Govt CTO Sheridan on open source, cloud


blog Those of you who have been reading Delimiter for a while will know that we’re huge fans of the Federal Government’s whole of government chief technology officer John Sheridan. From jetpacks to chief information officers as brokers and not blockers, of cloud computing, to lego as an analogy for government technology use, , Sheridan has views on many issues in today’s enterprise IT environment, and he’s not shy about sharing them in insightful speeches. This week’s dose of Sheridan comes from Forrester’s Summit for CIOs in Sydney. ZDNet has reported Sheridan’s comments on open source software:

The tide is turning with the use of open-source software within the Australian government, according to the chief technology officer John Sheridan, with departments shifting from buying proprietary software to buying support for open-source software such as Drupal.

And from iTNews we get Sheridan’s views on cloud computing lock-in:

Speaking at the Forrester CIO Summit in Sydney, federal chief technology officer John Sheridan said while cloud computing could make it easier to set up and fund new systems, it could also back agencies into a difficult corner should their requirements change.

You can also find the slide deck of Sheridan’s presentation online here.

When Australian Sports Commission chief information officer Steven Stolk spoke out recently on Twitter about the Federal Government’s new risk management guidelines on storing data in offshore cloud computing facilities, I wrote that it would be good to see more government CIOs speaking on such issues in a wider sense than just their own implementations. Here’s hoping Sheridan’s example can spur a few more to discuss these issues in public as well.

Image credit: AGIMO


  1. Think of how much more of OUR money they would save if they used open source office suites like OpenOffice, and I wont go into cost savings of using mariadb/postgresql in place of ms-sql, and don’t get me started on dumping windows and using ubuntu and opensuse, (the former being phased out in favour of the latter) – the amount of money saved is astounding with no more outrageously immoral and criminal licence costs.

  2. Great to hear, imagine the billions that would have been saved if as I suggested to an assembled group of QLD IT officials in 1999
    “why are’t you using open source?”

    met by mostly blank stares and tumble weeds

    still take another decade to change the mindset right through the bureaucracy

  3. Open source desktops would be a distant focus since it takes a long time to update/rewrite the software to be compatible with something other than Windows.

    It is great that they have at least started to look at open source solutions but I would expect a slow and focused migration.

  4. Open Source is free like a puppy is free. Every different flavour of distro, supported version, fragmented application and corresponding dev and management morass is why VMware, Oracle and Microsoft exist and succeed. The for-profit imperative to innovate and support and drive value is something open source can talk about but won’t deliver.

    OpenOffice, for example, is a clone of Office 10 years ago and who knows who is looking after it next.

    Open Source does not provide security in the sense of continuity, manageability and strategy.

    • Ok Hubi so you know nothing about open source

      VMware, Oracle and Microsoft have all lost huge amounts of market share in the last decade

      Do some basic research on Oracle / Microsoft and security along with Adobe responsible for prob 90% + security breaches in the last decade

      OpenOffice is part of the Apache Foundation I take it you don’t know who they are, Libre Office has now also has a huge following

      The whole frigging Internet runs on Open Source software

      I would also argue the open source community has driven innovation in this Internet age and others such as Microsoft / Oracle have been playing catch up, just look at cloud computing and see what Larry was saying just 2 years ago.

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