The UK’s government procurement agency, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), has issued a report supporting the use of open source software in the public sector, saying it “can generate significant savings”.
The report follows a 12-month investigation into the potential of open source software, with trials taking place across the UK.
The OGC reports open-source software is “a viable desktop alternative for the majority of government users” and “can generate significant savings”.
John Oughton, chief executive of the OGC, said pilot schemes in the UK show that Linux “could support government bodies by offering efficient and cost-effective IT solutions”.
“This report will assist public sector bodies in making informed, value-for-money judgements when deciding upon which solutions best suits their needs,” he said.
The report highlights that the greatest savings will come from increasing the lifespan of hardware when running open source software, which is capable of running on machines with lower specifications than proprietary alternatives.
However, the report also notes that a switch to open source must be accompanies by training and consideration of migration an interoperability issues.
The OGC is charged with delivering billions of pounds in efficiency savings across government, much of which is dependant in IT systems. The report comes at a time when the OGC is locked in negotiations with Microsoft over the volume discounts public sector buyers are afforded.