NSW Opposition queries Linux investigation

The NSW Opposition has asked the government to explain why it has released a tender for provision of Linux software and services before making public the details of a departmental investigation into open source software.The NSW Shadow Minister for Commerce, Chris Hartcher, said the government had released the government-wide Linux tender just three months after launching the investigation into open source and its cost-benefits to government departments.

The NSW Opposition has asked the government to explain why it has released a tender for provision of Linux software and services before making public the details of a departmental investigation into open source software.

The NSW Shadow Minister for Commerce, Chris Hartcher, said the government had released the government-wide Linux tender just three months after launching the investigation into open source and its cost-benefits to government departments. That investigation had been scheduled for completion within the 2004/05 year at a cost of AU$200,000.

"If the Department has completed in three months what they themselves suggested should have been a year long investigation, then the Minister must release the results of that investigation," he said.

The Department of Commerce told ZDNet Australia   earlier this week the investigation was due to be completed by the end of the year.

"The Minister for Commerce should be investigating every software option; if those investigations have not been concluded then no decisions should be made in relation to software tendering," Hartcher said.

However, the Linux tender is for establishment of a panel of suppliers which agencies wishing to explore Linux solutions can do so without facing the expense and time of a full, formal tendering process. There is no obligation on agencies to give work to suppliers on the panel. The panel is due to be formed after the tender closes on 28 October, meaning agencies are likely to have the results of the investigation in their hands either before or just after the panel is formed.