Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (170)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

285 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the amount his Department spent in the year 2003 on IT software licences and the amount of that budget which was spent on products from a company (details supplied); if his Department uses a product (details supplied) similar to open source software; and if it has a policy position with regard to the promotion and use of such open source software, in the interests of cost savings or the development of a more transparent software industry. [2039/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

The total amount spent on IT software licences by my Department in 2003 was €4,365,503.53, of which €468,410.00 was spent on products from the named company. This is the overall total for expenditure on new licences, software version upgrades and annual maintenance and support.

The product referred to is currently used in my Department to facilitate data transfer to and from an external partner. It is also used in a number of test areas. Other open-source products have been used where appropriate to enhance application functionality. Another open-source product is incorporated into the applications server software package that underpins the Department's new online business applications.

My Department's procurement approach facilitates open competition, best value for money and best fit to the requirements. Evaluation of tenders received by my Department takes account of these factors. If a tender is based partly or fully on open-source software, it is evaluated in the same way. However, the use of open-source software does not always lead to cost savings. My Department continues to monitor the emerging IT industry standards including opportunities arising from open-source arrangements.