Maxwell Admits “Open Source Not Always Best Option”

Oct 13, 2014

Government CTO Liam Maxwell has claimed that although Whitehall supports the use of open source where possible, there are sometimes better options.

Speaking at last week’s IP Expo Europe event in London, Maxwell told delegates that the most important thing is to ensure any technology procured is actually usable by those who will need to use it.

“We want a level playing field for open source. In simple terms, it’s about competition,” he claimed.

“We want Departments to use software that’s right for the job and open standards that are right for the job.

“Sometimes people say they want to go down an open source route, but actually it’s better to choose what’s right for the situation,” Maxwell added.

Government Considering LGDS

The currently popular topic of a Local Government Digital Service (LGDS) was also approached by the government CTO after an audience member question, claiming that GDS is looking at ways of helping local councils develop this.

“We are looking at how we can help [local government] do that. We are looking at ways to run a digital service for a particular function,” he claimed.

He also claimed that other countries are observing what the UK has done with GDS and starting their own similar initiatives.

Digital “More Than Just Technology”

Maxwell also offered some explanation for why the Office of the Chief Technology (OCTO) is now housed within GDS.

According to the CTO, technology is just one component of digital - during transformation, whole business systems and methods of doing things change.

For example, not only are existing DVLA systems getting a digital upgrade, but the whole way the business works is changing, such as the removal of paper tax discs.

“Technology is a component of digital, it is not the whole thing. We’re used to hearing everything is about technology, it’s not,” Maxwell claimed.

“It’s just as much about business transformation, as much as it’s about technology, as it is about making it work,” he added.


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