guy wrote: The idea of "best value" is already working its way through the monstrously slow bureacratic machinery.
Writing to your MP is certainly a good idea, but the emphasis should be on conforming to the emerging government requirements for best value, not on preaching revolution.
Absolutely, its about making real improvements through technological progress and cost reductions, preaching revolutions is certainly a turn off.
Best value has been in opperation for several years, unfortunately with regard to ICT it was best value within a reasonably rigid framework. Best value for the most part has now taken a back seat to achieving certain acreditations under CPA (Comprehensive Performance Assesment). But its all of a similar thing.
One of the problems is, that some decision makers, or those who can at least influence decisions, are not aware of OSS and how it can actually improve the current situations. MS for instance are constantly spreading FUD through top levels of gov, with regular contact with the DTI. I just get the impression that its a tad one sided at the moment and some information sent to your MP might at least make them think a little more about an issue which probably hasn't been on their radar.
Currently, as time moves on, more sections become further embedded in proprietry solutions. Take the eGov policy for instance, that all gov bodies be able to offer electronic services by a certain date, this meant that approx 3-4 years ago various processes were initiated to look into solutions based on the guidlines of the funding given, massive grants were dished out to address these targets. Now, 3 years down the line, a lot of sections have committed themselves to XP + Office 2003 + .NET + IIS + Sharepoint + active directory etc These are technologies which are unlikely to be replaced in the next 7 -10 years, and can only contribute to vender lock-in because in that time more internal systems/processes will be added in line with these technologies. Making it far more costly in migrating systems and training.
Im not suggesting that OSS is the saviour of mankind, or that it fits every situation better than a proprietry solution, of course it depends on the situation. But I think it would be a good thing for politicians to have it brought to their attention a little more that OSS exists and can provide a great many real benefits.
As I mentioned previously, there is very little co-operation and joint ventures, there are some but they are very limited. With the size of gov there should be more oppertunities for collabrative projects, with a more coherant strategy which could help to achieve better value for money. Hence a quick note to an MP saying we want better value for money, here are some reasons for OSS, and the reasons why patents could do damage to these real advantages. Dont forget the Labour and the Conservatives support software patents (Lib Dems voted against patents, but its unlikely that they will be in power any time soon, but its still I good idea to contact them as with their slightly increase numbers they might have a little more muscle now).
UK Gov lags behind in Open Source:
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/linuxu ... 010,00.htm