National open source centre comes to Birmingham

The centre will host conferences and seminars and publish research papers on open source policy and innovation

An institute that aims to promote the use of open source software in the UK is being set up in Birmingham.

The National Open Centre (NOC) will aim to help set national policy on use of open source software.

Founding partners of the NOC include the National Computing Centre, Birmingham City Council and the council-led Digital Birmingham initiative, which aims to build an IT future for a city with an industrial past. Open source project partners include OpenAdvantage, which works with the University of Central England, and Midland Open Source Technologies.

The centre will host conferences and seminars and publish research papers on open source policy and innovation. There will also be an advisory board that will identify opportunities for open source innovation.

Research manager at the National Computing Centre, Ed Downs, said as several significant open source projects in the UK are based in the Birmingham area the location made sense.

He added that, at present, there is "not much in the way of policy" in the UK and the NOC is aimed at changing that.

Director of open source project OpenAdvantage, Scott Thompson, said the centre will raise public awareness of open source tech and allow various open source projects to increase their influence.

A spokesman for Digital Birmingham said the NOC was an important element in the aim to make Birmingham a leading European digital city by 2010 — describing it as "one step along a very long road".

The NOC joins similar centres already up and running across Europe and the US, and will be officially launched in January 2007.

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