UK institutionalizes preference for open source over proprietary IT

Molly Bernhart Walker | FierceGovernmentIT | March 20, 2013

The U.K. national government issued March 14 a beta version of its Government Services Design Manual , which formalizes a preference for open source technology for digital services. The comprehensive document, which becomes mandate April 1, includes everything from guides for accessible design and the approved color pallet for websites, to measuring the cost per transaction for digital services.

"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," instructs the manual.

The manual says proprietary information technology should only be used in rare circumstances. These rare cases may "be best answered by using software as a service," says the manual, which adds that civil servants should "take care to mitigate the risk of lock-in to a single supplier."Any software developed specifically for a government service must also be shared publicly, says the manual...