Using Technology To Transform Government

From the United Kingdom…
"The cost of technology has plummeted. We retendered the hosting for a small part of government recently, and the incumbent systems integrator bid £4m, while a UK SME [small/medium-sized enterprise] bid £60,000. That’s a 98.5% saving. That’s massive." The SME got the business.

see Francis Maude: digital transformation of government has begun | Technology |

What’s going on? They are accepting FLOSS to do the lion’s share of the IT in government and small businesses to work on smaller slices of IT instead of getting some large business to slap Wintel and “partners” into a pig barn. The plan is to replace the web presence with FLOSS and not just to add a server. They are cutting through paperwork wherever they can from top to bottom.

That’s refreshing. It’s what I have been doing in schools for a decade. It works. Systems can be set up in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost if one does not have to obey restrictive EULAs, needless spider-webs of cost and complexity in IT. In one school where I replaced all but one PC used by staff and added a hundred more, the cost of licensing software was cut to $0 and the savings were available to add top-flight hardware everywhere. That system is purring today many years later. Compare that to roll-outs in large organizations that have died in the process because the organization could no longer afford the transition costs and just gave up using non-FREE “solutions”. Compare that to projects which went from concept to production in a few minutes because all that was required was to type a few commands into a GNU/Linux system instead of buying new hardware, new licences, reading tons of manuals and documenting that the authorized use of the software was not exceeded. With FLOSS, if you have the software, you have a licence for unlimited use. That’s refreshing.

Congratulations to the taxpayers of the UK. Their taxes are now getting much higher value for the money and their government’s IT is becoming responsive to the needs of users rather than the needs of global corporations to increase cash-flows.

Interestingly, there are webstats from and they show GNU/Linux is being used by citizens too…

  • site-wide
    OS % Views











OK, the users of GNU/Linux got excited when the news broke and visited sites to check it out…, but they are there. As GOV.UK becomes more used by citizens, this should be a good source of unbiased webstats publicly available. Stay tuned. A particular site on provides independent statistics, Salford, 3.8% GNU/Linux for November 2012. For the “hot” month of September, they show 3.14%, far above the 0.66% reported by our “friends” at NetApplications. Helpful, aren’t they?

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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