back to article coder defines open standards: 'A lot like porn'

As the government works on drawing up yet another definition for open standards, the man in charge of the Cabinet Office's team of IT coders is keen to talk about a future where all government tech is based on, well, open standards. On the current definition of open standards, Mark O'Neill – who was speaking at the open source …


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  1. Tom 7

    How about some open standards rather than meta crap

    Something like a simple set of XML formats for simple business so the businesses I deal with can email me bills/invoices receipts etc so I can just drag and drop them et voila my accounts are up to date. And ditto for tax info...

    It should be a piece of cake but most companies are simply wetting themselves over the fact that they can now email me PDFs of the fucking things that I have print out and then type in by hand.

    I could do this over 20 years ago with EDIFACT but for some reason that wont work today - that reason being jobs for life for parasites I guess...

    1. tundish

      @Tom 7: This is Free and does forms...

      This Free software lets you define your own XHTML based forms:

      Sounds a bit like what you need (disclaimer: I'm the author).

      You can also use it for data cleaning, migrations, etc.


      1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

        Err ?

        >> This Free software lets you define your own XHTML based forms:

        What the guy isn't asking for is some software that lets him create forms (of any type). What he's asking for are **standards** so that the businesses he deals with can easily create structured documents **in a common format** which he can then drop into his own accounts software (which will read them as standard with them being a common and well used standard) and save the rekeying.

        EDI was supposed to do that, but grew into some horrible mess of multiple incompatible file formats, but most importantly more or less requires complex (=expensive) software and services in order to shunt documents about.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New acronym


    Describes: the Gov skunkworks use of Open Source to produce closed code that will be opened any day now...

    Stands for: Open Source One Day

  3. Pete 43
    Thumb Up


    We know what he does in his spare time

  4. Kubla Cant


    "the procurement process within government can be a bit like asking for a beef sandwich and then being given a cow"

    No. Asking for a beef sandwich, being given a dish of spaghetti, and paying for a herd of cows.

  5. Evan Essence
    Thumb Down

    «O'Neill, who is not shy of referring to taxpayers as "customers"»

    How 1980s. Transport for London constantly do this in their announcements, calling passengers "customers", and it really pisses me off. As if the most important thing to them is getting money out of people, more important than providing a decent service.

    Oh, much like HMRC, in fact...

  6. WorkingFromHome

    Hmm - customer?

    "O'Neill, who is not shy of referring to taxpayers as "customers" "

    I have a problem with government referring to me as a customer. Customer denotes choice - and while I'm free to vote how I please I can't suddenly decide not to pay tax. Therefore I am not a customer. I am a tax-payer. There is a reason why they are different words.

    It shows a lack of clarity and understanding in their thinking and approach and I don't like it.


  7. Blofeld's Cat

    So Rule 34 strikes again.

  8. sabba
    Paris Hilton

    @Tom 7

    Hey, Tom, printing out and re-keying? Why not run it through an OCR package?

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Writing software ...

    ... is like having sex.

    Make just one mistake and you have to provide support for a lifetime.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    "If you can think of it, there's an open standard of it?"

    /me thinks of a closed standard. Uh oh....

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