Open Source Software

Introduction

Open source software is an alternative to proprietary software that provides users with the ability to view, copy, modify and distribute the software, subject to licensing conditions.  Open source software can offer benefits to both the Australian Government and wider community, such as improved interoperability and possible cost savings.  The Australian Government released an Open Source Software Policy and guidance documentation for Australian Government agencies to inform their use, modification and development of open source software.

Australian Government Policy on Open Source Software

Open source software is an alternative to proprietary software that provides users with the ability to view, copy, modify and distribute the software, subject to licensing conditions.  Open source software can offer benefits to both the Australian Government and wider community, such as improved interoperability and possible cost savings.  The Australian Government released an Open Source Software Policy and guidance documentation for Australian Government agencies to inform their use, modification and development of open source software.

A Guide to Open Source Software

The Australian Government Guide to Open Source Software, version 2.0 was released in June 2011. It provides an introduction to open source software as well as background information on the risks and benefits of using, distributing and developing open source software and guidance to assist agencies understand, analyse, plan for, and deploy open source software. It also includes the Australian Government Open Source Software Licensing Risk Framework.

Other OSS Initiatives

The Use of Open Source Software in Government Overview - November 2007 [PDF 37 KB]: This document provides an overview of open source software usage in Australian Government agencies, as of November 2007. SourceIT: This site provides guidance to support strategic decision-making around ICT sourcing.

Archive

2005 - Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies [PDF 952 KB] The Guide was released 18 April 2005 and was a companion document to the 2004 publication A Guide to ICT Sourcing (since updated September 2007). Between them these publications provided a basis for better ICT procurement decisions across the whole of the Australian Government. This Guide sought to assist agencies by providing practical information and approaches for agencies to consider when assessing open source solutions. Risk management procedures and the different contractual considerations that can apply to open source software issues are addressed in the Guide, as are cost of ownership issues. Understanding cost of ownership issues for open source software is important because, under an open source model, costs are incurred at different phases of the implementation and operation of an information technology system.

Contact information on this page: ictpolicy@finance.gov.au