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03 November 2011, 11:46

Open source buying toolkit published by UK Cabinet Office

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Cabinet Office logo The UK's Cabinet Office has published an Open Source Procurement Toolkit for the public sector. The toolkit consists of a set of documents including an introduction to open source, an advice note on how procurement of open source should progress, "Options for open source" and guidance on total cost of ownership. The options document surveys various sectors of the IT industry and notes open source alternatives to particular products in those sectors; for example, in the cloud section it lists OpenStack, Eucalyptus and OpenNebula as alternatives to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, VMWare and Citrix, and offers resources for further investigation.

A fifth document, CESG guidance on Open Source, is only available to users with a email address, but should address the issues which caused problems, now resolved, for Bristol City Council's open source plans. The purpose of the toolkit it to help level the playing field for public sector open source acquisition. The procurement advice note points out that procurement rules need to compare total cost of ownership (TCO), but that where that cost is the same between open source and proprietary solutions, the open source solution should be preferred. This is because of open source's inherent flexibility, an attribute that isn't encapsulated by TCO calculations.

The "All about Open Source"PDF document also sets out to counter myths such as "Open source is less secure", "It is not possible to cost an Open Source Solution", "Open Source isn't licensed" and "Open Source is just the latest fad", while explaining government policy.


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