Politicians will say anything that makes for good press and, in the face of a few embarrassing failures due to proprietary software, it is good PR to rub salve on wounds by advocating the use of open source software. The old touchy-feely tactic.
At this point, there are plenty of rent-a-quote people in the FOSS arena who pull a figure out of the air or out of their arse and declare, with the utmost conviction, that the authorities can save X amount of money (in the recent UK case the figure cited was 600 million pounds a year) by using FOSS.
(It doesn't always involve savings; in the midst of the Vista fiasco, Pia Waugh, a self-styled open source advocate in Australia, was claiming, without any evidence, that Windows Vista was driving people to Linux.)
The men with the quotes this time were Simon Phipps, the chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems, and Steve Shine, the European vice-president of Ingres, an open source database. Of course, they are just two of dozens of such people who grab the opportunity to push their own barrows and gain visibility both for themselves and their employers.
What those who blather on in this fashion fail to see is that governments are only going to adopt open source if it helps them to win re-election. The public at large does not give a fig about how much can be saved - the public at large is only bothered about its own hip pocket.
The same public couldn't care less about open standards - the amount of pain humans are prepared to tolerate when it comes to computer use is something that always amazes me.
I don't think the rent-a-quote folk are overly bothered about the end of the process; there's as much short-term thinking involved as there is in government circles.
Is any government pushing the line that this kind of saving is real, that it would be channelled to the public and that Joe Bloggs would be getting a tax break of $250 in the next six months? A company like Sun is only licking its chops as it thinks of future government contracts.
Admittedly, there are some smaller entities in other countries which adopt FOSS due to a push from some official or the other and take it to completion. If one looks closely at such cases, one will notice that there is someone who is an experienced FOSS user involved or else someone with a social conscience.
To claim that any politician has a social conscience is to lay oneself open to ridicule.
Governments are not going to drive adoption of FOSS on any kind of meaningful scale; businesses which realise that they can save money by switching will be the leaders of any such process - if it ever eventuates.