SA government officers approve open source policy

By   |  January 31, 2003

The South African government yesterday took another step closer to formalising plans for the use of open source software (OSS) yesterday when the Government IT Officers Council (Gitoc) approved an IT policy framework that advocates the use of open source software. Arno Webb, Gitoc OSS workgroup chair says the policy framework will now be formally submitted to the Minister of Public Service and Administration as a recommended policy.

The policy framework, drawn up by the Gitoc OSS workgroup, advocates government “explicity” support the adoption of open source in government as part of its e-government strategy. Gitoc includes the CIOs of all the government departments.

Webb says the adoption of the policy by Gito council is “really just formalising what is is already the de-facto use of open source software within government.”

The framework highlights the growing license burdens proprietary software places on government as well as the reliance on imported technologies and skills proprietary software creates.

According to the framework, the use of open source software will “maximise the value of ICT budgets” through savings on dollar-based license costs and efficiency gains.

This most recent development follows close on the heels of an OSS workshop earlier this month in which the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) committed itself to making government an “open source zone”. The workshop was jointly hosted by the Department of Public Service and Administration, Sita and the Centre for Public Service Innovation.

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