software funded by the Spanish government and released under the open source General Public Licence version 2 (GPL2).

The bank of resources including tutorials, games, photographs, audio clips and worksheets, is available free to any organisation willing to contribute their own publicly funded resources.

The NDRB will initially offer £30m worth of publicly-funded content. It is expected to grow rapidly as schools joining the scheme add their own content.

The system is scheduled to be open to local authorities from July, and schools from September this year.

The system will be managed by the North West Learning Grid, which has run a pilot programme in the past 18 months, with technical support by open source supplier Sirius.

Gary Clawson, chief executive at the North West Learning Grid, said the NDRB is the missing link in UK digital resource strategy.

He said although many schools have computerised learning systems, there has been no way of sharing content because the systems were not interoperable.


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