Thursday, February 5, 2009

Canadian government eyes open source, asks for feedback

The Canadian government is looking to shave costs wherever it can and is now eyeing open source software as one way to accomplish that goal.

The government of Canada has issued an official Request For Information (RFI) on open source software and is looking for feedback and public guidance to help shape procurement policies. This move could be a prelude to broader adoption of free and open source software in the Canadian government's IT infrastructure.

Although Canada has weathered the global financial crisis better than many other countries, its government is looking for ways to compensate for a recent glut of stimulus spending that has generated the country's first budget deficit in over a decade. To help keep the economic recovery plan on track, Canada's government is looking for ways to spend smarter.

The language used in the RFI makes it pretty clear that cost reduction is priority number one. It uses the broad term "NO CHARGE LICENSED SOFTWARE", which it defines as software that is open source or available at no cost. According to the RFI, Canada is exploring no-cost software options on the desktop as well as the server, in categories that include operating systems, office suites, and automation systems.

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