he UK government has said it will accelerate the use of open source software in public services.
Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software such as Windows.
Open source software will be adopted "when it delivers best value for money", the government said.
It added that public services should where possible avoid being "locked into proprietary software".
Licences for the use of open source software are generally free of charge and embrace open standards, and the code that powers the programs can be modified without fear of trampling on intellectual property or copyright.
According to some in the open source industry, the shift from proprietary standards could save the government £600m a year.
Simon Phipps, chief open source officer for Sun Microsystems, said the UK government's stance was part of a "global wave" of take up for open source in governments.
Comment: I use a great deal of Open Source software (Linux, Open Office, GIMP, Flock, Second Life) and I think it is inevitable that free software is going to make up more and more of the offering to users in the future. Microsoft needs to extend its IP beyond selling software. The Cloud is where the computer is at.