The UK Government will pilot Sun Microsystems Inc’s open source Java Desktop System (JDS) to help evaluate potential software cost savings.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC), responsible for more than 500,000 official PCs, will begin JDS trials at a number of unspecified public sector bodies during the New Year.
Initial indications are that very significant efficiency gains and cash savings are possible using JDS, the OGC said in a statement.
The UK Government is the second major national authority to express interest in JDS. China’s Standard Software Company Ltd (CSSC), a government-backed body, recently signed a deal with Sun to rollout 200 million copies of JDS across China starting at the end of December.
General availability of JDS is expected next week, but Whitehall’s interest ahead of launch continues a growing trend among government bodies worldwide to closely examine open source software.
Driving considerations are the costs of software licensing, product security and a desire by governments to diversify their IT suppliers by reducing the reliance on products such as Office from Microsoft Corp.
OGC said yesterday it, too, is keen on establishing relationships with different IT suppliers, although it did not single-out any over-reliance on Microsoft. As such, the OGC said its agreement with Sun builds on an agreement with IBM Corp announced in October to open up the government IT marketplace to wider competition.
Under that agreement, IBM will run eight proof-of-concept trials to measure the cost effectiveness and benefits of open source software. The trials, overseen by the OGC and Office of the eEnvoy, will take place at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Powys County Council, OFWAT, Department for Work and Pensions, Office of the eEnvoy, Newham Borough Council, Central Scottish Police Authority.
Separately, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) director general Richard Granger said his organizations would also evaluate JDS. Granger said JDS could help save the NHS and taxpayers millions of pounds in software license costs while still providing rich and innovative technology.
Granger is reported to have complained recently over Microsoft’s failure to grant the NHS a larger-than-requested discount on 800,000 software licenses.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire.