Open source software is an alternative to proprietary software that provides users with the ability to view, copy, modify and distribute the software, subject to licensing conditions. Open source software can offer benefits to both the Australian Government and wider community, such as improved interoperability and possible cost savings. Due to the increased maturity of open source software, the Australian Government has released a revised Open Source Software Policy and guidance documentation for Australian Government agencies to inform their use, modification and development of open source software.
The revised Australian Government Open Source Software Policy was released on 27 January 2011 and applies to any ICT procurement activity commenced after 1 March 2011. It requires agencies to consider open source software when undertaking software procurements.
The policy supersedes the previous Australian Government position of ‘informed neutrality’.
The Australian Government Guide to Open Source Software, version 2.0 is now available. It provides an introduction to open source software as well as background information on the risks and benefits of using, distributing and developing open source software and guidance to assist agencies understand, analyse, plan for, and deploy open source software. It also includes the Australian Government Open Source Software Licensing Risk Framework.
A Guide to Open Source Software – ePub Version [ePUB 329 KB – ePub files are designed for use on e-book readers and other compatible devices/software.]
The Use of Open Source Software in Government Overview – November 2007 [PDF 37 KB]: This document provides an overview of open source software usage in Australian Government agencies, as of November 2007. AGIMO will look to update this document when the new policy changes have had an opportunity to affect the use of open source software. This will likely occur in 2012.
SourceIT: This site provides guidance to support strategic decision-making around ICT sourcing.
2005 – Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies [PDF 952 KB]
The Guide was released 18 April 2005 and was a companion document to the 2004 publication A Guide to ICT Sourcing (since updated September 2007). Between them these publications provided a basis for better ICT procurement decisions across the whole of the Australian Government.
This Guide sought to assist agencies by providing practical information and approaches for agencies to consider when assessing open source solutions. Risk management procedures and the different contractual considerations that can apply to open source software issues are addressed in the Guide, as are cost of ownership issues. Understanding cost of ownership issues for open source software is important because, under an open source model, costs are incurred at different phases of the implementation and operation of an information technology system.
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