OSS Watch at ALT-C next week

I’ll be at ALT-C next Tuesday to  talk about Open Source Options for Education as part of the “OERs and OSSs” session in the morning. I’ll also be around for the rest of the day so feel free to collar me for a chat about anything OSS-related!

Here’s the session details to whet your appetite:

Levelling the playing field for open source in education and public sector

Open Source Software (OSS) offers many potential benefits for procuring organisations, including reduced costs and greater flexibility.

The UK Cabinet Office has taken an active role in levelling the playing field for Open Source Software (OSS) in the procurement of IT systems in the public sector.

This has included a set of open standards principles that favour Royalty-Free standards (UK Cabinet Office 2012a), and a procurement toolkit that includes open source options for commonly procured types of system (UK Cabinet Office 2012b).

These interventions are necessary, as many organisations in the public sector have procurement policies and processes that – whether intentionally or otherwise – exclude open source alternatives from selection, even where it would save organisations money or provide them with the systems that best fit their needs.

This also applies within the education sectors, and OSS Watch, based at the University of Oxford, has worked with the Cabinet Office on extending this guidance to the education sector, publishing Open Source Options for Education (Johnson et al., 2012). This lists open source alternatives for many IT solutions used in education, including subject-specific applications.

In this session we will introduce Open Source Options and the Cabinet Office guidance, and explain how it can be used to open up procurement in education institutions.
We will also invite delegates to contribute their own suggestions for open source alternatives they have used in their own work to include in the options.

UK Cabinet Office. (2012a). Open Standards: Open Opportunities – flexibility and efficiency in government IT, https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/open-standards-open-opportunities-flexibility-and-efficiency-in-government-it

UK Cabinet Office. (2012b). Open Source Options. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-source-procurement-toolkit

Johnson, M., Wilson, S., Wilson, R. (2012). Open Source Options for Education. http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/ossoptionseducation