Australia: The Department of Defence in Australia stepped up its push for open source software (including geospatial software) to reduce its USD 100 million annual software licensing bill. Recently, it joined five other government agencies in forming the Open Technology Foundation, which aimed to facilitate collaboration and interoperable technology in the public sector.
The Department of Defence spends USD 1.3 billion each year on information technology, including USD 100 million on software licenses. In addition, it planned to purchase geospatial, human resource and finance, staff collaboration and integration software in the coming year.
Defence chief technology officer Matt Yannopoulos said the department had been considering open source software for more than three years. Prior to the Federal Government’s introduction of a more aggressive open source policy in January, Defence had not “specifically encouraged” open source software tenders from the market. Although Defence was “happy to consider open source”, Yannopoulos said its requests for tender were typically dominated by proprietary software vendors.
In accordance with the new policy, Defence tender documents now explicitly stated that it would consider open source software options alongside proprietary products.
Yannopoulos said it was still too early to tell how the policy would affect the market; however, he speculated that open source suppliers may have been held back by smaller marketing budgets when bidding for government tenders in the past.
Currently, the department used Red Hat infrastructure software and Apache web server software. Future open source projects would most likely be in the web content management area, Yannopoulos said.