Bristol City Council’s plans to be the first local authority in the UK to implement a council-wide open source strategy have been dealt a blow, after losing its key councillor.
Councillor Mark Wright, who pushed through the project in September 2010, was voted out of his post as ICT portfolio holder a month ago, after a private vote of Liberal Democrat members.
The move resulted in Sirus Company, the business that was facilitating the project, shelving the plans after it lost confidence in the Council’s commitment to the project.
The ICT portfolio was passed to Council leader Barbara Janke, who has said she is still committed to Bristol's open source strategy, which she had backed when Wright put it before the Cabinet as an instrument of economic regeneration and part of Bristol's "Digital City" campaign.
"I don't know whether its going to last, but while I was there, I sent Bristol on an open source trajectory. We'll see how that goes now I'm not in charge," said Wright.
The Council’s open-source ICT strategy was first introduced in 2004 and reflects the UK Government’s own ambitions to break Microsoft’s monopoly on its software systems. Bristol was seen as a pioneer of these ambitions when it pushed through plans to introduce open-source systems last year.