UK Government mandates preferential selection of open source

While the UK government has for some time now been taking measures to level the playing field for open source software in the public sector, for example by pointing out open source options for proprietary systems, the new Government Service Design Manual goes one step further – mandating a preference for open source for government digital services.

An article in Computer Weekly pulls out some of the key paragraphs of the manual, which state that open source should be preferred “in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages” and that proprietary products should only be used in some specific cases – and in those cases to use open standards to avoid lock-in.

A recent article on the new DCMS intranet service exemplifies the new approach to government web services, with the WordPress-based system costing 90% less than the one it replaces.

(Note that the Design Manual applies to creating government digital services, rather than for procuring software in general.)