Small open-source suppliers unite to bid for a share of big players' pie

A new supplier group, The Open Source Consortium, has been set up to help smaller open-source providers to compete with the big...

A new supplier group, The Open Source Consortium, has been set up to help smaller open-source providers to compete with the big proprietory suppliers like IBM and Microsoft.

It also aims to counter the claims made by Microsoft that open source is the more expensive option.

The consortium, a grouping of more than 60 companies, has been established to offer an unbiased proprietary supplier-free voice for organisations contemplating an open source roll-out.

It was created to meet demand from areas such as the public sector, and aims to bring impartial clarity to the debate.

OSC executive Mark Taylor said, "It is all about the smaller players. We want to open up markets that they do not have access to."

The group will not compete with existing open-source groups, which are more concerned with standards.

Taylor said that the consortium would aim to counteract misconceptions about open source.

"We have seen figures purporting to offer the total cost of ownership on Windows and Linux, which show Windows as the cheaper option - but those are from figures supplied by Microsoft."

He said that the consortium would promote the facts of the issue through its relationship with the National Computing Centre.

Taylor said that the OSC would offer four services: strategic consultancy, deployment consultancy, training and support.

The consortium already has close links with public sector lobby group Socitm, he said. The group will look at several technical areas: for example, on the use of Apache, and making websites browsable by open-source browsers.

Taylor said that the OSC's trailblazing for open source, which has been operating in the background for some time, was being monitored by open-source groups in other countries.

“We know that France and Germany are both looking at what we are doing, so although it will be UK only at first, we hope to take the concept elsewhere. We are well ahead of other countries: there is not even the equivalent of the OSC in the US,” he said.

Maxwell Cooter writes for

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