Open Source Makes Inroads into Government IT

Jack Clark | ZDNet UK | September 6, 2011

Departments across government are making use of open-source products for server management and workspace IT, according to the results of Freedom of Information requests released by the BBC on Monday. However, proprietary stalwarts such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and VMware had much more of a foothold in the organisations polled.

The broadcaster asked the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health and seven other departments how much open-source software they used, as well as how much of their budget goes on proprietary software. "This... does provide insights into the kind of software civil servants are buying, and why open-source providers may struggle to get a hearing," the BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, wrote in a blog.

Each of the departments presented its data in a different format, suggesting that there is no single template for tracking usage and spending on IT across government. This can hold true even within departments: the Ministry of Defence told the BBC that "there is no centrally held record of software (proprietary or open source) held across the MoD," Rory Cellan-Jones said...