6 thoughts on “Government need to get relaxed about IT procurement”

  1. What’s the exact issue with using the ePetitions system then? I’m guessing it’s because it’s built on open source architecture (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and a lot of authorities are Microsoft houses?

    We’re in quite a fortunate position here, as our CMS is built on LAMP architecture, but only because a guy in our IT team does a bit of Linux stuff as a hobbyist.

    This is a real shame, in my opinion, the web wouldn’t be what it was without open source – imagine if every web server had to have a Windows and IIS license? The costs would be astronomical!*

    There are libraries out there that compile PHP into .net, so maybe that’s an option for those councils who can’t benefit from open source?

    * As a footnote to this – it’s amusing that the new £2.8 million Birmingham City Council website uses Oracle HTTP server, rather than Apache (which is free and used by a good 98% of web servers). Sigh.

  2. Having worked in and on the fringes of the public sector for many years, and being a supporter of open source, a lot of the resistance of it’s adoption is fear of the unknown. Everyone knows MS, so MS is a safe choice:

    No one got fired for buying IBM

    for example.

    The open source model is completely alien to managers as a whole. If something isn’t closed, proprietary, and expensive then it is worthless. There’s no-one to point a finger at. (though, have you ever tried to get anything out of MS or Oracle support?)

    Never mind that with the right people implementing an open-source solution can be better and cheaper. The whole industry operates on fear of being blamed 🙂

    Regarding Facebook/Twitter- please no. I’ve yet to see the point: surely it’s just a rehashed mix of web, RSS and mail, mostly full of, well, meaningless twitter? The number10 petition thing is a great idea in principle, it’s just the results that fail :-/

  3. @pezholio I think the problem is best summed up by @stymaster with “There’s no one to point a finger at.”

    As for the use of social media… I’m talking about using it to enable citizens to use existing services. Instead of spending thousands on a proprietary e-petitions system like many councils, including BCC are doing, why not use an open source solution and integrate with social media like Facebook. The actually social media integration is nothing more than improving usability.

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