Sunday, June 15, 2008

Government CIOs 'do not understand open source'

Government CIOs that dismiss open source software because of support issues, which is the case for the Australian Tax Office, Defence and Centrelink, simply do not understand the concept, according to Sun Microsystems.

In April, ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet Australia revealed that a number of high-profile government CIOs claimed their primary reason for not deploying open source software was a lack of support.

"For our really big core stuff, we really need the support we get. We buy the support, so we're not likely to see massive open source right through the place," said Centrelink CIO, John Wadeson.

Simon Phipps, chief open source officer for Sun Microsystems, argues that support for open source projects of any scale is available, and has suggested that reliance on proprietary vendors based solely on their ability to provide support is not a sound business case.

"CIOs who are thinking there's a lack of support are probably people who are thinking solely in terms of spreading the risk over their existing infrastructure," he said.

Phipps claimed that the "commercial strength support" available for open source is comparable with that provided by proprietary vendors. He also explained that administrators have the option of "hiring experts to train their staff".

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