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05 December 2011, 12:16

UK's DWP to trial open source on desktop PCs

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The UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that, during the next 12 months, the department will run a pilot scheme in which 1,000 of its 150,000 desktop PCs will run open source software. The move comes just a month after the Cabinet Office published its Open Source Procurement Toolkit intended to encourage the use of open source in the public sector.

The DWP's Mike Truran spoke about the initiative at the Datacenter Dynamics Convergence conference. Quoted in a report on ComputerWeekly, he explained that the department is committed to open source – in line with the coalition government's ICT strategy as set out by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in March of this year. He said that "If the pilot works we will take it forward." As made clear in the toolkit published last month, cost savings from avoiding proprietary software are not the only motivation for the government to encourage the use of open source; another important criterion is to avoid vendor lock-in, thereby encouraging competition and improving control over IT projects.

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