Red Hat Asia Pacific vice president Gus Robertson told ZDNet Australia that Australian government agencies were 18 months to three years in OSS adoption behind the United States, and some countries in Europe and Asia.
He described local agencies as "a lot slower, a lot further behind and a lot more risk averse" than their foreign counterparts.
Robertson said himself and other Red Hat executives recently met with the president of India, who detailed plans to use open-source software -- via education and enhancing workers' skillsets in the area -- to bring his nation into "the next generation of computer waves".
He added that the guide -- released today in Canberra by the Special Minister of State, Eric Abetz -- would help educate agencies about OSS purchasing and related issues. It would also ease public sector officials' concerns over procurement by giving government endorsement to non-proprietary software adoption.
Robertson said the next step for the federal government was to change its standard information technology contract to "take into account the nuances of free and open-source solutions".
Meanwhile, Microsoft Australia public sector director, Kevin Ackhurst, said the Australian Government Information Management Office had done "a good job" in compiling the guide.
Ackhurst said Microsoft welcomed the guide's directive that procurement decisions be directed by a solutions' fitness for purpose and value for money.
AGIMO had asked for and received input from the software heavyweight in compiling the document.