Opinion

Who decides if open source is best for public sector bodies?

Bit of a bust up between open source provider Sirius Corporation and Computacenter over an open source proof of concept project with Bristol City Council.

Sirius boss Mark Taylor is not impressed, suggesting large system integrators like Computacenter are more inclined to steer customers towards their existing proprietary suppliers, such as Microsoft, than support any shift to open source.

"My opinion is that the large systems integrators would not survive a transition to open source in the public sector, for the simple reason that the savings would be enormous," Taylor told MicroScope's sister publication ComputerWeekly.com.

Computacenter shot back that his comments were "factually incorrect and potentially libellous". And Computacenter client director Matt Kenny said: "If it's right for the council then we'll use open source software, if it's not then we won't."

Amid these accusations and counter-accusations, the most pertinent question to ask for these types of cases is: How do you decide which is the best solution for the customer in the first place? Who sets the framework and the guidelines? Now, there's an area ripe for conflict and disagreement.

This was first published in June 2011

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