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[News] BECTA Opens Up for Free Software Supplier Bids, Microsoft Loses

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Schools set to go open source

,----[ Quote ]
| Officially sanctioned open source and free-to-use software could be in use 
| across the UK education system within months after government education 
| agency Becta issued a tender for a four-year framework agreement.  
| Becta is looking for up to 10 software suppliers to participate in the £80m 
| framework that will launch in October. This will replace its software 
| licensing framework, in place since April 2005.  
| The contract notice says: “We are particularly seeking suppliers which can 
| provide a comprehensive choice of software solutions including appropriate 
| open source and free-to-use alternatives and advise users on best-value 
| licensing.”   
| Solutions should be cost-effective, but provide freedom of choice, said a 
| Becta spokeswoman. 
| “We’re providing guidance on the educational elements and looking for 
| suppliers that can provide comprehensive choice,” she said. 


Microsoft pledge could cut tech costs for schools

,----[ Quote ]
| In a development that could make it easier for schools to use cheaper, open 
| technologies instead of proprietary programs, Microsoft said it will make its 
| Office 2007 software compatible with the OpenDocument Format (ODF).   


Assuming they deliver at all.


London council dumps Microsoft, may go open source instead

,----[ Quote ]
| NEWHAM LONDON Borough Council has scrapped the controversial 10-year
| Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with Microsoft in 2004 and drawn
| up a new agreement with a new set of deliverables.  


Open source trumps Microsoft in UK schools

,----[ Quote ]
| MICROSOFT has suffered further set-backs in the UK education sector this week
| after Becta, the government procurement quango, reformed its purchasing
| regime to break the software giant's hold on education, and launched a
| programme to get schools to adopt open source software.
| At least three open source software suppliers submitted tenders to Becta
| yesterday for the £270,000 Schools Open Source Project. The winner will spend
| two years building a community of schools which uses and develops its own
| open source alternatives to Microsoft software.
| Becta has also specifically called on open source companies to join its £80
| million framework list of certified suppliers of software to schools,
| contracts for which will be awarded in June. The last framework list
| consisted entirely of Microsoft suppliers and drew Becta widespread criticism
| for favouring the convicted monopolist over cheaper, homegrown alternatives.

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