On Friday the 26th June the UK government release a response to a petition calling for all software produced by councils under the Timely Information to Citizens project be released under an open source licence.
Here's a snippet of the petition:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ask the Communities Secretary to require that all software produced by councils under the Timely Information to Citizens project be released under an open source licence.”
Details of Petition:
“The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) is running a project called Timely Information to Citizens (TIC). As part of this project, several local authorities are being given funding totalling approximately £1m to develop software and web services to improve local information and service provision. While CLG’s aim is that these projects are incorporated into a “best practice toolkit”, we ask the government to reduce duplication of effort and expense and make this software available for other users at the earliest opportunity by releasing each package on deployment under an OSI-approved open source licence. Though we welcome these projects themselves, as citizens we cannot and do not support this substantial sum of public money being spent to create private, proprietary software.”
The Government’s response
The Government supports the principle that, where new software is being developed by the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, this should wherever possible be released under open source licence and available for use by other local authorities.
For many of the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, the focus is not on new software, but on how existing tools and techniques can be used to bring information together and present it in more useful and accessible ways. Several of the projects will utilise existing open source software to create new information sources and channels, and will share their experiences of doing so with other authorities.
Where the pilots will result in new software tools, ownership and intellectual property rights will usually remain with the individual local authorities. However, most of the authorities concerned have already made a commitment to make these tools available as open source software, or for use by their partner organisations, and we are working to secure the commitment of the remaining.
This is great news for us at GPMD. We create standards compliant web solutions based on Open Source technologies.