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Government leads the way on open source software.



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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

141/04 31 August 2004

Government leads the way on Open Source Software

The Government will continue to encourage the use of open source software solutions by developing a range of tools to help Government agencies make informed decisions to suit their IT needs and get value for money, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, announced today.

Open source software was identified in the Government’s 2002 ‘Better services, Better Government’ e-government strategy as providing opportunities for innovation, sharing of information technology, and potentially new market opportunities for small Australian businesses.

Senator Coonan today released a statement of the Government’s position on the use of open source software by Australian Government agencies.

“Much of the discussion about open source software use in Government is confused and ill-informed,” Senator Coonan said.

“This paper seeks to clear the air on the debate and provide some factual information on the Government’s approach to open source software and how we are acting to provide a level playing field for all suppliers of software solutions to government.

“As well as this position paper, the Government is preparing a range of tools to help government agencies evaluate emerging open source solutions against more familiar proprietary software on an informed basis and appropriately assessing value for money and fit for purpose.”

These materials include an open source sourcing guide, case studies on implementation of open source solutions in a government context, information seminars, and a ‘Community of Practice’ on open source and emergent technologies.

The Government is also facilitating access to open source solutions already developed in government agencies. This practice is known as ‘white-branding’. One example is the Content Management System implemented by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) developed by an Australian SME, Squiz.net.

Through this approach AGIMO and Squiz.net have developed a product that is robust, portable and suits government business needs. This solution will soon be offered to all government agencies at no direct cost.

“This position paper shouldn’t be seen as the Government advocating open source software in all cases, rather we are acting to identify and remove the impediments to government procurement of open source solutions,” Senator Coonan said.

Copies of the Government’s position paper on open source software are available on the AGIMO website at www.agimo.gov.au

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305 www.minister.dcita.gov.au