A panel of contracted suppliers has been formed to directly service government agencies that choose to adopt Linux systems.
Tenders for the panel close with the Department of Commerce on October 28, 2004.
The creation of the panel will enable government agencies considering or using open source software to better support services.
Tenders must offer both Linux systems support services and product specific training services and in addition may offer Linux distributions, Linux infrastructure software and Linux systems integration services.
NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said initially there would be ten suppliers selected.
"The addition of more suppliers over the life of the contract will be considered if there is a demand from agencies for items and services not adequately provided by existing panel members."
Recently, the NSW Office of State Revenue went open source for e-commerce services and offices throughout the state. The Roads and Traffic Authority has also chosen to go open source for staff email and desktops.
Della Bosca said that the Request for Tender for open source software focuses on Linux as it is the most popular and well supported open source operating system on the market today.
"Agencies seeking open source software and services will be able to go straight to the list of suppliers and select the one that best meets their needs without having to spend time and money on calling their own tenders and evaluating bids," Della Bosca said.
"It is estimated that this procurement method can save medium to large bodies up to 12 percent and small agencies up to 25 percent.
"This initiative will make it easier to access the most suitable software and support services," adding that the government would continue to explore a range of competitive options when seeking information and communications technology solutions to ensure value for money.
The contract will run for two years with an option to extend for two one-year terms.