Becta Flipped Out for Friday the Thirteenth
Friday the Thirteenth is supposed to be a day full of bad luck, with misfortune lurking around every corner and monsters run amok. Perhaps it was coincidence, or maybe the full moon, but for the Open Source community across the pond, the jinx was in full force.
Becta — the quasi-government agency behind educational IT in the United Kingdom — has been steadily building a reputation as one of the most Open Source friendly bodies in charge of in-school tech. They've advised schools and parents to avoid proprietary software and embrace open alternatives, and they've joined the fight against unfair competition from closed-off companies. The crowning jewel of their Open Source advocacy was to come on Friday, as they announced the winner of a £270,000 bid to oversee the two-year Open Source Schools project.
However, like the plot from a B-rate slasher film, the champions of Open Source turned on their supposéd friends to reveal their true loyalties, and the result wasn't pretty. Of the bidders, which included The Learning Machine — backed by Ubuntu-sponsor Canonical — and Red-Hat supported Sirius — run by the president of the Open Source Consortium — Becta picked AlphaPlus Consultancy, a company "completely unknown to anyone in either the [Open Source] industry or community." Needless to say, the natives are not pleased.
Becta is keeping mum on the matter, but the winner is undaunted by the less-than-welcoming response. Said John Winkley, director of AlphaPlus: "We will work hard to see what the open source community wants from the project." We're going to guess that would be "a different contractor," Johnny.