Saturday 14 March 2009

Canadian government eyes open source


Canadian government eyes open source, asks for feedback - Ars Technica: "The government of Canada has issued an official Request For Information (RFI) on open source software and is looking for feedback and public guidance to help shape procurement policies. This move could be a prelude to broader adoption of free and open source software in the Canadian government's IT infrastructure."
The language used in the RFI makes it pretty clear that cost reduction is priority number one. It uses the broad term "NO CHARGE LICENSED SOFTWARE", which it defines as software that is open source or available at no cost. According to the RFI, Canada is exploring no-cost software options on the desktop as well as the server, in categories that include operating systems, office suites, and automation systems.
The RFI closed February 19, 2009, which means, like Copyright Reform, it likely safely escaped all detection (apparently CLUE missed it!). Which is probably just as well as the official Request Document really doesn't read like the Feds were eager to be good neighbour eager community participants in software, only just what we in the free-software world affectionately call leeches looking to save a buck. Nonetheless there was also the bit about new custom software being opensource (to taxpayers?) which mirrors what I had done with Bell Canada and the CBC back in the middle 90's, and given what's happening in France is it only a matter of time before the needs of their pocketbooks take sway over the wants of their pride.