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UK Still Lags At Open Source

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Despite a recession which could promote open source, the UK is less likely to use it than Mali

The UK is still a laggard at open source, even though the recession has increased pressure for its adoption, according to speakers at a London conference.

“I could go to Mali, and Mali would probably have a better adoption of open source than the UK,” said Matt Asay, marketing vice president at Alfresco and open source blogger at CNet. “The UK tends to be a laggard compared to just about every other country on the planet.”

The UK government’s decision to promote open source in public sector IT won kudos, but was behind countries like the Netherlands, which has had a strong public sector IT policy for two years now, according to Jan Wildeboer, open source evangelist at Red Hat.

The Netherlands has mandated three Os – open source, open standards and open content, said Wildeboer: “If we move the market to this model, we will have a level playing field,” he said – specifying that vendors should not define what a level playing field is.

With massive cuts expected of them, IT staff will turn to open source, said Phil Andrews, Red Hat UK. “IT managers are expected to make cuts of ten to fifteen percent,” said Andrews. When you take out the 70 percent cuts of their budget which is just keeping the lights on, that’s half the budget they have for innovation,” he said.

Users can save reduce costs by 70 percent, said Andrews while proprietary vendors are “increasing prices by 50 to 100 percent using per-core licencing.
All the speakers quoted Gartner’s recent analysis that at least 80 percent of software will include open source – although the figure is already nearer 100 percent since so much software includes open source components, according to Simon Phipps of Sun Microsystems.