Open source software got a boost in the West yesterday with the opening in Perth of a new centre that will demonstrate its use.
Western Australia's Development Minister Clive Brown expects the centre – in suburban Bentley - to deliver significant benefits to the state’s ICT industry.
“Significant amounts of money are spent on ICT goods and services in Western Australia, much of which is currently going outside the state,” Brown said. “The state government alone spends more than $350 million each year.”
Through the development and use of open source software a significant component of this expenditure could be redirected to the local ICT industry, which, according to the Australian Computer Society, already has an annual turnover exceeding $6 billion and employs around 30,000 highly skilled people.
Minister Brown said many governments and large companies around the world are turning to open source, citing reasons of more competitive costs, higher reliability and improved security.
“Within government and industry open source software could be collaboratively developed, improved, and shared, and as a result expedite the evolvement of robust software that will be freely accessible,” he said.
The state’s Department of Industry and Resources is working in partnership with industry and other government agencies to investigate the potential opportunities of open source software. The demonstration centre will provide advice and assist in the evaluation and testing of open source products to assess fitness for purpose.
“There are already significant industry participants in the state using open source, and the centre will provide linkages to bring these players together,” Brown said. “The adoption of [open source] will provide opportunities for the WA ICT industry to participate and contribute towards the provision of support services.”
The demonstration centre is open to government and the wider WA community, including industry, students and the general community to trial and evaluate open source software.
More information about the centre can be obtained from its Web site at www.opensource.wa.gov.au