In a move that adds weight to the governmnent's recent bluster around adopting open source technology, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that it will pilot up to 1,000 open-source desktops in a bid to test and prove the concept.
The trial will take place over the next 12 months. The DWP currently uses standard desktops running Windows XP, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer 6.
The DWP uses a considerable amount of single vendor proprietary technology, and so the move may be a political one, intended to show willing around adoption of open source from the government department with one of the biggest IT spends.
The news follows data released by the DWP to the Guardian regarding spend on different tech vendors in 2010-2011, which revealed its combined spend on HP and BT products and services down by £45m, but an increase in the amount it paid IT services giant Atos Origin. The top three suppliers to the department are IBM, HP and BT.
The government also released an Open Source Procurement Toolkit last month, which aims to provide best practice for evaluating the use of open-source solutions.
In addition, the government's ICT Asset and Services Knowledgebase, which will be used to record the reuse of existing open-source solutions, will be launched in the new year, following a tender in July.