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back to article UK.gov tweaks open source policy small print

The UK government has rejigged its open source and open standards software procurement policy, following pressure from OSS vendors last autumn. Early last year the Cabinet Office revised its rules on public sector open source software purchases, but many OSS players complained that the policy amendments didn’t go far enough. …

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Silver badge

Ooh goody

Now small business can at least get a look in in certain areas. I'm currently trying to find out why my local primary school is being quoted £25k for two years broad band connection. For 150 pupils it seems excessive but if your not allowed to quote you don't get to see the requirements apparently.

Democracy - wouldn't you love it?

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RFP

How many of you have seen RFP that have been written specifically with one company in mind? Unrealistic expectations, functionality that is not needed for anything but exists only in that one specific product, etc. Try to do the bidding for that...

Sadly that will change nothing. Most of the deals are done on CEO level, without any possible scrutiny. But nice somebody tried...

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Schools

Most primary schools in London nowadays use bog-standard business ADSL lines - even the private schools, and some of the secondaries. Anything else is usually the external services provided by the supplier (which in London includes things like the LGfL - the London Grid For Learning - which supply filtering, websites, video hosting, video conferencing, virtual learning environments, even free copies of Sophos antivirus for every machine and server in the school. Similar large cities have similar "grids").

So, be careful what you think you're "bidding" against - a lot of it is actually service, nothing to do with the connection. Even on the expensive packages, in a primary school anything but ADSL or cable broadband is unusual, though I wouldn't put it past at least one school to be using leased lines / SDSL without realising the cost was unnecessary.

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Linux

Grudgingly...

... this looks like a big improvement over the previous version of the "same" policy. Someone, somewhere seems to have cottoned on. I'm curious. Will it make a difference?

Two cavils:

remind me again which product supports ISO 29500? (Other than OOo)

It would have been good to see "unencumbered" included in the Open Standards bit, pre-empting any rotting of the European position on software patents.

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Anonymous Coward

do as I say not as I do

the government doesn't follow it's own rules? really?

Rules like "don't claim money for a second home you don't live in, *wink* *wink*"

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FAIL

The more things change

The more things change, the more they stay the same. From the PDF:

"The Government’s policy is as follows: ... Where no evidence exists in a bid that full consideration has been given to open source products, the bid will be considered non compliant and is likely to be removed from the tender process."

'likely to be removed'. Not will. FAIL.

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A Blank Cheque and Under the Table ?

Who is providing Government .... [and Governments for that Matter, for Prime Secure Protocols for one Client will invariably be conveniently appropriate for Any and All Others in this Very Particular and Peculiar Specialised Field] .... with Cyber Security, and is it costing them any more than £88,888,888 for the Intellectual Property, which is really all that they would need to be Paying for/Buying in, or have they chosen a viable comprehensive in-house program, against which Rival and/or Rogue Beta System Crash Test Assault Teams/Virtual Terrain Team Great Game Players can launch Realistic Market Targeted Attacks for Assessment of the Provided Real Protection Value.

Was Cyber Security ever put out to Public Open Source Tender, or was it one of those little side deals done on the QT amongst friends.

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Linux

Take your own medicine, .Gov...

Given that almost all public sector Web sites aren't compliant with RFC2822, it's about time a few more Goverment systems were Open Source.

Try entering an e-mail address containing an ampersand ("&") in the local part into any Government Web site, and see what I mean ("Please enter a valid e-mail address"). Of course, the restriction comes about because the proprietary "GovTalk" ( a bastardised version of Microsoft's BizTalk) has to block the ampersand character in input strings, because of Microsoft's horribly broken security - their software is particularly vulnerable to strings containing this character.

The B&Q Web site is the same, a bit embarrassingly for them. But of course it's a perfectly legal character as far as the (open) IETF standard RFC2822 is concerned. It's funny, corresponding with Government departments that tell you it can't be used in an e-mail address, when... errmmmm... they're emailing you using your e-mail address with an ampersand in it... :-)

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