Govis puts Microsoft in open source lion's den

In line with the emerging awareness of open source software in governments worldwide, the governmental information systems forum plans a one-day seminar on the subject.

In line with the emerging awareness of open source software in governments worldwide, the governmental information systems forum plans a one-day seminar on the subject.

An unlikely contribution to the Govis seminar programme will come from Brett Roberts of Microsoft, speaking on “the relationship between commercial and non-commercial software”, Microsoft’s own Shared Source initiative and “reality versus hype”.

Govis is inviting CIOs, chief technology officers, ICT professionals from government agencies and other interested parties to the seminar, to be held in Wellington next month, “so they can make a more informed decision on OSS”.

Other speakers at the seminar will include Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler, who will be beamed in from the US by video/audioconference and Stuart Wakefield, technology architecture director at New Zealand Post, on “Linux or Windows -- what's right for your business?”. Gordon Hubbard, chairman of the Australian Unix and Open Systems Users Group, will also address the seminar, as will speakers from IBM and Sun.

The State Services Commission last month produced a paper on open source, accompanied by a message from Commissioner Michael Wintringham that government agencies should consider open source software alongside more widely used closed source alternatives ('No contradiction' in OSS stance).

The paper says agencies should make decisions on the use of software on cost, function, interoperability and security grounds. The Govis seminar aims to give them more information to help such decisions. Earlier, e-government unit head Brendan Boyle said there had been no demand for open source seminars among New Zealand government agencies along the lines of a well-attended one put on by Australia’s National Office for the Information Economy (Govt hears no open source clamour).

The seminar is scheduled for August 4 at the Copthorne Hotel, Wellington Plimmer Towers. Further details on the Govis website.

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