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UK governments must comply with open standards

ITWorld - The new policy is a major step forward for competition and innovation in the UK software market, the FSFE said.

All governmental bodies in the U.K. must now comply with open standards to prevent vendor lock-in and stimulate interoperability of government IT, the Minister for Cabinet Office announced on Thursday.

Compliance with the Open Standards Principles will make U.K. government IT more open, less expensive and better connected, the Cabinet Office said.

"The publication of the Open Standards Principles is a fundamental step towards achieving a level playing field for open source and proprietary software and breaking our IT into smaller, more manageable components," wrote Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General in his foreword to the Open Standards Principles document.

The new policy does not cover open-source software, which is part of a different policy document.

"This is a major step forward," said the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) of the Open Standards Principles.

The new rules cover open standards for software interoperability, data and document formats, and should enable software to interoperate through open protocols.