MP John Pugh has launched and early day motion (what ever one of those is) to stand up against BECTA and The DFES stand against free and open source software. for more details check out.
It is good, but will anyone listen
Miles Berry has also mentioned it in his blog. I did link to it but it was at the end of another post. I was going to email my MP but he hasn't got an email address. I have written to him though, it is important.
Probably notOriginally Posted by linuxgirlie
Now that ive discovered the variety and capabilities of Open Source ive been trying to push it as much as possible. That and our school are skint! lol. Why pay for something when a free product will do, and most likely be AFR superior?
Anyone use cachepilot? Why use a completely useless product thats "BECTA registered" (like that fills me with confidence) when theres opensource apps built on Dansguardian?
All cachepilot is is a collection of opensource apps with a brand stuck on it anyway. Yeah you get a link to N2H2/Smartfilter, but like thats worth anything!
You sound like me, before I have even gotten started!!
Re: cachepilot - there's another one out there now called Bloxx. Standard version is about ¬£8k for a 3 year "subscription".
Don't know about this really, Becta does try to provide frameworks and guidance to schools but some practices may be out of date.
The problems is that the recent thing about Birmingham's Council's linux project doesn't help the situation. Its bad press for open source and when people actually see this kind of problems they tend to take that to heart and not look at it seriously.
Problem I have is that although open source software is great many of the really great packages are not available for the Windows platform and usually its things like BSD, linux etc. I know the free office and star office but they are not enough.
I think the developers should have a platform-independent mind when designing open source software so that anyone can use it without having to worry about the platform. I do understand that this adds to the development time (porting etc) but it will truly bring the Open Source software into the limelight and then i guess the likes of Becta will give full attention.
I think with the recent thing that Becta complained to MS about educational licenses you would see the prices of Office suite drop quite a lot - in my opinion MS should give away the office for free or at a max ¬£10 per copy
John Pugh responded to some questions about this on ZDNet:
The MP who brought a motion criticising a government agency over its open-source policy is seeking to level the playing field between proprietary and open-source suppliers.
John Pugh said that open-source providers are often disadvantaged because they tend to be smaller firms, which are overlooked in public-sector tenders. "Given what the Government says about creating a level playing field, you have to ask why there has been so little progress. Either open-source companies are not up to it or a more subtle obstruction has been put in the way. My belief is that it's the latter," Pugh told ZDNet UK.
"I've had concerns that procurement strategy has been tilted against the SMEs that proliferate in the open-source world," Pugh added, saying that suppliers usually needed annual revenues of over ¬£50m before they could realistically bid for a government contract. Smaller suppliers were often faced with procurement procedures so long that they could not stay the course, he said. "I want to fire a shot across the Government's bows that we need a level playing field. The diversity of provision might not be around [in the future], given current procurement strategies."
Pugh filed an early day motion last Tuesday claiming that the Department for Education and Skills and its advisor Becta are denying schools the choice of whether to deploy open-source software. His motion, which said outdated supplier frameworks were to blame, has since gained the support of 18 other MPs from across the political spectrum.
Becta's rules mean that suppliers can only be accepted onto the framework if they can deliver and support a comprehensive suite of technologies, rather than provide a single, specific product.
The Liberal Democrat MP, who is a former teacher, said that UK IT firms suffered from limitations, which did not restrict companies on the Continent. "I'm hoping for a more European strategy towards IT procurement. It's a mystery why open source has not made the same progress in the public sector [as] it has on the Continent."
Pugh also drew a comparison with the multi-billion pound NHS IT programme, in which smaller companies were invited to tender as sub-contractors to the larger players.
He continued by saying that open source would be particularly valuable in bringing cost savings for the public sector. "We need an open and transparent market with many players. I see it from the value-for-money point of view, which is how the Government should see it. I'm hoping to rattle a few cages. But the campaign doesn't stop here. There'll be a sustained bout of pressure."
MS, RM, Capita: Here UK Govt, have some more money.
Govt: Oooh, thanks very much ....
"Procurement strategy" stays as it is.
just had a reply from my MP, a former teacher, saying that he's put his name to the EDM, and goes on to add, "It will save schools millions and not only that, will enable them to carry out their work in ICT more efficiently."
However, as he's also still a local Councillor who fully endorses the proposed BSF scheme, I'm not sure he quite grasps what this may mean for schools in terms of the software options we're likely to have in the future. Time for another letter.
nice one. Sadly my MP didn't vote, or even respond. He is too busy hypocritically voting on environmental issues and support for Trident.
Good news as there are now 55 supporting MP's
just scanned the names on the signature list 4 times. can't see my MP's name. his letter is dated 4th Dec. so I'll give him a little time before I write again (he's no email account-grrr)
EDIT- name's there now.
Can I draw your attention to this thread?
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