UK government public services must consider the use of open source software when designing, building and buying technology. Public services must also consider sharing the source code publicly.
Last month, the Government Digital Service (GDS) highlighted the importance of open source, publishing an update to the Technology Code of Practice, a cross-government standard intended to help control spending.
Use of the Code of Practice is mandatory.
“To meet point 3 of the Technology Code of Practice your plan or design must show you have considered the use of open source and publishing your code openly,” the GDS writes.
The government modernisation agency explains how using open source will help public services solve common problems through readily available open source technology. This also gives public services more time and resource for customised solutions to solve the rare or unique problems, and lowers implementation and running costs, the GDS writes.
From the GDS blog:
“Publishing your code and data from the beginning of your technology project or programme will encourage:
- clearer documentation, making it easier for your team to maintain the code, track changes to it and for other people to use it;
- cleaner and well-structured code that is easier to maintain;
- clarity around data that needs to remain protected and how that’s achieved; and
- suggestions about how the code can be improved or where security can be improved.”