Government opts for ‘open choice’

The Department of Communications’ Universal Services Agency has qualified the government’s IT policy by saying the emphasis is more on “open choice” than “open source”.

The agency’s CEO Sam Gulube was defending the choice of Microsoft as a partner for a new initiative aimed at improving technology to every South African citizen that was announced at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

"Government is pushing for ‘open choice’, which means there must be a choice between open source or proprietary software," Gulube explained.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who is visiting SA, added: "As a matter of policy, Microsoft thinks government should be open to looking at the best option because government owes it to the citizens to use the product that delivers the best value."

Microsoft thinks government should be open to looking at the best option, said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.
 
Ballmer said government should encourage public-private-partnerships with everyone because helping citizens get a better service should be its key focus.

"We believe the openness of policy will be a good thing for Microsoft because we are confident in the quality of our software and solutions," he concluded.

Alluding to a feasibility study under way at 10 schools using open source software, Gulube promised a report within six to eight months detailing the advantages and disadvantages of such implementations at schools.

"One of the biggest benefits of partnering with Microsoft is being able to learn from the experience the company has gained through its involvement with community IT centres all over the world," said Gulube.

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Government opts for ‘open choice’