Stephen Lucey, executive director for strategic technologies with Government ICT agency Becta this week welcomed the Government's shift in policy on open source technology for the public sector and revealed that it has the potential to save schools between a fifth and a half of their ICT procurement costs.

“We’re pleased to see open source getting the recognition it deserves as a viable alternative to vendor software having championed open source and open standards to the Government 12 months ago with our review of the use of Microsoft’s Vista and Office 2007 products within the education sector," he said.

"This review highlighted the benefits of choice and innovation made possible through interoperability, and easier access to a wider range of products."Our own research shows that under the right circumstances open source can offer savings of between a half and a fifth to schools on the procurement of technology. By setting challenging and effective procurement frameworks, Becta has always driven the industry to deliver quality, fit-for-purpose technology, with the right support at the right price for schools and training institutions.

"By balancing quality, support and price and recommending robust ‘procurement frameworks’, Becta acts to free school and college leaders from the burden of a full EU procurement process. Becta has always been a strong champion of open source and has guided its adoption in the education sector through our support of initiatives such as the Open Source for Schools Website.

He concluided: "The new guidance builds on this position by favouring open source where all other factors prove equal. We will be incorporating this into our future recommendations to schools, colleges and other learning establishments.”

Open Source for Schools's story on the lack of open source in BSF

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