JULY 8, Melbourne, Australia. Open Source Victoria (OSV), an industry cluster focused on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) believes the most appropriate manner in which to encourage competition and promote interoperability in the IT industry in Australia is through support for open document and data formats and protocol standards.
"Recently some governments, both within Australia and abroad, have been looking at legislation that promotes the use of open source software," OSV member Rodd Clarkson noted. In Germany alone, over 500 government agencies have adopted Open Source Software in recent times.
OSV appreciates that governments recognize the excellent value for money and the huge potential for a better return on investment offered by Open Source technologies. OSV believes that Open Source is the best means through which control of system platforms and application technologies can be vested with governments, rather than a single vendor.
Mr Clarkson observed, "For too many years, government departments have unfairly stipulated proprietary platforms and applications which are only available from a single vendor." Fellow member Ben McGinnes adds, "The current arrangement hamstrings competitors, limits innovation and costs the taxpayers. A change towards more open computing in government in needed."
Mr Clarkson adds, "OSV knows that Open Source is a viable competitor within the government marketplace. All we are asking is that Open Source software be given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, along with the proprietary, closed source technologies."
Open Source Victoria is confident that, given a level playing field, the Open Source development and distribution model is capable of delivering software that is both technically adept and of better value.
Open Source Victoria advocates:
* That governments should mandate the use of open, documented and inter-operable file formats and data communication protocols, rather than specific products or suppliers.
* That it is in government departments' best interests to choose technologies which have implementations from more than one source, boosting the department's tactical leverage and hedging against any single supplier gaining lock-in and price gouging mechanisms. Therefore this should be a formal requirement in departmental requisition policies.
* Preference should be given to technologies for which there is is a case to be made that local industry can benefit, and that imports can be replaced, helping improve our woeful balance of trade in ICT.
OSV consultations show that these types of policies are non party political and will garner widespread support across the political spectrum. OSV maintains that if this combination of purchasing policies is adopted, Free and Open Source Software such as Linux will be the best route to fulfilling these requirements, but that all technologies can compete openly and fairly.
About Open Source Victoria.
Open Source Victoria is an Industry Cluster consisting of over 60 Victorian firms and developers which provide services and technology related to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS.) Open Source Victoria offers marketing, advocacy and information referral services, and aims to raise the profile of FOSS in Victoria and work with other similar organisations across Australia.
Contact: Con Zymaris
Phone: 03 9621 2377
Fax: 03 9621 2477