Open source software is a viable alternative to commercial proprietary software, with potential significant value-for-money benefits for government, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has concluded.
A newly published OGC report detailing the results of open source pilot schemes has advised that open source software has reached an acceptable level of development to offer a viable desktop alternative for the majority of government users.
It also dismissed claims that Linux is plagued by interoperability issues, saying that such concerns are no longer a major issue.
The bottom line, according to the OGC, is that open source software can generate "significant savings", particularly in conjunction with server consolidation and by delaying hardware replacement.
By extending the life of hardware Linux also has potential 'green' benefits, as fewer resources are consumed in producing new hardware and less waste is generated disposing of old machines.
The OGC's chief executive, John Oughton, said: "These pilots have provided us with valuable evidence on open source software. They show it could support government bodies by offering efficient and cost-effective IT solutions.
"Effective use of IT is a crucial element in the government's modernisation agenda. This report will assist public sector bodies in making informed, value-for-money judgements when deciding upon which solution best suits their needs."
The pilot schemes were carried out in partnership with a number of government bodies, IBM and Sun Microsystems, and allowed a number of public sector bodies to assess the potential benefits of open source software in a 'live' environment.
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