"Free software facilitates the provision of common software
components. As well as the saving on licence fees, it allows
software engineers to concentrate on the important part of system
development: customising components for the organisation that they
serve. There are other advantages. ..."
"Free software concepts make particular sense in
medicine: although peer review has its problems, medical
knowledge is becoming more open, not less, and the idea of locking
it up in proprietary systems is untenable. And professional
staff should not invest time learning the user interface of
proprietary systems that may change, be withdrawn, or be
arbitrarily "upgraded" for commercial reasons. Much better instead
to invest time on a system licensed under the General Public
License that will always be free."
"The European Union has already embraced open source: its fifth
framework programme (which will fund 3.6bn Euros of research and
development over the next 5-10 years) places a strong emphasis on
projects which will yield open source software as one of the
outputs. Next week the NHS Information Authority hosts a seminar to
consider the implications of the free software movement for its
future strategy. If it chooses (as it should) to use and encourage
open source development methods throughout the organisation, it
will find a host of high quality programmes already under way
across the world. Leveraging this effort should reap rewards for
managers, professionals, and patients alike."
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