Aussie agencies forced to consider open source

An Australian state has passed legislation encouraging government departments to adopt open-source software

The Australian Capital Territory has passed laws encouraging the use of open source by government departments, while federal parliament meanwhile considers the merits of passing similar laws nationally.

The bill, presented by Democrat member Rosalyn Dundas, was passed by a narrow margin after beating a motion by Australian Labor Party member Ted Quinlan to adjourn the decision to a later date.

The 15 members of the 17 seat Legislative Assembly passed the Government Procurement (Principles) Guideline Amendment Bill 2003, by eight votes to seven after it was amended in parallel with similar changes to legislation currently put before South Australian and federal parliaments by Democrat senators.

Rather than requiring ACT government departments to give preference to the use of open-source software when making purchasing decisions, the laws only requires government departments to consider the use of non-proprietary software. The ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass such a law.