Open-source vendors are among the companies bidding for schools IT supply contracts worth approximately £80m.
The tendering process, which finished last Wednesday, was part of Becta's Software Licensing Framework. Within this framework, companies bid to provide operating systems, networking and internet software, and business, management and productivity programs.
Mark Taylor, chief executive officer of open-source vendor Sirius Corporation, told ZDNet.co.uk that his company had been among the final bidders. LinuxIT was another open-source company involved in the final tendering process. According to product manager Bill Quinn, LinuxIT was interested in providing software in most of the categories.
"We were shortlisted along with various others," said Quinn. "We submitted for most of it — I'm glad we were shortlisted."
ZDNet.co.uk understands Novell was also among the bidders. At the time of writing, however, Novell had not responded to a request for comment.
Becta, the organisation charged by the government to provide schools IT, declined to give details of specific bidders. However, the organisation said that inviting both proprietary and open-source vendors was consistent with its policies.
OGCbuying.solutions, the purchasing arm of the Office of Government Commerce, is assisting Becta in the tendering process. OGCbuying.solutions stated that 16 vendors were on the final shortlist, and that 'pure' open-source vendors had been on the list. OGCbuying.solutions declined to comment on individual vendors.