UK government now mandating open source software “preference”

The UK government has mandated its public service should use open source software in preference to proprietary apps in its latest Government Services Design Manual.

Computer Weekly reports the manual contains a section, titled “when to use open source”, which places particular emphasis on using open source solutions for future IT infrastructure deployments.

“Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages,” the manual states.

The manual also warns public servants to be wary of being locked into a single supplier or developer in “rare’ cases where no open source alternative is viable.

“Problems which are rare, or specific to a domain, may be best answered by using software as a service, or by installing proprietary software,” the document states.

“In such cases, take care to mitigate the risk of lock-in to a single supplier by ensuring open standards are available for interfaces.”

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