Eight of the companies who tendered for the three-year South Africa State IT Agency (Sita) tender to provide open source distribution (operating system and applications), and related software support services for PCs for the agency and government, have been approved.
These companies are Business Connexion, GijimaAST, Choice Technologies, IBM, Impi Linux, Novell SA, Obsidian Systems and Sourcecom.
Wynand Swart, project manager for the open source project at Sita, says: “Government departments will now be allowed to procure open source solutions directly from any of the eight preferred suppliers, once the procurement contracts with each of the suppliers and Sita have been agreed upon and signed.”
The three products that were chosen for distribution are SuSE, RedHat and ImpiLinux/Ubuntu. According to Swart this is in line with Government’s e-Government policy as decided by the Government Information Technology Officers Council (Gitoc), seeing that open source should be on the same standing as proprietary solutions, must be cost-effective, and also present the same functionality as proprietary solutions.
Swart believes that this is the beginning of government’s phased approach to moving to a total open source-based solution. An issue with regard to open source as a solution is still proper support, which Swart says, is why government will be taking a phased approach to implementation.
Computing SA understands that each of the winning bidders has received confirmation letters from Sita, and will now be starting the process of finalizing procurement agreements with the agency.
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