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Bristol gears up for ‘fantastic’ open source project

Council wants to lead the way in local government end-to-end Linux adoption

Bristol City Council is set to begin work on a major open source project, following a meeting called by the Cabinet Office.

The meeting, held on Thursday last week, was attended by LinuxIT, an open source specialist located in the city. GCHQ, the government's communications tracking headquarters, and vendors BeLIB and Nameless, also attended.

LinuxIT said the meeting was "evidence of how central government, through the Cabinet Office and Home Office, are supporting Bristol City Council in their Open-Source technology ambitions of delivering an end to end open source software environment".

The Bristol project was increasingly seen as a "flagship scheme in the context of the wider local government landscape", it said, branding the meeting as the "first central, local government and agency meeting of its type" focused on open source software. However, the scheme is understood to have had some delays in recent months and faced tough questions within the council.

Peter Dawes-Huish, chief executive at LinuxIT, said the project would benefit staff and cut the council's technology budget, while "assisting Bristol in becoming established as the Open-Source Hub" for local businesses.

The Cabinet Office team present at the meeting comprised Bill McCluggage, government director of IT strategy, and government IT futures director Liam Maxwell.

Mark Taylor, chief executive at open source firm Sirius IT, a company that had previously been advising Bristol on its open source plans, said: "I think it is excellent that Bill McCluggage and Liam Maxwell of the Cabinet Office spent this time with the Council, it is a great omen for the future.

"I hope that this fantastic Open Source project, which has unfairly seen more than its fair share of challenges, will now take off in the way we all hope it will."

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