Tories want open source government
Making all government IT projects open source would slash Whitehall's annual IT bill, in a move that could save taxpayers £600 million a year.
Delivering the verdict, shadow chancellor George Osborne said a Tory government that insists all software is open source would cut the state's IT costs by 5%.
Replacing proprietary software in the public sector would aid competition, keep down costs and free up the "many" firms that are currently frozen out of government IT contracts, the party said.
Already some UK projects have benefited from open-source, but better examples exist internationally, like in Japan where migration of the payroll system is due to cut costs by half.
Mr Osborne also hailed the Spanish region of Etremadura, where the migration of 70,000 desktops and 400 servers in schools to open source software is saving over £10m.
Speaking at the Royal Society of Arts, he announced Mark Thomson, BBC director-general, will formally advise the Tories on how to make Britain Europe's open source leader.
"All too often, a government IT system is incompatible with other types of software, which stifles competition and hampers innovation," Mr Osborne said.
"Looking at the litany of IT projects that have collapsed or spiralled over budget, it's clear too that this has meant billions of pounds wasted and public service reform being hampered."
The party added it was right that the government's approach to technology evolves to match the increasing number of companies that are changing the way they do business.
"We need to harness the Internet to help us become more accountable, more transparent and more accessible - and so bridge the growing gap between government and governed," Mr Osborne said
"Our willingness to change needs to match the scale of the technological revolution taking place all around us."