Open Source

Is the UK an open source laggard?

CIO Jury: Is anyone investing in the next year?

CIOs are split on the controversial issue of adopting more open source software in corporate IT.

In the latest silicon.com CIO Jury poll, participants were asked whether they planned to increase the amount of open source software they use within the next 12 months.

This came on the back of a recent survey in which the UK ranked fifth in terms of uptake of open source code.

The 12-strong CIO Jury was split down the middle, indicating the UK take up of open source is actually higher than the 15 per cent the survey suggests.

One of the main concerns was the lack of support for and familiarity of the software.

The London Clinic IT director Mike Roberts, one of the IT leaders who will not be investing in open source software, said: "The main issue is around 'contracted support'. Finding organisations that will offer a reasonable SLA is not very easy.

"Secondly, with so much opportunity for 'customisation', finding users familiar with the applications makes recruitment very difficult."

However, for those that were planning to extend their open source systems, the issue of cost was the real deal-maker.

Andrew Jackson, head of IT at B2B media group Huveaux, said: "We will be increasing the usage of open source in our organisation. Firstly, we have a feature-rich Content Management System that we're using on an increasing number of our web sites and this success is encouraging us to look for other open source solutions. Secondly, the high licensing and training costs for Microsoft Office will push us to evaluate alternative options."

Another fan of open source, Nick Masterson-Jones, IT director at financial services company Voca pointed out the huge legacy of innovation that has come about through the open source approach.

He said: "We are keen to exploit some of the opportunities that open source brings - not just for the obvious cost advantage but also to benefit from some of the innovative thinking - such as with Service Component Architecture - that we see in some of the current projects."

Today's CIO Jury was:

  • Richard Storey, head of IT, Guys & St Thomas' Hospital
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, northern European CIO, Sodexho
  • Steve Gediking, head of IT and facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission

  • Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash

  • Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
  • Mark Dearnley, CIO, C&W
  • Richard Steele, CIO, London Borough of Newham
  • Christopher Linfoot, IT director, LDV Group
  • Nick Masterson-Jones, IT director, Voca
  • Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
  • Mike Buck, architecture manager, Yorkshire Water
  • Andrew Jackson, head of IT, Huveaux

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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