Under 1% of Whitehall IT uses open source

Less than 1% of government IT systems are using open source software, according to MP Brian White, chairman of Parliamentary IT...

Less than 1% of government IT systems are using open source software, according to MP Brian White, chairman of Parliamentary IT group Eurim.

White questioned government departments following the Office of Government Commerce report at the end of October that open source was a "viable and credible alternative to propriety software" for the public sector.

Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the treasury and former IT minister, told White that in the Treasury, Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue, the use of open source software was "below 1% in both implemented and planned computer systems".

The departments followed the government's policy and considered open source alongside proprietary products in IT procure- ments. Timms said they awarded contracts "on a value for money basis".

Health minister Rosie Winterton said the Department of Health was not using open source software on any of its implemented or planned IT systems.

The Department of International Development said it expected to use some open source software over the next few years.

Hilary Benn, secretary of state for international development, said less than 5% of the department's computer systems were running open source software components. But he said he expected up to 70% of systems to include some open source components by 2007.

White said he was pleased with the revised OGC guidelines but more effort was needed. "Departments have a strategy to increase open source use but it is on a case-by-case basis," he said.

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