Open source still feared within Whitehall, says IT architect

The government is missing opportunities to make significant savings by dismissing open source software when procuring products, Tariq Rashid, lead architect at the Home Office, has said.

Rashid, whose role covers information, applications, infrastructure, open standards, and open source, told the Open Gov Summit in London that he has had “lots of battles internally” with the IT security team at the Home Office around open source.

“There is a fear in government that sometimes if we use open source, we’ve exposed ourselves and that isn’t the case. It enables innovation, it gives you flexibility to change,” he said. “There’s a debate about whether it’s free or not. You can access the software for free, but clearly you’ll have to pay for support if you want it.”

He said that a major problem was that open source often isn’t even considered as an option.

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