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Government Moves to Open Source

3 April 2003

Details of the first major use of open source software in a central government IT project were released today.

Purchase & Pay, a Linux-based electronic procurement system, has been in use by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) since February 3, the Office of Government Commerce said.

The system, which runs through the Government Secure Intranet, currently handles the purchasing of low-cost items such as printed forms and stationery items.  The OGC said that the system has now reached a "steady state" and is dealing with more than 80 per cent of the DWP's stationery buying. Future developments will incorporate payment facilities and a wider range of goods and services. 

Hugh Barrett, Chief Executive of, the OGC's procurement arm, commented: "Our decision to use Open Source software was based on its proven reliability, portability and lower licensing costs. Overall it represented best value for money in this application".

Findings from the evaluation of the new system are to be fed into a wider 'cross-government' e-procurement strategy.

Read the full announcement

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